Elance and vWorker (formally RentaCoder) are the two of the most popular outsourcing sites on the internet. I have used both sites for over a dozen projects, ranging from logo design, copywriting, website coding and graphic design. I’ve been satisfied every time. But which one is the best for you?
To understand which site is the best choice for you, you need to understand the inherent differences, so you can make a more informed decision on which one to choose. Let’s conduct a vWorker and elance review.
Who is Elance and vWorker?
Both sites aim to connect people that want work done (employers) to people who have the skills to complete the work (workers). This work can range from a small logo design project for $50, to an integrated IT solution costing thousands. Elance and vWorker act as an intermediatory to connect these two parties to a job. Once an employer posts a job, workers interested in the job place bids to win the work. No bidder can see another bid.
Elance is based in the US and began in 1999. As writing, Elance has been used on over $300 million dollars worth of projects and boasts a workforce of nearly 170,000 professionals.
vWorker (standing for Virtual Worker) was founded in 2002. So far almost 150,000 employers have used the site for help, accessing a workforce of over 300,000.
What Do They Cost?
The business model of both sites aims at generating revenue from workers who successfully bid for each project. Workers will pay a percentage of their earnings directly to Elance and vWorker. That means that it’s free for an employer to post jobs.
Well it’s almost free. An Elance review reveals that new employers are charged $US10 to post an initial job. All subsequent projects are free to post. With vWorker, all your projects are always free to post.
Who Wins the Popularity Contest?
Elance is the more famous of the sites. Infact Elance is probably the most popular outsourcing site on the internet. According to Internet Alexa Rankings, Elance ranks as the 438th most visited site on the internet. vWorker is ranked #1,844 most visited.
Quality of Workers
I have chatted to many people about which site has the best workers. All parties have strongly pledged allegiance to workers found on both Elance and vWorker. The reality is that Elance and vWorker both have quality highly technical workers across all fields. Like any industry you will find some great workers and some mediocre workers. By doing your homework and assessing the workers who have bid on your project, you stand a very high chance of securing someone great. It’s also handy to understand that many freelance workers are on the lookout for projects from both sites.
Usability & Intuitiveness of Sites
The Elance interface is a lot more polished and user friendly than vWorker. All menus were logical, and finding the next step was always easy. Last year I even recall proposing a time clock solution to Elance and found it implemented in months. That was great. Infact the only difficulty with Elance was trying to find how to change my credit card details, which took a few minutes to figure out. I give Elance an 8/10
I found vWorker to be less intuitive than Elance. There was generally a lot of content on each page in small type, making it a bit difficult to prioritise information. Granted, all the information presented was for my benefit, but I did find it a bit overwhelming. It was also a bit difficult to determine how to perform some tasks. I remember spending 5 minutes trying to figure out how to pay a worker. I consulted help to no avail. A big ‘pay now’ button would have been great. I give vWorker a 6/10
Ease of Arbitration
If something goes wrong in the working relationship between an employer and a worker, you will need to seek arbitration to settle the differences. Firstly, I’ve never had to use the arbitration systems of either Elance or vWorker. However I understand that vWorker does offer more protection for employers. Elance charges between $US66-133 for arbitration, with vWorker it’s free.
Final Word: Who’s Better Elance or vWorker?
It’s really up to personal preference. If you do you post a clear brief and research all the bids that respond, you’ll be in the best position to get a good result. For usability and interface I would choose Elance, but for job protection I would choose vWorker. See for yourself. Click the links below for an Elance review or a vWorker review:
> Visit Elance
> Visit vWorker
Have you used either site? I’d love to hear how you went.
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I wish I’d known about Elance and vWorker a few years. I paid a fair bit of money to have a website built and didn’t feel I got value for money when it was finished. It turned out the company I used were more interested in the hosting and wanted to charge a ridiculous amount for that too. Needless to say, we departed company and I’ve since learned how to build websites myself.
Another interesting read David. Thanks.
.-= Jan Littlehales´s last blog ..Raising Great Kids – Table Manners =-.
Thanks so much for this informative post. I am considering using one or the other for a new blog I want to start. I value your opinion in my research.
.-= Eileen´s last blog ..Food Reaction to Amines – Part One =-.
I was wondering about the scope of resources available re outsourcing. This is a common-sense review with a practical focus. This information will come in quite handy for me, thank you.
I have only used Elance up until now but I wasn’t even aware of vWorker, so thank you for enlightening me on that. I had Elance source a writer for me and currently I have a provider creating a header image for me as I couldn’t find one myself. Up to this point I am happy with Elance, with my limited experience.
.-= Leo Bookham´s last blog ..Solar Step Lights =-.
Great Elance vs Vworker review. I too was unaware of Vworker. I have used Elance in the past and am currently also. I think it is very easy to follow and learn. It works well for both me the employer and the employee seems to love it as well. What I love is that there is a complete trail of all correspondence and is so easy to navigate. I would warn that on posting jobs though I found I needed to be so clear in the description and tough on the interviews to ensure I employed the right person for my job.
