October 27th, 2016 San Diego, CA
Their tagline should give it away: “Access the highest quality freelancers around the world for free.”
The highest quality freelancers around the world are not on Outsource (A), and (B) never, never trust a job board that allows people looking for freelancers to post for free. I learned this too, late. I’m usually pretty saavy about the business of writing, but Outsource was new to me and I read a little about it. I’m really disappointed that so many freelancers wrote complimentary reviews about this site, because it really is in no professional freelancers best interest to get jobs through places like this. I had been away from freelancing for a while, and I mistakenly assumed this would be a way to jump start things again and get some new, more varied clips (I was expanding my writing niche).
First, this site requires a contact that may not even be valid. It has no opt-out possibilities, and it's basically charging freelancers twice for services: Once by paying monthly and getting roped into a 12-month contract. Then again, by making them dole out "credits" to bid on jobs. The higher paying the job, the more credits required to bid.
Second, the jobs are not exclusive to Outsource. I have seen the exact same listings in multiple places. There is no reason for a freelancer or job seeker to pay to bid on a job that is listed for FREE in other locations. Additionally, some of the jobs are not even real. They do a bait and switch type of deal when you finally contact someone.
Third, these are blind bids. You get zero information about the people seeking freelancers. They are listed in the job board with first names and last initials. I mistakenly assumed that once I signed up for the contract I would see the in-depth information that paid participants can see. Often, there is no information on the company, the website, or the pay. You cannot see what others are bidding, and you are given very little -- if any -- guidance on the job.
Fourth, people are dramatically underbidding jobs. I've spoken to other writers that have successfully gotten work from Outsource and the amount they worked for is dramatically low, and frankly insulting (as are most content mill jobs). This underbidding is really encouraged in the following way: The aforementioned blind bidding process. The fact that when you submit a bid, you are required to submit your rates for a project you know nothing about. It's a drop down box on the top of the submit box that requires either a fixed rate or hourly rate. No professional writer is going to be able to offer an honest bid for a project they know nothing about, but you cannot send in a bid without putting something in that field. Outsource does not set any filters or boundaries on job types, and the system allows people to put in ridiculous project requests for outrageous prices. For example, there are a lot of ghostwriting requests for full length books (30,000 - 50,000+ words) that start at $500 or less. This is drastically below the working rates for freelancers. Writer's Market for 2016 shows ghostwriting rates as .50 to $3 a word, with the average of $1.65 a word.
This is just one example, but all of the rates are insultingly low. I did a little experiment with my bids. I started bidding lower and lower, just to see if I would get a response.
I spoke to a representative of Outsource at the beginning when I first signed up. I told her that I was shocked at the low rates and she assured me that it was just a starting bid. Hogwash. People do not even open or respond to bids that are in the appropriate range rate. The writers that are taking jobs from this site need to realize that they are worth MUCH MORE and that every time they low ball bid a job and get it, they are devaluing all of us.
Once I realized what hogwash her statements and this entire site was, I was locked into a 12-month contract at almost $50 a month.
Here's an example: I have been doing legal writing for 20+ years. I saw a posting looking for someone to write content for a lawyer’s website. One of them was even in my field of practice. Perfect, right? He wanted four blog posts a month, 400-600 a word. However, there were major red flags. First of all, he submitted this “job posting” multiple times because Outsource only allows 18 quotes/bids per job. He used the name “George W.” – yeah, that’s real. He wanted original content, someone with “solid writing and grammar skills, and be capable of producing articles which need little or no editing for style, form, and grammar,” and someone with background in the law. However, at the bottom of the page, he wanted a flat fee on a per-article basis included in the fee, and then suggested $25 per article/blog post. He also wanted the job done “as soon as possible.” That phrase suggests rush work, which always should pay more because it comes at the expense of other clients or your personal life.
For realz? You want someone who does all that for about $.10/word? (Give or take my math skills.) Without knowing what these articles entail?
$50 a month is a lot of money when you’re freelancing, and if you are going to have to be locked into that amount monthly for any period of time, you should be getting some value. Outsource offers no value to the freelancer.