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Summary:

Elance recently introduced video chat to its users as a new feature embedded directly into the site. That will allow employers and contractors to have face-to-face communication without having to open a different application or video chat client.

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Video chat is changing the way people communicate, which is becoming increasingly evident in the way it’s being used for virtual work. Remote teams are turning to video communications to provide more face-to-face contact between team members. That’s why Elance recently introduced video chat to its users, as a new feature embedded directly into the site.

Elance has grown pretty dramatically over the past few years, as more and more jobs move online and work becomes more virtual. To provide more value to its users, the company wants to do more than just connect employers and contractors. That’s why it has a virtual workroom that enables collaborative work and communications tools between them.

In their virtual workrooms, contractors can send messages, submit invoices, respond to to-do lists and other features. And now, Elance has added a new video chat feature to enable more “face-to-face” contact between collaborators, without users having to enter a whole different application to connect.

According to Elance VP of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Ved Sinha, the addition of video chat to the virtual workroom will reduce the friction that comes when employers and contractors work together. While many had previously interfaced through other applications, building the chat window directly into a contractor’s dashboard enables instant communication with the click of a button.

To do this, Elance uses Tokbox’s OpenTok video chat client, which enables businesses to embed video chat into their websites. While there are plenty of video chat offerings available on the market today, Sinha told me by phone that OpenTok was the only solution that allowed Elance to build video chat directly and seamlessly into the virtual workroom.

That was a big advantage for Elance, which wanted to ensure its users didn’t have to open a different client or application to get in touch with one another. And for its clients, the feature should enable better coordination and more productivity.

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  2. Natural Sapphire Monday, February 20, 2012

    Freelancing sites like elance charge exorbitant commissions almost 7-8% on invoices add to it dog-eat-dog bidding process.
    I happen to see a smartphone based job engine civet.mobi looks impressive. allows you to directly contact the bidder (unlike elance which obscures the contact details)

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  3. Jeff Williams Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Maybe the fees would not be so bad if they offered more value. There absolutely not tools to accomplish the work. My vote is for Weblance which has killer tools to make the work easier to perform, quicker to deploy and the client knows what the heck is going on.

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  4. Daniel Green Monday, April 16, 2012

    Unfortunately, the percentages elance takes cannot be justified by the services they provide. They are glorified jobs boards,but more importantly, percentages just encourage lower rates (why should they charge more for a $50/hr freelancer than a $15/hr – the elance service is the same).

    As an employer I have had terrible experiences with elance (and odesk and freelancer are probably worse, to be fair). Too many hirers offer poorly explained jobs at ridiculous rates (then complain when the outcome is poor) and many freelancers are completely unreliable, let alone have the necessary skills. In short, I just don’t think any aspect of the site is serious (in the main, neither the hirers, the freelancers nor the tools odesk provides).

    My project is designed to specifically address this, beginning with verified hirers who turnover at least $1M. Task Orbit will be a closed site to all except a select group of 8,000 corporate hirers who are serious about outsourcing and prepared to pay reasonable rates for top quality work. The reason I am replying to this post is that I am keen to receive feedback whilst task orbit is being built, and hopefully develop a pool of skilled freelancers who will agree to participate in the site during it’s beta/testing phase. In return they will have an input into the features and restrictions in place, not to mention lifetime membership free of site charges.

    If anyone is interested, please connect with me on Linkedin (Task Orbit/Daniel Green/Sydney Australia)

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