Go for it anyone who wants to leverage their time.
.-= Benji – passionate about Margaret River, W.A´s last blog ..Which Margaret River Wineries Will Suit Me =-.
Thanks for this post. I’ve just started looking into outsourcing and this non-biased review really helps.
.-= Dino´s last blog ..How to Quit the Rat Race =-.
Great article. I was wondering how I could out source for some articles and where the best place was – thanks for reviewing where to go:)
.-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Welcome To Free Book Summaries =-.
I am in the top 1% in the Writing and Translation category on Elance. I tried to sign up for vWorker, but got frustrated with navigating the site so I didn’t bother. I have had good experiences as a provider on Elance. Just remember, you get what you pay for.
@ Jan, Yes Elance and vWorker are a massive life saver when used to their full potential (not just choosing a provider based on price). Good to hear your getting your hands dirty with your own website building. You’ll find that you have a good knowledge base for briefing in more complex work – thereby keeping the workers honest.
Thanks Eileen, happy to hear you found my review helpful.
Hi Jo – thanks also for your comment. The scope of outsourcing is massive, from technical coding, to graphic design to copywriting
@ Leo, I also only found out about vWorker recently but thought I’d give it a try
I agree Benji, you really need to present a clear brief when asking for workers. I have a template document that I created that outlines the expected deliverables, skills needed and dates. Anything that improves clarity is pivotal.
@ Dino, Thanks for your comment. I’ve written another post how outsourcing has saved me in excess of $5,000. It’s worked for me – there’s no reason it can’t work for you.
Hi Lisa, personally I haven’t outsourced article writing, but I know many people who have that swear great results. Dip your toe in until you find a great provider, then stick with them.
Thanks Dorothy. Good luck on the writing/translation work. Hit that type writer.
Hi David, I enjoyed your post – an unbiased review, focussing on the practicalities of both vWorker and Elance. I’ll definitely be bearing this in mind when I start down the road of outsourcing.
A particularly good tip regarding the costs of dispute resolution as for smaller jobs it could really blow the cost out at Elance.
.-= Tom McEwin´s last blog ..Free Website Terms and Conditions Templates =-.
Thanks for the review. I’ve only use Elance before and never heard of vWorker before.
I was very happy with the writer I found on Elance – there are certainly some very talented people out there who can save you a lot of time for not much cash outlay
.-= Peter Kiem´s last blog ..Affordable Gift Baskets for Food Lovers =-.
Once again another useful blog about something I am very interested in. I knew about Elance but had no idea of vWorker. Thanks for the review.
.-= Tania Shipman´s last blog ..Update on New Internet Plan =-.
I am a veteran user of vworker now defunct, gobbled up by freelancer with a very different and less friendly business model. I am exploring on using elance and other sites. There are plenty of bad reviews of freelancer.com for me to stay clear of them.
Yes, I heard about the recent purchase of vWorker by Freelancer. I wasn’t really overjoyed as well. To be fair I haven’t used Freelancer, but I haven’t heard great things. Also the head of Freelancer doesn’t smile in his publicity photos, so he comes across as a bit menacing. He seriously needs a better image consultant to alter this perception.
I’m also a vWorker veteran (started working there in 2003 and did 150 projects or so) and have been very unhappy about the Freelancer acquisition too. It seems like quite many people are – at both employer and worker sides. The thing is, Freelancer is aiming at becoming ‘eBay for jobs’ and they are interested in large scale. The downside is – they really don’t care if jobs get done on the site and what the satisfaction level is. They charge users for a) memberships and b) upfront fee for being the connecting party as soon as possible. It does not have mandatory Escrow, free arbitrations and plenty of features vWorker had, which turn out to be extremely important.
So to give an example: if you start working on a $5,000 project, and you request a deposit for a milestone of $1,000, and assuming the buyer does it, Freelancer takes their 10% fee ($500 from the deposited $1,000) and the project is pretty much ‘done’ from their point of view (they get paid for the service). Now it’s totally up to you to make sure you’ll get the remaining part – maybe you will, maybe you won’t. vWorker had a fundamentally different approach.
Along with a group of ex-vWorkers we started working on a platform that will use the very same rules vWorker did. This means: no memberships, default and mandatory Escrow, free arbitrations, manual screening of the projects posted, solid verifications, expert guarantee – among other things. Accompanied by a much better UI (ditto a big ‘Pay’ button – we also found the vWorker’s UI being pretty confusing and hard to navigate). The new site is located at:
We invite everyone who is already missing vWorker and its simplicity to check it out. It’s not fully functional yet, we’re planning to launch during the next few weeks.
Good luck with the site Mark. I’m for any site which provides a balanced field for the workers, providers and site owners
Thank you David – I’ll let you know once it’s up, so that you can say where it sucks the most Hopefully we’ll produce something valuable for all parties involved.
Mark – Freelancers.io Team
Yes, please let me know Mark. I’d like to interview you about it. (I’ve also signed up to your notification list).