Ramon’s Take: Why Elance Is Not About Freelancers but More About Trust and the IRS

I use a lot of tools and from time to time I’ll post a personal take on how I use the tool. These will be reviews, but more of a very personal review as I use the product in my business on a day to day basis.
I’ve been using Elance for several years but only recently (as in the the last few hours) did it dawn on me the true power of Elance.
For some years, I’ve thought of Elance as a platform to find help. Just like you might send out a Tweet for a PR consultant, or ask your local chamber for a referral for a technology consultant.
Recently I was on the hunt for a designer to jazz up my upcoming 2010 Technology Guide (long overdue). So I posted the project to Elance and received about 60 submissions. It was a bit (well quite) overwhelming and took some time to wade through all the submissions. As I got to the last 10 or so submissions, all were pretty darn good, but I finally settled on one due to some key elements of their proposal.
I finally settled on a vendor “vfm – Value for Money”.
As we’ve been working I realized that although Elance is a great platform for FINDING talent. It’s also a great platform, possibly more importantly, for managing a relationships amongst parties that do not know each other and alleviating you of the need to issue 1099’s to vendors, as required by the IRS.

This might sound trivial, but if like me you work with many vendors (video production, graphics, web design, event production and more), Elance makes it very easy to manage the relationship.
Although all of my relationships are positive, not everyone is a great person. So Elance builds trust by being neutral ground to ensure the vendor knows your money is in escrow and you know they can’t get the money until the work is done. Pretty easy.
Well that’s my take on Elance.
Other providers in this space include oDesk, Freelancers.com, Crowdspring.com (for design work), 99 Designs (for design work).