Wednesday, December 10, 2008

GetAFreelancer Sucks! oDesk Doesn't Suck!



I know you've been missing my "... Sucks" postings, so here you go. I decided to try two outsourcing services to get a side project done for our website. The big firm, oDesk, I've actually done some work for as a service provider. I wrote up some economic analysis of the G7. I think my macro professor, Andy Rose, would be proud. oDesk is a site with great usability and great design. It provides the ability for extensive project management and easy communication - along with a strong feedback model. Definitely best of breed. Then there's GetAFreelancer.com on the other end of the spectrum. I should have been skeptical, but it's been around for a while and there are tons of people who have successfully used the service, so I figured, why not give it a try? Their design is terrible and their feedback system leaves a lot to be desired.

I posted the job in both places and awaited the responses. I had quite a few in a short amount of time. There was quite a big price differential between the two. This was a small project, and GetAFreelancer sourced me some offers at almost half the price. I figured there wasn't much to lose using the service since you don't pay until your job is complete. Though you do have to deposit money on their site (through Paypal or several other ways)

The candidate on GetAFreelancer was incredibly responsive, answering emails several times a day for days on end. So I chose him and began the project. Well, it's now been 3 weeks and I haven't heard a peep from him since he won the job. He doesn't respond to emails and has pretty much disappeared.

I tried to reopen the project to get other talent, but the hoops you had to jump through were enough to make me leave. You had to send emails back and forth to support, which extended the project constantly. Part of my issue was getting this done quickly, which wasn't possible.

After finally getting my project reopened, the service charge wasn't refunded. And while they were responsive, I had to jump through hoops to get that taken care of. Long story short, I closed the project and went to oDesk. But... it wasn't over. My deposit (the amount I had to put in my account) is still sitting with them. And to withdraw it takes two weeks, in addition to a service fee. So they take money from you up front when you hire someone and then they take money from you when you withdraw money. And I didn't even use them. I hate schemes like this. Now, in fairness, many people probably have great experiences. I just wouldn't use them again. I'm using oDesk now and am very happy with the project. The developer rules. And I still can't leave negative feedback for the guy on GetAFreelancer! COME ON!

19 comments:

Orie said...

Thanks so much for the warm words.
We, at oDesk, are proud of our community members and are actually using providers on our network to do a lot of the work we need done, from engineering to graphic design and writing (see our case study at: http://www.odesk.com/w/case_study_odesk)

BTW, as harsh as he is on students, I also very much appreciate Andy Rose as a great professor...

Lefty said...

@Orie - No problem, my experience with oDesk has been great. I had no idea you used your own providers. Very cool (I just read your case study). Also - I take it you're an ex-Haas guy? I loved Andy Rose. I can't say my classmates felt the same way. But he was a great professor.

Orie said...

Yes, Haas grad here. And yes, Andy can be quite daunting but is sure an awesome teacher and a great economist.

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to learn more about oDesk. I am a great believer...

Orie

eloisevbm said...

I just signed up with getafreelancer but I want to leave already cause I find their system confusing. I can't even find the instructions how to leave! Some projects do not even look real.

I haven't worked on any project with them yet but oDesk is very clearcut in their terms and web design. Everything was well thought out that makes it very legitimate.

eloisevbm@yahoo.com

Lefty said...

@eloisevbm - their instructions and UI are terrible. I can't believe people use them. I have noticed you can generally get lower rates, so that's probably a plus. But their system is so damn confusing. For the record, they were good at giving me a refund. Just send them an email and they're responsive. But use oDesk.

Mark said...

Would appreciate some feedback on ODesk from you if you can contact me. Thanks!

sara said...

YOUR ARE SO RIGHT. Getafreelancer is a site only to make money. and it is a host to a bunch of thirld world scammers who are trying to make a quick buck. I put up a project and only got bids from people who could not speak english and had poor reviews. Getafreelancer does not monitor these bidders one bit.

They know they have CRAPPY ass bidders from third world countries, and they make it so you can't get a refund from them. I found that I could get cheaper and better work posting at a job board like Craigslist.

Save your money and skip Getafreelancer. THEY SUCK! And they are only after money! UGH

Anonymous said...

GetAFreelancer.com does not follow standard ethics on their billing policy and they add extra hidden fees to their members to pay.

Submitting a "project request" to their site is free for a trial. But upon selecting a provider you have to pay them a cut of the agreed sum. This all is ok.

But when it comes down to paying the actual fee for them they have tricks up on their sleeves which THEY DO NOT ANNOUNCE BEFORE IT IS THE TIME TO PAY. This information is NOT presented to a new user at their FAQ page or anywhere else where it can be seen before starting to use the site.

Namely following issues:

* The minimum allowed amount to "deposit" to them is $10.

--> The fees paid for them of project ads can be less than this, so if you would have to pay let's say $5, you cannot do that, they will take another $5 extra.


