I am surprised by the amount of people calling this scams without thinking. As I promote oDesk quite heavily through this blog I occasionally get an email titled: ‘oDesk Scam‘ where the writer goes on a massive rant about how they got ripped off on oDesk and how they will never use them again.
So I thought I would put my ’2 cents’ forward.
Is oDesk A Scam?
I am just going to jump straight into it and say an emphatic ‘NO’.
The people who regularly reference oDesk as a scam usually refer to being ripped off buy a buyer who didn’t pay, or a service provider who didn’t do the work they were hired for.I don’t know about you, but to me that is people who are ripping other people off – not oDesk.
A local current affair tv show here in Australia recently ran a story on a Nigerian scam that would duplicate car listings in classified sections on regional newspapers and online classifieds, and people were purchasing these ‘cars’ sight unseen and only realized that they had been scammed after they had paid the money. The show rightly titled the ad posters as the scammers as the classifieds are just a marketplace to connect buyers and sellers – and it is the same with oDesk.
With the thousands of jobs being posted on a daily basis it would be impossible for oDesk to personally check over each one, and I don’t believe it is their job too.
It is the employer and service providers responsibility to make sure that they are working with reputable people and this isn’t really that hard:
How To Stop Yourself From Being Scammed On oDesk
To prevent yourself from becoming an oDesk scam victim you just have to use a little bit of common sense.
This one is so obvious that I struggle to see how people can complain about this one. If you are deciding to work with someone then check their hours and feedback. A service provider that has completed a large amount of hours and has great feedback will work hard to protect their rating!
Be Wary Of New Users
Now note that I didn’t say avoid new users! It is important to be sensible. If something sounds to good to be true, it usually is. BUT if you have a small menial task to complete then why not give someone their break? A lot of new users will work really hard for a lower rate because they are trying to build feedback (See my Outsource Link Building post)!
Have Specific Directions
The best thing about oDesk is that if you keep your communication through the oDesk system (and I recommend you do), then you have a paper trail of everything. So if you detail your requirements in a very specific way then you can go back to these when you feel your service provider has not completed the task competently.
This is really smart if you have hired someone on a hourly basis! Through the oDesk platform you can set a maximum weekly hours that you will pay a service provider for. This stops workers from wasting your money!
Don’t Pay Until You Are Satisfied
This is another obvious one, but you have the right to refuse to pay if you feel that the work has not met your requirements. Now this means that you will most likely go into some form of arbitration – so this is where your paper trail comes in handy!
Like I said, they really are just some common sense ideas, but they will be a great protection against a sour experience and will prevent you from labeling oDesk a scam – because if you ask the 100,000′s of people using the service effectively, it is a fantastic resource for your business!
If you are interested in outsourcing overseas and want to learn more, then make sure you grab a free copy of my ebook GEOarbitrage, which shares my experience with oDesk as I aspire to create an automated business.