Taking on Elance and oDesk

As Impact Sourcing has allowed workforces to spread across the globe, online contracting marketplaces have given Impact Sourcing Service Providers (ISSPs) real competition. Sites like Elance and oDesk are connecting businesses with workers worldwide, allowing businesses to post requests for bids and choose workers directly.

But while it might seem as though the success of these sites spells doom for ISSPs, the rapid growth of both sites only serves to demonstrate the demand for outsourcing. On Elance alone, 300,000 jobs were posted in the company’s most recent quarter, illustrating the widespread acceptance of crowdsourcing and online contracting as a hiring platform.

Benefits of Crowdsourcing

On a site like Elance or oDesk, businesses are given the choice of working with either an individual or firm. A business posts a job description and then sifts through the proposals, choosing between working with individual freelancers or firms that provide teams of outsource workers.


Both Elance and oDesk have gained widespread acclaim in the business industry, making it difficult for ISSPs to compete. Both companies have a wide customer reach, in addition to a large user base of repeat customers, according to chief marketing officers. As powerful as the work of ISSPs are, most customers don’t seek to outsource because of the positive impact on local economies. Businesses seek capabilities, volume, and/or low cost.

Benefits of Impact Sourcing

When working with an ISSP, a business can be confident in what will be provided. ISSPs often provide professional service teams to ensure a project is completed to a company’s high standards. Even when a business does manage to find a firm on Elance or oDesk, these marketplaces don’t offer the professional management ISSPs can provide. Furthermore, the firms on Elance and oDesk often don’t have a proven track record of client relationship management.

While the wages businesses pay on Elance and oDesk have gradually risen over the past few years, many businesses have been disappointed with the quality of work they’ve found on the site. ISSPs locate talented workers and train them to operate at quality performance levels, whereas businesses have found that many offshore workers on these sites lack the skills and training to provide a high quality service. This makes it more important than ever that ISSPs work hard to provide the best-quality talent to compete with online hiring marketplaces.