What Happened to Elance?

Those that have been with Great Leap from the beginning know that we started our company on Elance – arguably the world’s best place to post projects and find providers that can give you the results you need. While numerous clients found us through Google or word of mouth, Elance was where we made our mark, and by the time they rolled out their ranking system, we rated number 3 out of over 37,000 providers in both number of projects and positive reviews, and the only two companies that ranked above us had as many as 20 staff members. We had 2.

But then Elance started to change. At first it was gradual, but then the quality of the projects and the budget that entrepreneurs were willing to spend dropped dramatically. Most writers assumed it was the economy, but the reality is that when the economy was in the process of tanking, we tended to get more work – not less – as fewer companies wanted to invest in hiring a new employee. So what happened?

  • Freelancing became more mainstream, and Elance received an influx of thousands of freelancers from around the world – especially in foreign countries where $1 an article was enough to pay the bills.
  • With more writers than jobs, providers in non-English speaking countries had to compete by offering prices drastically below what the quality writers could offer.
  • Elance became known as a place where one could go to get work completed at a low cost – often as little as $2.00 per article or less.
  • Scores of buyers arrived to cash in on workers undervaluing their skills, even though they had the budget for more.
  • These buyers used only the low cost labor, often assuming that the samples were written by them or that writers offering a low cost but located in the US were not outsourcing to other non-English speaking writers.
  • The quality of the writing was, as expected, very poor, because just like in the real world, you get what you pay for.
  • Buyers with higher budgets got frustrated and left Elance forever.

We would receive invites that stressed how important quality was, but offered as little as $0.50 per 500 words – all because they were under the impression that good copywriters worked for that type of money.

While we’re still on Elance and continue to work for buyers that understand how important quality truly is, what happened to Elance has arguably affected the entire industry, and it’s why we prefer to work directly with clients, ensuring we can provide the highest possible level of quality at competitive but realistic prices.

As a business owner, remember that you’re investing in the future of your company – if you try to cut corners now, you are only going to get low quality work, and give your competitors a greater opportunity to market to your prospective customers.