What's Freelancers?

I thought the tweet might have something to do with the paste discussion I posted to Stackoverflow by using Perl Power Tools. That answer was a lot of fun, and as I suspected, I didn't even need Perl since a user on Reddit came up with a command line using paste, head, and tail. I think I tend to learn more from my answers than anyone else.

The question posed on the Freelancers site is oddly specific for someone who wants to pay for the program. It specifies acting like a program that already exists but isn't one a newbie would reach for. It's specifies a particular implementation language although many other languages could handle it. It's oddly specific about writing a shell script as a test instead of Perl's testing framework. Homework? Maybe.

I'm curious, so I create an account and bid on it. Of the total bid, some goes to Freelancers.com and most to me. I expected that. No big whoop. I mention in my bid that they don't need me at all. Just read the Stackoverflow answer and steal my gist from it. If anyone else wants to make money off it, underbid me and take the paste from Perl Power Tools to make the -s on by default.

Once I submit my bid, I see what's going on and suspect that the question isn't even homework. The website immediately starts asking me for money to improve my chances of getting the job, or, as they say, improving my bid. I can spend a couple of bucks to promote my bid:

I can also buy badges, such as a level 1 English badge with, apparently, several other people completed with 100% accuracy in less than a minute after paying $5.

Doesn't that look suspicious? I spend a bunch of money to bid on work that I probably won't ever get and probably isn't a serious job. How would I ever know if the bid selected was actually going to do the work?

Maybe they are on the up and up and it's only this entry that looks suspicious, but I'm still disappointed that there wasn't something interesting about paste.

Several hours later the job mysteriously disappeared, although I got this email still trying to sell me the exam:

And the job showed up on elance:

1 Comment

P.T. Barnun was right there is one born every minute.

Reminds me of hotdispatch.com one of the first ones out there way way back in the stone age like 1996. I think I was one of the first ones on it as for the first two years I managed to make about 75 to 200$ a month for a few mins work.

At the time it was min 5 bucks an answer. Plus some dev work here and there and I did get paid.

Well after about 2 years suddenly they changed things and it became impossible to make more than 20$ a month as now instead of a few programmer there where God knows how many. You where splititng the 5$ answers and by the hour contacts where now bid at 10% the money I first saw.

It quickly became impossible to even read the question or SOW before it was just done for say 5 or 10 US

I guess at the time if you could pull in 200$ a month US in Mumbai you where doing quite well,

Oh well fun while it lasted and s little US spending money on the side

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About brian d foy

user-pic I'm the author of Mastering Perl, and the co-author of Learning Perl (6th Edition), Intermediate Perl, Programming Perl (4th Edition) and Effective Perl Programming (2nd Edition).