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Will it Just Make the Problem Bigger? Recruit Co. Rumoured Offer for Freelancer.com

September 10, 2013

In the past few hours, TechCrunch’s Indian correspondent (and former Australian IT journo!) Mahesh Sharma revealed that Japanese Recruitment firm Recruit Co. has made an offer to buy Australian-based outsourcing website Freelancer.com for $400m. It’s only a rumour at this stage, and hopefully the deal doesn’t go through.

I’m not much of a fan of freelancer.com – in fact, I’ve written a few scathing posts in the past – including this one most recently. What worries me is that if this sale goes through, many of the problems we are wrestling with on the internet with spam, fake reviews, social media faking and plagiarism will only be exacerbated by the cash injection from Recruit Co.

Now, I’m sure that the freelancer.com model has redeeming features – giving people access to cheap resources, particularly in the technical space; giving people from poorer countries or remote areas access to larger markets and opportunities – but it really sticks in my craw that a company can continually profit (now potentially to the tune of $400m) from dubious practices.

OK, so it’s been a while since I have checked out freelancer.com – maybe it has tightened up its ethics? I did a quick search on “article spinning” – and here is the first page I hit on freelancer.com – http://www.freelancer.com/work/article-spinning-jobs/1/.

Nothing’s changed – if anything, it’s even more overt.

(Pictured above: “Origami-crane”, Andreas Bauer Origami-Kunst, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic licence.)

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