* They add additional payment "transaction" charges to each deposit you make. Although commonly at every shop or other merchant these transaction fees are paid by the payment receiver, not the customer!

--> If you try to deposit $30 to the account their system automatically adds the fees ON TOP of this sum, so you end up paying $31 instead! Or if your project cost was $5, you would have to pay $10.6 instead (!!).

* After all this they still provide you with a fancy PDF formatted invoice that only states the original sum to be paid to them, but IN REALITY you have to pay them more!

* If you have happened to pay too much, made an early deposit for example, it is rather impossible to get a refund if your amount is small. As they do not refund sums smaller than $30! And the refund takes up to two weeks!

* And did you notice that if you do not use your account they charge you $5 every month, this is just one of the "interesting" things found at their Terms of Service.

This is not a fair trade from them. Stay out and use another freelance service provider. Read other complaints of them...

Mark said...

I've been using oDesk for about a month now with moderate success.

It's a slog finding reliable people.
The cheap ones can be hit or miss, sometimes just disappearing mid project.

The good ones are super busy, so they too are prone to overbooking, distractions, subbing out their work.

But overall the mechanics at oDesk are spot on. Rating system is easy to use.
Refunds come through fast.
Developers aren't paid right away so if you want to get your $$ back you have time to request it, discuss, and take some action.

The whole hourly rate thing is tricky.
Providers can jigger their offers as they watch the averages on your jobs go up or down, keeping up with things dynamically.

oDesk also is not overly restricitive in your communicating directly with these folks. Fire up skype, connect on IM, whatever, and you are off.

The system is so helpful and convenient, that SOFAR, I have found it impossible to not go back and keep hiring there.

I'm sure there will be horror stories, I'm waiting....but can't complain to date.

cp said...

Getafreelancer site should be renamed as a JUNKYARD.

first of all, they don't have a 24/7 customer support. insane right? they make a lot of money, yet they care little.

Secondly, their rating system is a JOKE. any customer that posts a project can report it as INCOMPLETE without any evidence or proof.

Thirdly, the projects posted on GAF are a joke. seo, captcha, data entry projects for peanut prices.

The list goes on. its a site full of crap, junk and filth

Anonymous said...

getafreelancer.com really sucks and is full of scammers that only want your money. getafrelancer is doing nothing about it, as evidenced by their skewed review system. I hired an Indian company called Valuonweb after seeing their phenomenal reviews. They were horrible. I then made mistake of hiring another getafreelancer provider (TIS or something). They were not much better. The code they produced was a useless mess...Stay away

Sheae said...

I agree with many of you. Although we can find very cheap providers, there are lots of spammers there. Even the system is not fair at all, when a dispute is created for the deposited money.

I hate those people.

Anonymous said...

OK. Quiet honestly, Freelancer and oDesk are TERRIBLE - especially oDesk. I checked the work portfolio of most of the freelancers and 80% are amatuer that don't even consider the formal way of design. Almost all the logos don't have contrast, proper logo alignment, and multiple typefaces in one identity design! Remember, the logo is what reflects your business! The design brochures I've seen don't even follow the right focal point and color theory/harmony. Same for the cropped photos that don't have the right position of the main subject (Rule of Thirds and tones weren't even CONSIDERED) If you don't know what I'm talking about, LOOK WHAT I JUST SAID ON GOOGLE! I'm a graphic designer and a painter. I know when something is bad!

Anonymous said...

If you guys want a real professional logo, go to a real graphic designer who at least has an AA degree in Graphic Design. Almost all of them know what to do to make a successful design!

Anonymous said...

Ok I'd have to agree with the person two posts above me. The people from getafreelancer and odesk designer don't know jackshit about design - they simply type up words and fancy it up and attach some clipart. Logos is way more than a bunch of text. It's supposed to have substance that gives meaning to your business. The Apple logo and the Nike symbols are prefect examples. Those two conpanies don't even need to put the word Nike in thier brands - their sign is suffice enough for people to recognize.

The designs in getafreelancer and odesk are also rip offs from other designs. I always point this out when I check the designers portfolio.

orchid1 said...

When ever you freelance a project you can get screwed. The worst part is for medium size projects that where you really are int he dumps. if you have $1000 you are going to be in the sideline a lot. The people you hire might do half the work and never finish and then you are left crappy code and $500 less it really sucks but there is really no other way to compete with the cheap labor

Anonymous said...

Odesk sucks also with it's flawed phone verification shit.

Anonymous said...

oDesk sucks donkey. They are terrible. oDesk is the worst site ever for finding freelancers, and they don't even care enough to make it easy to pay your freelancers. If you have a billing dispute, they STILL don't bother helping you.

What's worse, is they mistreat their freelancers.

I will NEVER use oDesk again, those people are beyond pathetic and useless. They should all go home and jump off their roofs. Pathetic wastes of air.

Anonymous said...

oDesk Sucks !!!!