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.
oDesk is the largest among a number of companies, including Elance, Freelancer, Guru and vWorker
(formerly Rent A Coder), that create marketplaces in which independent
contractors and their clients 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 clients to create online workteams coordinated and paid
through the company's proprietary software and website. The name is a
short version of "online desk"
in reference to the company's intent to enable anyone to work anywhere,
anytime. Prospective clients can post jobs for free, and freelance
workers (“contractors”) may create profiles and bid on jobs, also for
free.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 clients to see a provider's progress while he
or she is billing time.
The company describes itself as an online workplace. As of Jan. 10,
2009, the company reports that nearly 37,000 of its 170,000 providers
are in the United States.
The company's site is entirely in English, and all transactions are
made in U.S. dollars. The site does not post statistics regarding
locations of buyer companies. In December 2009, the company's
self-reported tally of services paid through its site had passed $113
The specific areas of expertise supported by the site include web
development and a wide variety of programming/software development
skills, graphic design, writing and administrative support. The company
provides voluntary skills tests in various disciplines from English
aptitude to specific programming skills, and profiles include a feedback
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