One of my favorite tools for hiring contractors, oDesk, has rebranded itself. From now on they’‘ll be called “Upwork”

From their website:

Dear oDeskers,

Together we’ve redefined how people work. What you do every day on oDesk used to be called “the future of work,” but it’s rapidly becoming the norm. We know 90% of US businesses hire independent professionals and they are ready to find more talent online.

I’m thrilled to announce that we have relaunched oDesk as Upwork. Upwork is a new name, and also a new platform for connecting businesses with talented professionals, faster and more easily than ever before. And, in the coming months, we will focus on four areas of innovation:

  • Faster hiring. To accelerate hiring, we’re making it easier for freelancers to update their availability and for businesses to find, interview and select freelancers who are ready to work right away.

  • Better collaboration. We’re making work simpler and more productive. A new messaging experience will include chat and video, plug into your favorite services, and organize conversations into chat rooms. Plus, you’ll be able to communicate with your teams through native Android and iPhone apps.

  • Larger teams. Shared team workspaces will make it easier for multiple freelancers and clients to collaborate. Businesses can create and engage large freelance teams quickly, safely, and in compliance with Upwork Enterprise.

  • Professional growth. Upwork will be a platform where independent professionals can thrive. With access to work history stats, the ability to earn Top Rated status, and information on high-demand skills, freelancers will have the tools to get more and better jobs.

oDesk is now Upwork. You can begin experiencing the new platform today by going to upwork.com. You’ll see familiar oDesk functionality and your existing profile, with a new mobile-friendly and simplified design. A new Upwork Messenger app is now also available for download on Android and iPhone. And, don’t miss the Hiring Hub, our new destination for ideas and inspiration to help you get more work done faster.

You may also be wondering about the new name. With an exciting and limitless future in mind, we chose Upwork to better convey our vision and represent our current and future community. It’s a name that inspires us and we hope it will inspire you as well.

We’ll continue to share our progress towards this vision, and look forward to creating more success for your business than ever before. I’m excited to step into the CEO position at Upwork, and I invite you to join in the conversation to find answers to your questions. If you have feedback for us or have questions about our new platform check out these FAQs or we’d love to hear from you at upwork-info@odesk.com.

Best,

Stephane Kasriel

CEO, Upwork

PS: Although I mention forthcoming innovation above, our VP, Head of Product Hayden Brown has created a series of blog posts briefly outlining future development. Read her posts to learn more about Upwork’s roadmap in areas from faster hiring and better collaboration to support for larger teams and enhanced professional growth.

My question is, what about eLance?

If you remember, oDesk and eLance announced they would eventually merge a long time ago.

Small Business Trends reports that eLance will remain a separate site, for now.

“The plan is to keep Elance.com around for a couple of years and then eventually it will be going away,” Upwork spokesperson Christina Schultz told Small Business Trends in a phone interview.

But for now, Elance.com will operate as a stand alone site owned by Upwork. Schultz said the move was prompted by a desire to preserve continuity for Elance.com users and give them a chance to acclimate.

However, with the offering of a “one way bridge” to make it easier for Elance.com users to transfer their accounts to Upwork, it’s clear the company would prefer they make the move.

I haven’‘t had to hire a contractor in a bit. I might have to find an excuse to do so just to try out the new Upwork experience. Hopefully it’’s just as good as oDesk was!

-Tobiah