Freelancing buy / sell websites my thoughts

The other day I was thinking about freelancing sites in general. These are websites that allow people to post projects and freelancers to bid on the projects.

The usual thoughts came into my head like these are rubbish, full of cheap projects and people providing services on the cheap etc.

I have often thought why do these sites allow such cheap projects and cheap providers of services to be placed on them.

This has always been my line of thought, if I built a website like this how could I attract the people with proper budgets and decent enough freelancers to complete the project.

I would not want the website filling with such low-tier projects / service providers and I would create filters to prevent this from happening.

Yes any decent person would think like this so it can be quite jarring to the senses to see what is happening on these sorts of freelancing websites.

A lot of people think this, it is only natural. A lot of people may think “Yes it was good at one time but now it is just full of junk projects”. A lot of people see it as a fundamental problem.

So I was thinking why do the owners of these types of websites not recognise this and then it occured to me that I never considered the owners of such sites perspective.

Then I realized something beyound the obvious which is that these sites are here to make money and they do not care if their website is full of junk projects so long as it brings in the money.

What I realized is that these websites have been deliberatly created this way. These websites have not from “good to junk” overtime, but the whole purpose of these websites was to provide cheap services to people wanting cheap services.

You see what is the number one item that clients want in the “web software” industry.

Clients want “web based software to the best quality it can be, produced as cheaply as possible”.

Well these types of websites claim to provide exactly this. Post what would have been a £20,000 project here in the UK by a UK provider and you can get the project done on one of these websites for £3,000.

In my opinion what these websites are actually doing is a bait and switch, a typical scenario will go like this …

The bait

Post your project here and get quality software done at a fraction of the price it would have cost you going to your local provider.

Person posts his / her project and gets quote of £3,000 to £5,000 for what would have been a £20,000 project by the local provider.

Person selects one of the low-end quotes costing him £3,500 for the project.

The switch

Project comes back from provider, parts not done properly and in some cases not done at all, under the hood the code looks messy, ultimately the whole project looks below the quality the local provider was offering.

So what happens now? Well any person who you complain to including the website companies themselves will most likely give you an answer similar to this …

Person: “How much did you pay for this?”.

You: “£3,500”.

Person: “Well no wonder you did not get a quality product, you where not expecting all this functionality you described for £3,500 where you? I mean you only get what you pay for right? I think for the £3,500 you got a reasonable enough product if you wanted a quality product you should have paid more!”.

These website companies have sold you the “dream” and now the website companies have your money you are “sold” the reality.

Now the website companies change their tune, the website companies change their tune to the same tune as what anyone with any common sense would have told you before you spent the money.

Now you feel guilty because you feel you should have listened to the people with common sense. The website companies themselves have conveniently changed their tune to the same tune as people with common sense to add to your guilt.

This model conveniently ignores the “dream” you where sold in the first place and focuses on the low quality result and the low budget.

Of course you could now challenge the “dream” you where sold in the first place but most likely all the details of the project where not specified up front or the requirements where of a “fluid” nature which makes it difficult to challenge.

With the added plus you feel guilty because you expected a quality product for your low budget when people where telling you it would be impossible to get a quality product for the low budget specified.

This all adds up to you feeling you must accept the shoddy product because it was your own fault and not the fault of the website companies for selling you a “dream”.

Freelance Sites Dream

“Now no one cares you where sold a low quality product, no sympathy for you, no pity for you.” – this is exactly the sort of statement these websites want you to except.

The statement negates the fact that they “sold” you a different product to the one delivered.

Dream = I can get quality software for 20% of the cost what other people normally charge.
Reality = The finished software product is low quality as it would be for the price you paid for it.
Anyone listening to complaint = no sympathy or pity for you, that is what happens when you try to cheat the system.

Like I say it is not in these website companies interests to filter out the low quality projects / low quality providers, that is why these websites are the way they are.

It is not a case of these websites owners fixing anything, these websites are exactly the way the owners want them to be.