A week or so ago, I received the following note from Elance (the freelancers’ website)–
In March 2014, Elance merged with another freelance marketplace, oDesk. Today we’re announcing a new name and future for both companies.
Having a business degree (which translates to having worked through a lot of case studies of companies failing at M&A) and having personally suffered through one of the worst mergers in business history, I am quite paranoid about mergers and acquisitions in general. Most of the time, things go bad, unless the companies fit extremely well or the executives have a very clear and effective vision of the future.
I have been collaborating lots via Elance over the past few years and I had come to like the site. So getting afore-mentioned email scared the heck out of me. Self-pubbing is mostly about having and using good, proven tools, and Elance was one of mine that worked. So, now what?
The email also told me that in the coming months I will be asked to join. Hmmm … so my Elance account will not be ported over? How about my favorites? My curated list of professionals? How about ratings, et al?
Email also told me that Upwork will have great benefits, including:
- New messaging tools for faster collaboration
- Real-time interviewing with freelancers ready to work
- A new mobile app for iPhone and Android
COOL! This is good stuff. On Elance, I have always wished for faster messaging, and maybe this will be it? Real-time interviewing sounds very awesome also, right?
Next, I was directed to a blog detailing the updates.
Elance is now an Upwork company.
The Elance site will remain unchanged in the immediate future. In the coming months, we plan to release many new innovations on Upwork in these key areas:
Faster hiring. To accelerate hiring, we’re making it easier for freelancers to update their availability and for businesses to find, interview and select freelancers who are ready to work right away.
Better collaboration. We’re making work simpler and more productive. A new messaging experience will include chat and video, plug into your favorite services, and organize conversations into chat rooms. Plus, you’ll be able to access your teams through native Android and iPhone apps.
Larger teams. Shared team workspaces will make it easier for multiple freelancers and clients to collaborate. Businesses can create and engage large freelance teams quickly, safely, and in compliance with Upwork Enterprise
Professional growth. Upwork will be a platform where independent professionals can thrive. With access to work history stats, the ability to earn Top Rated status, and information on high-demand skills, freelancers will have the tools to get more and better jobs.
SO, how is it going to affect me at the moment? It won’t, at all. There will be no change to Elance. What they are doing is updating the oDesk side of things and incorporating the fabulous stuff they have promised above. I’m currently able to log into and work as usual on Elance.
What about the future?
Answer to that from the Elance blog:
We’re also making it easy to bring your Elance profile to Upwork.
FANTASTIC! Hope it is a painless and error free move when the time comes.
We will share additional information as we extend invitations over the next few months. We’ll keep you posted as we transition to a single platform. In the meantime we won’t be adding innovation to the Elance platform—although our teams will continue to support Elance and provide you with a high quality experience.
Hmm … no innovation? Ah well, I can live with that as long as they don’t take away the stability of the site.
I visited the Upwork site and it looks nice. Hoping that the merging of the sites happens with minimum disruption. Elance has been a good tool and I would hate for it to not be as effective as it has been until now.