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“Need some social networking (facebook, linked-in, etc…)” – Freelancer.com

November 10, 2011

Origami Crane - Andreas Bauer (Origami-Kunst)

When I first set up Explore Communications, a friend suggested that I should go onto Freelancer.com to source work. After a month, I don’t think it works for me.

Freelancer.com is a bidding site which brings together freelancers across a range of fields and employers looking to have project work completed.

After getting my friend’s advice, I duly opened an account (explorecomms) and set up my profile and preferences. (I actually wanted to make some changes to my profile, but can see nowhere how it is possible to do so.)

I selected my skills (primarily in the Writing & Content, and Sales & Marketing categories), which determines what projects are sent my way via an automated email.

So far, out of the hundreds of projects received, just three have convinced me to make a bid. I’d class the vast majority of projects posted as ‘definitely dodgy’. Here’s a quick taster of the latest jobs I’ve been alerted to:

Project Brief (extract) Project Budget My Comments
I’m looking for someone who can write 100 decent articles from 100 dental keywords and submit them to article directories. 50 EUR Definitely dodgy, laughably inadequate budget, not in my area of expertise
The project is for writing 10 short (20 words) reviews in 3 days. IMPORTANT: You should have unique IP Address for every review. $30-$250 USD Extremely dodgy, also unethical
I run a website design company and require 8 press releases written for 8 different keywords. Once we have read and approved press releases we will send full payment and release it instantly. $30-$250 AUD Moderately dodgy, ridiculous budget, completely meaningless, why bother?
Need some social networking (facebook, linked-in, etc…)
Please quote on a package.
$30-$250 USD What?
We need 5,000 Facebook likes/fans for our Facebook Page. $30-$250 USD Dodgy
I need 25 400 – 500 word articles about
web traffic building. They must pass copy scape.
$30 USD Definitely dodgy, surely can only be achieved using some sort of automatic article generator.
8 listings custom for ebay $80 for these listings $250-$750 USD I can only assume someone needs a reputable seller to do something dodgy on eBay.

I could go on but, quite frankly, it’s depressing. While Freelancer.com may have been established with the best intentions, in my field of expertise, all that it is succeeding in doing is filling the Internet with dross, encouraging plagiarism, manipulating social media and allowing unscrupulous operators to source services cheaply and easily to further their dodgy agendas.

Earlier on, I mentioned the three projects that have caught my eye in the month I have been using Freelancer.com. I can’t remember what the first project was all about (my bid was unsuccessful), but the other two sounded pretty interesting.

One was to develop a single brand from three companies coming together as a single entity; and the other was to create a name and tagline for a company that helps small businesses use online marketing. Both sounded great, but both projects are now in “Frozen” status. I’m not quite sure what that means (and could find nothing on the site that explained it), but I’m assuming it means that the employers don’t have sufficient funds with Freelancer.com to pay for the work.

Additionally, the company name and tagline project was updated midway through with this request:

“Please submit your best company names + taglines to me via PM [private message], together with a brief explanation of why you chose them and what message you think they send to potential clients. I will award this job to the top entry/entries based on the criteria listed in the scorechart ….”

I wasn’t going to fall for that trap! Here’s part of my response in my bid:

“I’ve conceived and established brands that have subsequently become global standards, and I have worked with small businesses to establish their identities. Based on your revised brief, I have reduced my initial milestone payment to zero. However, I still think you will achieve the best outcome by working with the right person collaboratively to come up with the company name and tagline.”

Likewise, my bid for the branding project talks to the importance of collaboration. Here’s an excerpt:

“I believe brand and identity development is a collaborative process, and that through this process, I will be able to work with your organisation to create a compelling new corporate identity. My expertise is in working with internal and external stakeholders to develop brand identity and messaging. I have managed two major rebranding programs, and established a number of other brands that have since become the global standard. My quote is to establish a framework for the new identity and go-to-market strategy, a detailed design brief that can then be executed either by one of the graphic design agencies that I work with regularly in Australia, or by a graphic design agency of your choice.”

I can understand how Freelancer.com is a compelling model for coding or application development projects, but for marketing and communications, it’s completely inadequate.

Here’s another blog post that’s worth reading on the subject: The trouble with Freelancer.com.

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