Thursday, December 11, 2014

Editing: USA vs. the rest of the world

The most common would-be freelancer question is "Where/How do I find a job?"

Typically, they would be pointed to freelancer marketplaces such as Elance,, and the like, where you bid for gigs, or jobs. Complaints of undercutting by South Asian nationals abound, perpetuating the stereotype of the region as an international sweatshop both on- and offline.

However, I'm not here to grouse about that, or even gigs with paltry budgets (just say no and tighten your belt). Rather, I want to comment on how the beta versions of some freelancer sites limit registration to people living in the United States or Canada.

I'm not saying they're wrong in doing so. Certainly, it's their prerogative, and it might offer potential clients a semblance of security. I do think that in doing so, they limit their talent pool, and there is no guarantee that freelancers from these regions are necessarily better.

There's also nothing stopping a person with a legitimate US/Canadian address from successfully establishing an account with the site and subsequently farming the work out on other freelancing sites (!!) to people living outside North America.

Likewise, I don't think they have safeguards against a person who obtains a fake US/Canadian address and registers anyway. After all, there are mail forwarding services that cater to shoppers when an online shop in the US/wherever doesn't ship internationally, so why not freelancer sites?

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