PeoplePerHour, an online freelance marketplace that started in 2007 in Europe, has now opened a U.S. "branch" called Hourlies. The idea is that freelancers would advertise their skills and post a per-hour rate; customers can then choose which freelancer they want to use and make an offer.The CEO describes the service this way:
???Hourlies is our way of making it simple for every person to join the online working revolution,??? says PeoplePerHour founder and CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou. ???Everybody has free time and a skill or service that has value to someone. Hourlies connects people with others — even in their own area — who will pay for that skill or service. It helps people not only earn extra cash by ???moonlighting,??? but also take the first step in creating a full-fledged entrepreneurial business, an ambition many people harbor.???
On the one hand it looks like a straightforward strategy: You say what you can do and how much you are willing to do it for, and with any luck, somebody will take you up on it. On the other hand, I was a bit put off by the opening video which, rather than explain how the business works, shows photos of Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling and similar celebrities and proclaims that they laid the basis for their fortunes in under an hour.I looked for reviews of the service, and found one interesting one dated 2009 from a blog called Freelance Unbound. The author, who tried out the European version of PeoplePerHour, states that, while the service is legitimate, it may not be quite right for an experienced freelancer — especially because many of the would-be clients have an unrealistic expectation of what they can pay for decent writing skills:
A mental health website asking for three blog posts a week, at 350-400 words each, accepted a bid of ??220 for the first 30 posts. That???s about ??18 per thousand words, or ten times less than I would think of an acceptable, if pretty low, rate. Yes ??? there???s probably minimal research involved, but still. ??220 is about a day and a half???s pay ??? which isn???t very long to write 12,000 words.
Of course, that was written about three years ago. Have things changed? Probably not. Is Hourlies a good place to check out? Why not — it will take an hour or two to set up, and any job you may pick up after that is icing on the cake. Just make sure the job is worth your time.