Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Elance Still Trying to Drive Me Insane

I haven't had to use Elance that much over the past year, but lately work has been drying up all over. I went back to Elance last month to start bidding on freelance jobs. I thought it would be an easy way to drum up some new work. WRONG. They are again trying to creating the most complicated site every known to man.

If you've never used Elance, you can probably imagine how it should work. You should be able to bid on jobs and then you should have an account area where you can see what you've bid on and what jobs you've landed. WRONG.

Bidding on jobs is easy. Finding them again afterward in your account, however, has been made difficult to the point of ridiculousness. There are so many statistics, workspaces, pages of portfolio options and other crap that it's impossible to actually find anything. I was actually in tears once trying to find a project that I was supposed to be working on but couldn't find.

Elance has also started some type of Sunday report crap that they never really explained. I keep getting emails about sending Sunday reports for projects that have been over for weeks. In addition, they put up a bunch of tests that they encourage you to take to show off your skills. I thought that did sounds like a better idea than just self evaluation. WRONG.

I started the grammar test, getting partway through before I realized that it never said whether this was for MLA, AP, APA or any other style. The questions were ones that you would expect in a high school English class, not from anyone working in any professional capacity. The questions were extremely style specific, so I thought I could just get the answer from the site. WRONG. I emailed, asking which style the test was for. No response. Follow up email. No response. Screw it.

As much as Elance bothers me and is increasingly treating its users like kids, I simply was not prepared for the email that came today. Here's just one quote from this masterpiece: "Elance is introducing a new way to display your activity in a section called "My Stats" (short for My Statistics)." I do have to thank them for clarifying that, though. I would have been up all night running Google searches trying to figure out what "stats" meant.

Now, because the site just isn't crushingly complicated enough, with rankings and ratings and placement based on about 10 factors, they are now starting a points system that will affect your placement in their search as well as your credit rating, your medical history and whether or not you get laid. I am assuming. The points are based on feedback, getting repeat work, earnings and other stuff that already affected your placement.

So, why all of this? Because they have too damn much money and no real reason to spend any of it. I have an idea. I need patio furniture. Bad. If Elance will pay for my patio furniture, I will plaster it with the Elance logo and give myself a point every time I sit on it. Then, I can test myself as to how long I sit and report back with pages of statistics about it. I will rank where I get to sit on it based on my points. Then I will create pages and pages of information about what it is used for and submit a detailed report every Sunday about its use. I am seriously thinking of submitting this idea to them. I don't expect a response.


Russell said...

Not happy then ... Try Triond! (lol). The 13 articles I wrote for them in the middle of last year have so far earned me $2.54! Ok, so I didn't bother marketing them ...

Sorry to hear some work is drying up elsewhere. I'm finding it almost impossible to get new copywriting work and although the "real" journalism work I have coming in pays quite well, there just isn't enough of it. So it's a job interview tomorrow and writing goes back to being a second string (if I get the job).

Tough times for writers ... All the best.

Anonymous said...

Thank you; that was absolutely fantastic! I was laughing through the entire post - - it's funny 'cause it's true.

L. Shepherd said...

Thanks! It really is horrifically true.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this info, it is excactly what I had been looking for (along with a few other opinions) to sway me either way on signing up with them. Any of these sites that are more on the minus side than plus, I can't waste my time on. Thanks for the help.

L. Shepherd said...

Glad I could help!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't phrase it better myself. I had an account with Elance which I duly terminated a few years ago and every now and again I look into it to see if it's got any better. And no it hasn't, and no I don't think it ever will. It's full to the brim with painfully un-necessary crap (such as WaterCoolers) and now it even has it's own Elance University - which only exists because people are finding so difficult to work out that you actually need to take a test (seriously) before you can start using it. How difficult can a project-provision-work-seeking formula be? Theoretically, it shouldn't be any harder than eBay in terms of it's usage. The tragedy is that is has a kind of 'graviton' status - that is to say that users are accumulating around it thus giving it more power.

L. Shepherd said...

That's a very astute way of putting it. It really is turning into the monster that ate freelancing.

Kristi Patrice Carter said...

Hey there-

Your article was funny and you have a great writing style. I am sorry that you are having a tough time on Elance. I actually have been with them for over 10 years and although it took some time to get used to the new site format, all the extra perks like mystats, escrow funding, working rooms, etc. I do believe that they implemented these tools to help us out - not to make life more complicated. I truly believe that if you take a little time to play around with the tools and such, you'll like them too.

For instance, putting an invoice through Elance and using their time trackng format is actually kind of fun. I also like the fact that when you send out invoices (using their tools) they automatically remind you of unpaid invoicesI which really gets you on the ball to get busy bugging clients for your well deserved money. LOL!

In addition, I think that once you use the Mystats to your advantage - like making sure that you don't lo go below budget, retain customers, etc, that your stats will jump and you will benefit from higher search placements. : )

Anyway, keep at it - Elance is definitely worth it and if you learn the system, you can definitely succeed and earn some extra moola for that patio set of yours!