An Article Writing Service Review of Elance

Reference & EducationWriting & Speaking

  • Author Tratent Backsworth
  • Published December 4, 2011
  • Word count 1,033

Whether you own an article writing service or you're looking to employ one, the freelance website Elance can provide valuable benefits to both clients and providers. Elance is one of the oldest and most established companies of its kind and generates millions of dollars in contracts between buyers and freelancers every year. However, the site has its share of pros and cons like every business. Knowing what to expect is critical to capitalizing on the lucrative business relationships that await savvy clients and ambitious providers. The following Elance review is written by an article writing service that worked contracts on the freelancing site for more than 4 years.

Article Writing Company Review of Elance - the Good and the Terrible

While Elance does boast some great features and benefits, the cons of this freelance website are - to article writers and other freelancers - catastrophic. We'll start with the good:

1.) Ability to filter projects

Providers can filter projects at numerous levels, ensuring that the process of choosing jobs to bid on is as efficient as possible. A freelance writer can opt to sort by the client's budget, the project type, the payment type, the time remaining for bids and other filters. Lists can be created by adding projects of interest into a "Watch List." This means that you can search for all projects first, then only bid on groups of projects that fits your skill set or other requirements.

2.) Ability to vet clients

Professional article writing services always vet their clients, and Elance provides ample opportunity to do this. A buyer's profile will tell a freelance writer how many projects the client has sought, how many they have awarded, how many have actually been paid and other details. Additionally, the Elance feedback system will permit a writer vetting a potential client to determine what kind of feedback the client leaves and if there are any disputes or problems with any of the projects they have listed on the site.

3.) Skills test

Elance has a comprehensive and logical set of tests that can be taken by providers. These tests are usually extremely relevant to the types of services the freelancer provides. Results from tests can be prominently displayed on the provider's profile. These results tell the potential client where the test results lie from a range of percentages. Top writers generally test in the 5% (percentile).

4.) Escrow

Article writing services and clients/employers/buyers enjoy a great deal of project security with Elance's escrow system. It's simple:

*Client lists project

*Provider bids

*Client awards

*Client funds escrow

*Provider produces work

*Client releases funds

In the event of a dispute there is a very attentive disputes process in place that is decided via binding arbitration.

These are the best features available on Elance, although there are many other things about the site that are useful and unique. However, the negative attributes of Elance might quickly sway your desire to get or provide work there.

1.) Terrible ranking system

If you are a freelance writer on Elance and you only accept a few high-profile contracts each month, you'll be ranked significantly lower than a non-native English speaking provider in India that generates thousands of articles or other content each month.

Elance essentially ranks its providers according to how much work they complete and how much money they generate. This seems counterintuitive and self-serving considering that a ranking system is there for clients to determine the quality of potential providers.

2.) Worthless feedback rating system

At one time Elance had an excellent feedback system. But in 2010 they rolled out a new system that to some seemed inconsistent and potentially damaging. For instance, the article writing service responsible for this article had a perfect 5.0 rating after working various freelance writing projects on the site for more than 2 years. More than 50 clients ranked the provider - some at 4.9, but most at 5.0. The provider was among the top 1% of freelance writers on Elance.

At one point, a client left a 4.0 feedback rating after the new system rolled had out, explaining that she never gives anyone a perfect feedback rating on principle, and that she didn't like the fact that she was forced to "rate" the people she chose to do business with. Point well taken and definitely understood. However, that 4.0 rating immediately dropped the overall ranking of the provider from 5.0 to 4.1.

After contacting support about the mathematically-improbable drop in rating, Elance surmised there must be a glitch in the system and advised the provider to wait for it to resolve. However, after 11 more projects with 10 ratings of 5.0 and one 4.9, the provider's feedback score remains at 4.6.

It appears that there is something wrong with the way Elance calculates simple ratings from 1.0 to 5.0, and it can have a major impact on the credibility and statistics of even the most professional article writing services.

3.) Exorbitant fees

The average fee for every project that you win and complete is 8.75%.

Additionally, providers are required to pay for a monthly membership. Each level of membership comes with a certain amount of "connects," which is basically Elance currency. Every project that a provider bids on - regardless of whether they win or not - costs a certain amount of connects. Providers that run out of connects must buy more in order to bid on more projects in the same month.

As a result of these two issues, Elance can be cost prohibitive.

4.) Underbidding by overseas competitors

Competitors from India, Africa, Pakistan and all over the world join the site and underbid on projects. Not only do they charge significantly less than professional providers, they also underbid by bidding less than the minimum stated amount of the client budget, thus undermining the entire bidding process.

Of course, their work is almost always garbage and clients must learn this the hard way.

Summary: Should an article writing service or freelance writer use Elance?


If you are a new writer looking to get established, Elance can provide a very good platform to get started. In fact, even well-established writers troll the site for high-paying clients and land projects worth tens of thousands of dollars. But for the serious writer, Elance is really only good for occasional work when normal business volume is slow.

But why bother with a middleman? Get professional work from a dedicated article writing service right now.

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