Saturday, May 23, 2009
A lot of people ranted against online consulting sites- such as Elance, guru, RentACoder and so on. Of course, given that the bids on those websites are ridiculously low ( at least by developed world's standard), one would tend to assume that the quality would vary proportionally with the bids.
Whether you think those websites are cannibalizing the software craft, or whether online consulting sites are a force that flattens the world, one thing is certain: online consulting sites work.
Yes, they do work.
Or else how do you explain the success of those sites? I mean, if the coding quality is so bad, if the solutions proposed are so buggy and so unusable, if the effort to need to manage the coders are so great that it outweighs the benefits, if a lot of projects are demanding unrealistic budget and time frame, how can those sites thrive, and earn themselves a place in the blogsphere discussion? They would have been wiped out long time ago by the principle of natural selection.
Although I have never used the freelance sites' service-- either as a buyer or a seller-- but by pure economical reason it's not hard to conclude that those sites fill a niche, that was previously unfilled. They work because they connect the high income buyers with the low income sellers. The high income buyers see that some of their works can be outsourced to cheaper countries, and low income sellers see the opportunities to earn the kind of money they can't get in their countries. The globalization, and the internet bring them together. Both of the parties benefit.
This is a flat world.
I guess when the blogsphere says that RentACoder.com doesn't work, it's saying that the price tag on it simply won't work on a developed country. It's saying that a lot of projects are unrealistic in terms of price and time.
But if you think that those projects are unrealistic, there are people-- maybe at the other side of the globe-- think otherwise. If you feel that there are too many failed projects, please keep in mind that there are enough successes also, and those successes are powerful enough to cover for the failed ones and carry those sites.
And if you lament that the price tag is cannibalizing the software craft as a whole, do remember that money always go to the cheaper, better labor. The reason why others can provide the service at lower price and you can't, means that they are more competitive.
Although I am coming from a third world country, but I don't feel even the slightest glee. I always believe that when you underbid someone, one day someone else will in turn underbid you. This sort of underbidding business model is the last thing I want.
I am merely pointing out a fact. No matter what you feel about freelance sites, at the end of the day we still have to deal with it. It's here for real.