oDesk versus Elance: Through the Eyes of a Filipina Freelance Article Writer

Top oDesk Freelance Article Writers from the Philippines!

As I write this, I will have been freelancing as a part-time writer for exactly 111 days (!). As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’ve had made some mistakes early in the game that could have easily been avoided by simply doing a little due diligence. Anyway, I decided to write this post in order to help fellow Filipino freelance writers, such as myself, navigate the bewildering world of online freelancing more adeptly. But first, a little background on these two freelancing platform giants.


As I currently cannot find a more detailed background of Elance on its website, I had to rely on their Wikipedia page. Launched in 1999, Elance was initially focused on providing a secure virtual workplace to address to the rising trend for a globalized workforce. Since then, it has incorporated numerous valuable changes to the original system to optimize its platform for use by both clients and service providers. According to its 2011 snapshot, 130,000 active clients currently provides employment opportunities via 650,000 job posts to 550,000 contractors, and the total  annual earnings approximated $156 million. In the first quarter of 2012, Elance has reported 80,000 new clients, 180,000 new contractors, with over $43,000,000 in earnings so far.  It has been recognized as AlwaysOn’s OnDemand Top 100 private companies (category: OnDemand Software Vertical Applications) for 2012.

Trends for writing jobs in Elance Part 1

Trends for writing jobs in Elance Part 1

Trends for writing jobs in Elance Part 2

Trends for writing jobs in Elance Part 2

Trends in writing jobs in Elance Part 3

Trends for writing jobs in Elance Part 3


Founded in 2004 as a natural extension of the then-innovate long-distance collaboration of current Chief Technology Officer Odysseas Tsatalos and Vice President of Development Stratis Karamanlakis, it is one of the largest and most pivotal providers of outsourced employment today. According to their site, its contractors earned a cumulative $220 million dollars in 2011 alone. The April 1, 2012 snapshot reported earnings of $27,759,542 for the month of April alone. Data on their trends pages revealed that there are currently 54,627 freelance writers registered with oDesk, 431 of which are from the Philippines. Now what’s really interesting is that the top five freelance providers in terms of number of hours of work posted on the site are all from the Philippines (see image below)! Recently, it has been recognized as AlwaysOn’s OnDemand Top 100 private companies (category: OnDemand Software Tools) for 2012.

Trends in Writing Jobs in oDesk Part 1
Trends in Writing Jobs in oDesk Part 1
Trends in writing jobs in oDesk Part 2
Trends in writing jobs in oDesk Part 2

Top Freelance Writers at oDesk

So it looks like in terms of annual earnings, oDesk seems to have an edge over Elance. However, each platform has their individual benefits and drawbacks which may play a role in selecting your primary online workplace of choice.

#1 Payment and Fees

The all-important payment and fees are undeniably one of the most important factors when selecting which virtual workplace to favor, and in my opinion, Elance surpasses oDesk in this aspect, with the exception of two features.

One, in Elance you have to upgrade to a paid membership plan that will cost you $10 to $40 monthly if you want to apply for jobs outside your subscribed field. Normally you can only subscribe to any one of the following fields: IT & Programming, Design & Multimedia, Writing & Translation, Sales & Marketing, Admin Support, Engineering & Manufacturing, Finance & Management, and Legal. In oDesk, you can apply for jobs in any category so long as you haven’t exhausted you quota.

Two, oDesk has recently enabled contractors from the Philippines to withdraw directly to their bank account. You can now receive your earnings within 2-3 business days for a reasonable fee of only P1.00!

One particular bone of contention for members of both sites is that oDesk does not and will not be integrating escrow funds into their system. Because a significant number of jobs posted are fixed price, this places the contractors at risk of not getting paid. In fact, both my siblings have had one encounter each where they were not compensated for services rendered. At that point, oDesk was only able to suspend the account of the client in question. Despite the growing clamor for escrow service, oDesk has officially released its reply last May 9 (see below).



11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lou
    May 29, 2012 @ 13:30:35

    This is a really good article since Odesk and Elance are among the top sites where most freelancers usually turn to find their online work. But due to this fact, a lot of competition is already growing from both sides making contractors drop their rates drastically than the usual. It is good though that there are some couple of alternative sites which provides the same similar work like the one that I was referred to which is Staff.com. So far, I find having a home based work fun and efficient.


  2. silverlining09
    May 30, 2012 @ 23:42:39

    I am also a freelance writer using oDesk to get my writing jobs done. More power blogging!


  3. Outsourcing
    Jul 25, 2012 @ 00:48:24

    I’ve used both Elance and Odesk in the past to have articles written, articles spun, and some SEO work.

    I prefer Odesk now. The filters and feedback are easier to use.


  4. Crystal Yorker
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 15:54:16

    oDesk and Elance both have strong positives in their favor. However they both charge a pretty high rate (about 10%) of EVERYTHING you make, which really does add up. Especially when you consdier that there are sites that offer the same services and client pools but are just less well known. One alternative site I like in particular is http://www.workersoncall.com


  5. jobs in the philippines for americans
    Apr 22, 2014 @ 23:06:39

    Fine way of explaining, and good article to get information about
    my presentation subject matter, which i am going to present in institution
    of higher education.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: