Rated People – for quality, local tradesmen. I’ve seen it for the first time while enjoying my morning gym session about 2 weeks ago, happily entertaining me on a treadmill. I bothered to think of sending them a note about the lack of political correctness, but gave up the idea in the end. Then it popped out somewhere online, and back again today at the gym. Well, I thought that I will check it out anyway, perhaps it truly is just a rating system. No, it isn’t. It’s just yet another online marketplace.
That started me off thinking about our favourite translation marketplaces, including Proz, Translator’s café, or GoTranslators. There is also a whole range of non-translation specific marketplaces, where freelancers of all sorts can compete for outsourced jobs. For the purposes of this article (and out of my personal interest in online marketplaces and translators), I decided to create my profiles on a number of them. Here’s where you can now find me (apart from Proz, Translator’s Café, GoTranslators, and Language123):
- Translators Town
(the rest was too dodgy to register)
How do online marketplaces work (based on PeoplePerHour)?
Business-to-business and business-to-customer marketplace, match buyers (mostly businesses) with sellers – freelancers, using the electronic brokerage effect (in other words, the internet is to blame!). The factors behind the success of e-auctions are mostly linked with worldwide exposure, lower cost, no time or space constraints, and added multimedia and database facilities to help buyers choose).
Why is that bad?
All these factors lead to the potential for more aggressive bidding, thus creating a heavily buyer-biased marketplace. PeoplePerHour has over 141,171 freelancers registered, and only 47,640 clients, which amounts to almost 3 sellers for every buyer. In wider economy, any marketplace in which there are too many sellers leads to lower, lower, lower prices offered. And bidding on price is not a good strategy for translators, is it?
I was contacted by a nice lady from a small or medium enterprise somewhere in the United Kingdom. She said she found me on PeoplePerHour and kindly sent me a sample text and asked about my rates. Well, she never replied after I gave her my estimated charge for 5,000 words. This very same evening I’ve received a digest e-mail from PeoplePerHour and her job in there. She wanted someone for £120-£180 (for 5,000 words). She already had 5 bidders.
Besides, non-translation specific marketplaces rarely have relevant jobs posted. I usually come across Polish translations once a week.
By the way, have you ever heard of solicitors competing on price at GoSolicitors, Solicitors Café, or Solicitors Town?
I’ve set up my PeoplePerHour account ages ago, when I was looking for someone to practice my Norwegian with. Importing all data from LinkedIn took as long as 10 seconds. After about half a year I was contacted by someone who needed 25,000 words translated in my language pair. I offered him my normal rates thinking that it will be a massive deterrent, but the client agreed and secured a few hundred pounds on the deposit account. We no longer use PeoplePerHour, as our relationship grew and we started to trust each other. One in a million.
With a reasonable amount of time and energy invested, you can hope for:
- One in a million best client
- Direct business clients
- Link exchange
- Payment security
- Non-translation exclusive environment
- Potentially longer relationships
I’ll keep you updated on jobs posted and my success with offers. I am definitely not going to agree for anything lower than my usual rates, but I may well meet another client ready to accept them. What is your experience with online marketplaces? Are you registered with them? Have you ever received any jobs through them?