Saturday, October 22, 2011


oDesk is a company with a global job marketplace and a series of tools targeted at businesses that intend to hire and manage remote workers. Based in Redwood City, CA, oDesk was founded in 2003 by Greek entrepreneurs Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis.

Outsourcing, the trend of contracting out jobs, often to lower-cost regions where labor may more cheaply be employed, has prompted the creation of various online services designed to create a marketplace in which freelance workers and potential employers can connect. oDesk is one among a number of companies, including Elance, Freelancer, Guru and vWorker (formerly Rent A Coder), that create marketplaces in which employers and freelancers can contact one another. These sites often manage the payments, and make money by charging membership fees and/or take a cut of the payment. The cuts can range from 4 percent to 15 percent. oDesk charges 10% but does not charge a membership fee.

oDesk allows employers (“buyers”) to create online workteams coordinated and paid through the company's proprietary software and website. The name is a short version of "no desk" in reference to the company's intent to enable anyone to work anywhere, anytime. Prospective employers can post jobs for free, and freelance workers (“providers”) may create profiles and bid on jobs, also for free. The company puts potential providers through “a rigorous screening.” The company collects 10 percent of the payment. Payments are made through oDesk, which handles many bookkeeping tasks for the transaction. In addition to the marketplace aspect and the payment/bookkeeping services, the company uses collaborative software, “oDesk Team,” that allows employers to see a provider's progress while he or she is billing time. This aspect of the company's business model has drawn criticism.

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