IT Outsourcing Consolidation: Freelancer.com Buys Scriptlance, Now Numbers 4M Users
The author makes note of a recent acquisition in the social outsourcing space, namely the acquisition of Canada’s Scriptlance by Freelancer.com. While acquisitions are commonplace enough, this one was completed to gain entry into Canada’s market and to increase global marketshare in this social outsourcing vertical. As indicated, the number of enterprise and professional users now tops 4 million.
The author indicates that the combined number of projects is close to 3 million with 450 outsourcing project types including website design, graphic design, copywriting and SEO. The project portfolio represents 244 countries.
As per “We are tremendously excited to acquire Scriptlance, which is truly one of the great trailblazers and most widely recognized brands in the online outsourcing industry,” said Barrie in a separate statement. “Today we launch in Canada, and we couldn’t think of a better way to announce this than by buying one of Canada’s top technology websites.”
The other observation is that beyond these “typical” projects, the tough economy has contributed to listings including astrophysics, aerospace engineering, biotechnology, manufacturing, industrial design and crowdfunding.
Based on observations by René Trescases, Scriptlance’s CEO, the demand for crowdfunding is increasing dramatically. Not only is Matt Barrie, Freelancer’s CEO, adding crowdfunding to the mix, but will be looking at other markets as well. At this point, there are no plans to reduce staff.
The acquisition follows several others that Freelancer.com has made since being founded in 2009 to expand into new territories.
The web properties now owned by Freelancer.com include GetAFreelancer (Sweden); LimeExchange (United States); Freelancer.co.uk (United Kingdom); Freelancer.de Booking Center (Germany); Freelancer.com.au (Australia) and Freelancer Hong Kong (China), as well as the Freemarket.com virtual content marketplace (United States) and the Webmaster Talk (United States) forums.
Freelancer.com claims that these user numbers make it almost double the size of its closest competitor. Today people can hire out their services in some 11 currencies, with particular popularity in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan, home to highly skilled IT workers in countries short in on-the-ground jobs.
The incredible growth of Freelancer, primarily through acquisition, since 2009 demonstrates the strength of demand for certain types of services provided by startup social networking companies. The fact that there are over 4 million users in only three years is growth that traditional enterprises only dream about.
However, revenue models are still a ways off from producing the type and size of revenue that traditional enterprises can produce. $600/year for a premium employer membership and $50/year for standard employer membership represents only a fraction of the potential savings that users can realize by using this outsourcing service.
The challenge is in the measurement and tracking of savings.
Traditionally, a percentage of savings above the base fee generates revenues for the outsourcing organization. This site provides a mechanism for the outsourcer and potential client to connect. If the outsourcer realizes significant revenues, shouldn’t there is a contract provision that provides additional revenues to Freelancer.com?
Call to Action
Enterprises should spend time reviewing new social networking service sites since there are some real bargains out there - the cost of these services is relatively inexpensive while the service value is high.
Note that these new services may not necessarily replace existing internal functions, but are more likely to introduce new opportunities that were not previously available (pre 2009 in Freelancer’s case).