Thinking about hiring someone from Elance for SEO, an internet marketing campaign, or web development? It seems like a cost efficient way of completing work that you A) don’t have the experiences or skills to complete yourself or B) just don’t have time to do…. But is it really the most efficient way of getting quality work produced? One of the best content markets/copy writers/business consultants to do it, Bob Bly, is highly against services like Elance, and he has a pretty solid case.
For starters, Bly argues that at first, the concept was very helpful…but eventually it became oversaturated by competitive writers continually undercutting each other’s prices. What typically ends up happening is the freelancer that offered to work for the cheapest price is awarded the project. Seeing how easy it is to “beef up” your resume, you are not exactly guaranteed the best quality and often times it will reflect the price that you paid—at one point in time I had to learn the hard way. The causal effect is that the hypothetical ‘writing economy’ is devalued, and it leads to a lot of talented writers losing projects to beginners or someone willing to work for practically nothing—sometimes even below the federal minimum wage.
Another reason is that more often times than not, you’re dealing with someone on the other side of the world, where the time difference can have a major impact on your ability to regularly communicate with them. Add in the inevitable language barrier, and you got yourself a pretty frustrating situation. This could lead to valuable time lost if you have to keep on doing revisions as I once had to do.
A benefit is that you don’t have to pay until you received the quality of work that you’ve requested—but then again we are going back to that whole ‘time thing’–the time that you could’ve spent bettering your business or maybe even had some free time to spend with the kids or your significant other.
My advice: Just pay the standard market price for what you’re looking for, use someone local or at least within your country, and you’ll thank yourself later. The best producers in SEO, copywriting, and web-design don’t even have an Elance profile, and that’s not a coincidence. The best writer or SEO specialist in the world could potentially be on Elance, but it’s unlikely. The only way to find out however is sifting through 100+ proposals, taking a chance with them off of nothing but instinct and personal judgment, and then still taking the chance of not being satisfied with the project…… and hey, look at this way: You’re doing a great deed by supporting our working economy here locally.