IT Outsourcing Auction Sites

Just discovered a Web site where you can bid out your IT outsourcing project. Openoutsource offers an auction service that's a bit of a kludge and slow to load but puts you in touch with dozens of companies that'll put you in touch with developers who want to tackle your development projects. It's a compendium of techie auction sites. That's one way to find someplace to outsource your tech work.

You can look up the bidding sites up in Openoutsource directory alphabetically, by “rating,” by the number of hits they've received on the site, by the date when they added themselves to the site and by overall score. Those knowledgeable about a particular service can also add comments, though this seems to be a little-used feature.

To check out the services, I clicked through to the service provider with the highest number of hits (Hire-freelancers) and one with an especially low number of hits (Freelance Web programming).

Here's the write-up provided by Hire-freelancers:

Where Freelancers and project managers meet to negotiate terms. A flate fee will find you an expert Freelance programmer,Seo Expert or graphic artist. Post your projects for FREE and freelance programmers,coders and graphic artists will place bids on your project. Choose from the best professional freelance programmers,Seo Expert or graphic artists on line. Webmasters pay only when you select a Programmer or Freelancer.Do you need to outsource your custom Software, Script, Designs or help for all your internet business and needs?. Need that Mod or support done for your Hosting or site?, whether it be Web Design, CGI, Perl, PHP, SEO, Php , html or a Remote Hosting Admin? Hire-freelancers will help you !!!

The typos, bad grammar, poor punctuation and multiple exclamation marks would scare me off from taking these folks seriously. Perhaps that's why the company also gets a mediocre rating from site users: 7.7 on a scale of 10.

But to give it a fair evaluation, I also visited the company's own Web site. (Who knows? Maybe a rogue programmer posted the listing and the marketing group at Hire-freelancers would look askance!) Nope. No go. The rogue programmer who probably cut a few English classes in school appears to be in charge of the site. Here's some copy from the home page:

Are you a professional programmer? Do you want to provide Hire-Freelancers your expertise to the market being a freelancer?, Hire-Freelancers will help you to find customers!!!. It's free to sign up, with no monthly costs and low commissions. Do you have what it takes to be freelance? Are you the php guru, Linux certified technician?. Web developer, Web Graphic Designer? Start earning as a Freelancer Programmer with Hire-Freelancers now!

I'm not sure I'd trust a sizable coding, documentation, translation or other project to a company where exclamation marks took the place of careful editing.

The site with few hits, Freelance Web Programming, gets a rating of 3 out of 10; of course, that appears to come from only a single voter. This site offers this small commercial:

Freelance Web Programming is a talent auction for web programming and graphic design services. Professional Programmer and Webmaster community for web development projects and help!

What is it with the bad grammar?

This site, like the other one, is an auction service. You post your project and service providers bid on it. One auction that's taking place on the Freelance site right now consists entirely of the following:

Project Description:

We are looking for a website to sell our services and allow people to sign up for our service.

Basically a clone of the site below:

That's it! Who knew Web design could be so easy?! Here are some of the bids this project attracted:

Bid Date:2004-10-04 14:51:19
Delivery Date:5 Day(s)
Bid Details

Kreeti, my designer is pretty interested in the design shown in your job bid. She has been working on designs like such lately andhas done some real nice works for similar companies.
For the programming backend, I have made several websites as such with personal log-in features and similar features as the website you provided.
Please do not hesitate to contact me on specifications, if you need any.

Bid Date:2004-10-28 14:28:25
Delivery Date:15 Day(s)
Bid Details
From what I can see you are looking for a web site that integrates a flash front-end with a SQL back-end. I currently work for one of the largest Credit Card and ACH processors in the US and can provide many references.

Another bid was actually for $1 and a one-day delivery date. (Don't tell the Web developer for, but I'm almost tempted to post this project up there to see just how low the price can go. :-))

Since I wanted to give the auction approach to outsourcing a fair shake, I also decided to visit a site with a high number of hits plus a high ranking. One that fits that description is eLancer Marketplace. The company is based in Hong Kong and offers development, as well as graphic design, training, business strategy, marketing and sales, and just about any other service you might need to run a company. Here too, the English is rough around the edges:

eLancer – electronic freelancer, consists of creative people, team, and innovative companies from countries including but not limited to Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, India, Philippines, Singapore, etc. eLancer is led by a team of executives from leading enterprise, global company, investment bank, e-commerce, entertainment, promotion and marketing businesses from Korea, China and Hong Kong.

I checked out a Web design project on this site itself to see what kind of talent one could attract through eLancer. Here's the project description:

Category : Web Design & Development

Description Detail :
We are going to improving our existing website and developing becoming one of the acceptable and easy to understand by our potential cusotmers

Description appended at 11/01/2004 23:42:
Our websites will have two languages (English and Traditional Chinesse) also we have program which could give us to update the website such as special promotion or the new information need to adds at any time. We prefer company who understand very well in Chinesse Word and Language to support our web since the most market are Chinesse Market

Here's one bid it received:

1008059TheAxis [PK]N/A HK$1,00010/22/200410/22/2004 11:04
Bidder Comment : The Axis is group of highly skilled professionals who believes in creativity, style and commitment. We specialize in Flash intros, website templates/layouts, logo design, flyer/brochures, email advertisements, animated characters, 3D modeling, video/audio streaming, database driven flash sites and merce solutions in ASP and PHP using Access and SQL. We believe more on quality than quantity. Portfolio: Regards Report Violate

(“Report Violate” pops up a tiny box and lets visitors report bidders who may have violated the bidding process — perhaps by posting an outrageous bid simply to get a phone call from the perspective client.)

Here's another bid for that project:

1008071americannext [IN]N/A HK$1,29910/23/200410/23/2004 15:58
Bidder Comment : Infobase Technologies a India based web design and web development company, with over 3 years of experience in providing web site design, logo design and web development services. Over these years our web design company has been rated as the best service provider in the field gaining faultless reputation with our customers. The widest range of services offered by Infobase is not limited just by web site design, web development and logo design. Our web design company offers other services, such as software development, merce, web hosting, .Net development, search engine optimization and promotion, translation services and more. The unique point making our web design company stand out from hundreds of others is that 100 % client satisfaction has been the highest priority we always stick to. Even more, Infobase would be happy to e more than just a web design company and a service provider always available to take care of your personal and business needs, but your navigator and guide, helping you out in the dynamically changing and growing world of web development and web site design. If you deal with our web design company, you get 100% guarantee that your business will be a success. Another essential characteristic of our web design company is constant progress and willingness to learn. No matter if we do a simple logo design or a complex merce web site, you will be provided with the most up-to-date technologies and solutions since continuous way to perfection in the field of web development is a crucial asset we always maintain. Report Violate

None of the bids exceeded HK$2,000 or about US$260.

I'm going to continue monitoring these auction sites. It's an intriguing way to get in touch with potential service providers, particularly when the work is a quick, limited-focus endeavor (like duplicating a Web site such as But I'm not blown away by the quality of the offerings I've seen so far. I think they need to consider outsourcing their copywriting.