What is Elance?
Elance is a website that links buyers of services to providers of services in a way that helps service providers such as programmers or graphic designers or copywriters, reach buyers of those services such as website owners or information product publishers.
Apart from linking buyers to suppliers, Elance also serves to protect both parties with respect to payments and also provides buyers with rating information about providers. In this way, good quality service providers can achieve higher prices than low quality providers as well as get more work. Likewise buyers can readily see if a potential service provider is likely to deliver on their promise.
Many internet marketers use Elance and similar websites to outsource certain functions such as content creation, online customer support and software creation. For example, a business may have a need to create an iPod or iPad app and not have the appropriate skills in-house. By going to a service like Elance, the business may put out the job to tender and get several bids from several app developers. He can then choose which one to work with with the full payment only being made once the app is delivered according to spec.
One of the key benefits of a service like Elance is that all providers and buyers have to agree to common terms and conditions which makes the process of accepting and commissioning work fast and easy, even if buyers and sellers are in different countries.
As more and more services go online, the use of sites like Elance, oDesk, PeoplePerHour etc will continue to grow with providers delivering anything from complex software and complete websites including graphical design and content, to simple graphics for ecovers or transcriptions of audio files.