30 Days as Geek For Hire – Day 6: Disconnected via Connects

After my last meander into the murky pool of Elance sweat shop gigs job opportunities, I have been avoiding that site at all costs. But on Facebook today, a friend mentioned that Elance was shutting down and moving to a new platform with higher rates for freelancers.

After some digging, I discovered that the news was bigger than that. Turns out that Elance and ODesk actually merged some months ago and are now operating under a new entity called UpWork. Weirdly, Elance have retained their own brand, while ODesk has re-branded to become UpWork.

I nervously logged in to ODesk for the first time in a week, thinking that all the effort I had put into my profile was likely wasted, but thankfully the system had retained all my profile data and had simply changed the site name to UpWork and replaced the site font with something hideous and unreadable. Seriously guys – I’ve no idea what that font is called, but if I had to name it, I’d suggest Rusty Geek. Or Visually Impaired. But I digress.


I’d been on the site for less than 60 seconds when an annoying window popped up. “Introducing Connects. A new way to apply for jobs”, it said. Then an even more annoying pop-up showed up on my profile: “Connects are now required to apply to jobs”. Aaargh. The bizarre concept of *Connects* had leaked over from Elance to UpWork. Connects are virtual tokens you need to submit in order to apply for a job. The good news is that if you’re invited to apply for a job, you don’t need to use any connects. But being invited to apply for a job is not very common.


Each basic freelancer account is allocated 60 connects, but you need to use between 1 and 5 connects for each job application. So depending on the number of gigs you apply for each month, you may need to upgrade your membership from Freelancer Basic to Freelancer Plus. At USD 10 per month, a Freelancer Plus membership gives you 70 connects, but unused connects roll over each month for future use. Clear as mud, right?

After 15 minutes of trying to wrap my head around that concept, I searched for some suitable jobs and decided to apply for three:

  • Online Digital Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Consultant
  • Digital Content Provider

Time to cross my fingers and wait for responses.

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