oDesk Review


odeskoDesk is a platform that matches together freelancers for various projects ranging from writing to photography to doing voiceover work. Like any other kind of freelancer platform, the quality of the jobs available depends on the clients currently posting. So oDesk, like others, has its fair share of ridiculously underpriced jobs available. These are often from other countries like India, but you even find unrealistic pricing from United States clients.

For example, I’ve seen many writing jobs offering $2-$3 per 500-word article. Even if you don’t have to do any research, and just basically write out the first 500 words that pop into your head, this is probably going to take a minimum of 15-20 minutes, at best. So, presuming you write everything perfectly without any editing needed, and you can just keep spewing out article topics and cranking them out in 15 minutes for 500 words, your maximum revenue is going to be somewhere around $8-$12 an hour — at least until you drop dead on your keyboard or develop terminal carpal tunnel syndrome. I even saw one client in India advertising $.50 per 700-word article.

Really? REALLY?

I hope I don’t need to tell you that is outrageously low, despite the high number of jobs you see posted like this. These are usually websites that are just looking to crank out mediocre content to pump up their SEO.

But, you also find the occasional great clients there that pay their freelancers well. So it can be worthwhile to take the time to set up a thorough profile, list your best samples of work, and take some of the competency tests that the site offers to show potential clients you have the skills they’re looking for.

oDesk offers work options such as clients paying a flat rate for a job, or also hourly rates. One of the great features they offer for those working on an hourly basis is their oDesk Team App. After downloading it to your computer, you simply log in when you start working on a project and it will keep track of the time you spend working on it. It also takes random screenshots to show the client and tracks how active you are with your keyboard and mouse.

As a freelancer, I appreciate knowing that I need to stay focused and on track, and this tool helps me be more productive instead of going off on tangents. I’m sure the clients appreciate having a feature where they can actually track the work being done by their independent contractors, as well. As long as you use the tracking tool for hourly work, oDesk has a pay guarantee, provided you follow a short and simple list of rules.

Speaking of pay, oDesk has a work week that runs from Sunday midnight UTC time to the following Sunday at midnight, and then the client has till the following Friday to approve the work done for payment. Once that’s done, you should see a payment by the following Wednesday. So after the pay week ends, you should see payment within nine days barring any problems or issues with your work. Methods of payment include PayPal, Skrill, or Payoneer, and oDesk now also set up ACH direct deposits.

There are many other similar freelancer options out there, but most of the more experienced writers I know favor oDesk over some of the other platforms, including myself. While I’m sure there are those who have had bad experiences with individual clients, oDesk has been around for quite some time and doesn’t look to be going anywhere soon.


  • You set up a profile to help showcase your experience and talents for prospective clients.
  • A huge database of jobs offered in a wide variety of skills.
  • New jobs constantly added.
  • A third-party mediator to help with any kind of disputes and to process payroll.
  • After the initial weekly evaluation of your work, you should see payments weekly if you do regular jobs.
  • The oDesk Team App which helps track your time and keeps you focused.
  • oDesk is international, so you can work from pretty much anywhere in the world where you can get payment by one of their methods.
  • Multiple payment methods: PayPal, Skrill, or Payoneer or ACH direct deposit.
  • A pay guarantee for work done on the oDesk Team App that abides by a simple set of rules.


  • The usual lowball listings of people looking for bargain basement work.
  • “Job” invites from sleazy spammers for things such as “make $250 a week for 30 minutes of work listing on eBay!” Please drop dead and stop spamming me already. (Hint: they keep popping up with new usernames┬ábecause their accounts get banned.)
  • As with any freelancing platform, some clients and some freelancers will turn out to be flakes, unreasonable, incompetent or a mix of all of the above.
  • Flat rate jobs have no pay guarantee. Be careful especially with unrated clients and freelancers.



One thought on “oDesk Review

  • July 27, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    I have always been put off by oDesk. I don’t like the huge amount of competition, and so much of it seems unfair, as you mentioned. I also worry that I will spend time working on something, and then not get paid for some silly reason the client comes up with. I like my jobs to be more secure.

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