Elance Online Extends Services Marketplace to Enable "Everyday" Project Outsourcing

"Everyday Outsourcing Center" enables small-, mid-size businesses to subcontract different kinds of professional services projects

Sunnyvale, CA — May 19, 2004 — Elance Online today launched the "Everyday Outsourcing Center" to provide diverse businesses a single destination for qualified professional assistance. Elance said the move is intended to help small- and mid-size businesses take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing.

Elance said the "Everyday Outsourcing Center" is built on top of an existing services marketplace, which has served as a hub for buyers and sellers of professional services (e.g., design and multimedia, sales and marketing, software and technology and Web design and development projects) since its inception in 1998.

With this launch, several improvements have been made, including a simplified sign-up process, in order to make it easier for sellers to participate in the marketplace; optimized search capabilities to sort prospective sellers based on a complete set of service attributes; and new proposal filters, seller contract information and "Invite-to-Bid" functionality to simultaneously solicit and evaluate proposals from multiple providers.

One of the most significant trends in the U.S. economy recently has been "outsourcing" — hiring outside skilled labor to complete project-based work, according to Elance. Economists cite high cost savings and the ability to leverage unique skills for projects that fall outside a company's core competencies as primary drivers of this trend. Initially, large corporations were the only companies that took advantage of outsourcing, but now small- and medium-sized businesses are also discovering its benefits. According to the Outsourcing Institute (Fifth Annual Outsourcing Index), 60 percent of companies with fewer than 500 employees expect to spend $1 million to $5 million on outsourcing in the next 12 months, while an additional 20 percent have budgeted up to $1 million.

"Outsourcing has gotten a bad rap being associated with large businesses sending jobs overseas, but small- to medium-size companies have always leveraged professionals outside their organizations to more cost-effectively and efficiently get critical projects done," said Christa Degnan, research director at the Aberdeen Group. "The new features of Elance's marketplace bring the outsourced project and supplier visibility and flexibility needed to serve small- and mid-size businesses, firms who can least afford to make expensive mistakes when bringing their products and services to market."

"Many businesses are under the misconception that outsourcing is off limits to anyone but the world's largest corporations because the process is too complex," said Raul Mujica, vice president of Elance Online. "But this simply isn't true anymore. The Everyday Outsourcing Center has been developed to allow anyone to outsource almost any kind of project, whether you are a busy professional in an established company or an entrepreneur just starting out."

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