A year ago, two of the biggest freelance marketplaces, oDesk and Elance, announced they would be merging into one. Since then, they have operated as separate platforms.
Today the company announced it has rebranded oDesk as Upwork and relaunched a new platform with new features.
But the question is how the new community will differ and what will become of Elance.com.
“The plan is to keep Elance.com around for a couple of years and then eventually it will be going away,” Upwork spokesperson Christina Schultz told Small Business Trends in a phone interview.
But for now, Elance.com will operate as a stand alone site owned by Upwork. Schultz said the move was prompted by a desire to preserve continuity for Elance.com users and give them a chance to acclimate.
However, with the offering of a “one way bridge” to make it easier for Elance.com users to transfer their accounts to Upwork, it’s clear the company would prefer they make the move.
In fact, in recent years, there has been very little difference between the two sites except for a small difference in fees.
So the idea of finally unifying the two communities on one site — in this case on the newly rebranded UpWork — made logical sense.
“One of the reasons we decided to merge the two companies is that we were quite similar in features and in our vision,” Schultz added.
There’s an added incentive for Elance.com members to consider migrating to the newly rebranded Upwork site.
From here on out, all innovation and added new features will be focused there, Schultz said.
And some of that innovation has already been introduced with the new rebranding.
Here are three new features Upwork already offers on its new platform :
- A new group collaboration feature free for anyone to use, even those who aren’t Upwork customers, let’s you communicate and share documents. Integration of tools like GitHub, Google Drive, and Jira should be available this year.
- A new matching algorithm will improve the site’s abilities to make business connections. “We’ve always had a matching component but this is better at matching up the best freelancers for a particular job,” Schultz said.
- A new status feature will let freelancers post their availability on the site with designations like “Right away,” “Later” or “Not looking.”
The company has not set an exact time when Elance.com will be shut down. The hope is to get Elance.com customers to switch to Upwork before that time comes.