|Headquarters||Mountain View, California|
Online employment platform
|Alexa rank||432 (December 2013[update])|
Elance is an online staffing platform based in Mountain View, California.
Elance was first launched in 1999, its name inspired by a 1998 Harvard Business Review article titled "The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy". It was initially developed as a technology for supporting virtual work. Two years later Elance introduced a vendor management system (VMS) for contractors and third-party services used by large enterprises. In 2006 Elance sold its enterprise software division and developed instead its current web-based platform for online, contingent work.
The Elance website allows businesses to post jobs, search for freelance professionals, and solicit proposals. They can evaluate the contractors applying for the job and, once a contractor is selected, communications and files are exchanged through the Elance system. Payment for jobs, which can either be hourly-rate or project-based jobs, is made by the client through Elance's system, which deducts a percentage of the fee, 8.75%, as a "commission." Elance offers a Work View tool provides an official record of work completed. For project-based jobs statement of work or milestones are used to indicate progress toward completion, and funds are held in escrow by Elance to ensure payment upon completion of the milestone.
Freelancers search Elance's website for jobs, and can research clients' buying histories on the system. Each freelancer can post a profile displaying past jobs and feedback, a portfolio, and specific skill and educational-background information. Registered free users are allowed to submit a limited number of proposals each month while those on paid membership plans can submit additional proposals. Elance offers payment guarantee once work is done using the Elance system.
A 2012 survey of freelancers conducted by Elance indicated that freelancing was the "sole source of income" for 48% of respondents, and that 69% had at least a bachelor's degree.
Information technology jobs such as web and mobile programming and development, account for the majority of earnings on Elance (59%), followed by creative jobs (24%), marketing (7%), and operations (7%). Jobs for writers and graphic designers are also popular. Elance maintains a current list of their overall top 100 in-demand skills, and in 2011, the most in-demand skills were PHP programming, WordPress programming, article writing, graphic design, and HTML programming. Specific data, including global job growth numbers and earnings on the most in-demand skills, is made available on Elance's website.
Awards and recognition
Elance has been cited as an example of the emerging paradigm of informal workplace communication, employing social media tools and cloud-based applications to drive productivity. Elance also caters to the increasingly liquid labor market by facilitating direct contact between contractors with specific skillsets and clients with specific needs. This reduces search friction and benefits the economy as a whole. 
According to 2013 reports from Accenture and Deloitte that mention Elance, enterprises are increasingly looking to supplement their permanent employee workforce with flexible, extended workforces of project-based personnel. Business owners support the trend because it lowers their payroll expenditures, and workers support it because working for multiple clients results in increased job security. Project-based hiring also allows small businesses access to highly skilled workers at a significantly lower cost as compared to hiring full-time staff.
In 2009, Elance was selected as one of CNET's Webware 100, an award recognizing products and services that embody Web 2.0 ideals of collaboration and cloud computing. In 2013, Elance was selected as one of Red Herring's top 100 companies.
Following is a list of e-lancing websites which are currently in service:
- "Elance.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- Thomas W. Malone; Robert J. Laubacher. "The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy". Harvard Business Review.
- "5 Things to Know Before Becoming an Elance Provider". businesspundit.com.
- "Elance Trends: Freelancer Earnings".
- "Elance to give $1m to Startup America Partnership".
- "Elance Annual Impact Report 2013".
- "Work View Tool".
- Rafe Needleman. "Elance updates tools for hiring, managing contract labor". CNet.
- "How Does Elance Work and How Much Does It Cost?".
- "How to Manage Your Clients".
- "What It Costs". Elance.
- "Your Online Profile & Portfolio".
- "Ask an Expert: Freelancing is easier than ever because of technology, attitudes". USAToday.com.
- "Guaranteed Payment".
- "The State of the Freelance Market".
- "Elance Online Employment Report".
- "Elance Index: Online Contract Work Shows Growth". ReadWriteWeb.com.
- "Overall Skill Trends".
- "Overall Skill Trends". Elance.
- Quentin Hardy (7 January 2012). "A Prophet for a New Workplace". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
- The World Bank - Connecting to work : how information and communication technologies could help expand employment opportunities.
- Damien Hoffman (11 October 2010). "Should ODesk, Elance, and Solvate Have Won the Nobel Prize in Economics?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- "Accenture - The rise of the extended workforce".
- "Deloitte - The open talent economy".
- Carolyn Hughes (13 December 2011). "4 tips for small business hiring". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
- Paul Davidson (13 October 2010). "Freelance workers reshape companies and jobs". USA Today. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
- "Small Business Vendor Award Nominees".
- "Webware 100 winner: Elance".
- "Red Herring 100 winner: Elance".