This page does not exist.
Today, Elance removed my profile from their site. I still am unclear as to why they did that, but at this point I don’t really care. It is just one site on the Internet, and not crucial to the success of my business. Unfortunately, many online freelancers are not as lucky.
Take, for example, the freelance virtual assistants working through the site Zirtual. When the website suddenly shut its doors, not only did the company’s employees suffer from sudden layoffs, the freelancers using the site lost access to their clients. Desperate clients went searching for their freelancers via social media while copycat sites immediately tried to sign up abandoned VAs. The employees have started to take action as well, with a lawsuit.
Unfortunately, this is the type of behavior I’ve begun to expect on the Internet. Online websites, such as Elance and Zirtual, or even Facebook for that matter, have no allegiance to their site visitors. Their explicit purpose is to make money off of the use of their site. When that is no longer occurring, the site vanishes – with no commitment to those using the site.
That is why I knew my Elance page was going to disappear in a short amount of time – not because I had done something wrong, but because I was not making the website money. So when announced earlier this year, that the site would be shutting down, and all freelancers were being transitioned to Upwork, I knew that meant all profitable freelancers.
So I am not at all surprised, but I am still a little sad to see my profile go. I put a lot of time into creating wonderful experiences for my clients, and it showed in my reviews and ratings. The fact remains, though – Elance owned those reviews, although I earned them for them. So as that site is slowly erased from the internet, so goes the written record of my time there.
That’s okay, though because it leaves more room for everyone else.
I envision a freelancing website that does not hold individual’s livelihoods hostage. It should be a site that connects freelancers with the clients that want to work with them. It should be easy to use, moderated for scams, and supportive to new freelancers. It should promote top performers while still having a community feel. It should be everything that Elance was not.
Knowing the internet, it will only be a matter of time before something like this exists.