Upwork Winding Down Elance Activities, New Registrations Ending This Month


It’s the beginning of the end of Elance.

The Upwork platform has announced it would be shutting down Elance beginning next month, and migrating its community over to its home site.

In a letter to clients, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel wrote:

“Upwork has already proven to be a rewarding marketplace for clients who are able to hire more quickly from a larger pool of experienced freelancers. We’re also working to deliver innovations to hire more rapidly: mobile apps are now available for iOS and Android and a new messaging tool enables real-time collaboration.”

Upwork has its roots in Elance and oDesk, two freelancing platforms that merged in late 2013. Last year, the company announced it was rebranding itself as “Upwork” but allowing Elance to continue on as a stand-alone site operated by Upwork.

Kasriel outlined the transition like this:

  • In early August, new customers will no longer be allowed to register with Elance.
  • Starting in September, Upwork will limit clients ability to post new jobs on Elance. “We’ll make it easy to continue working with your current freelancers from Elance—you can find and rehire them from your My Jobs page on Upwork,” Kasriel wrote on the company blog. “We’ll also provide you with new possibilities as you take advantage of new Upwork features like our real-time collaboration tool and mobile apps to explore new talent available on Upwork.”
  • Current projects will still be active on Elance through early 2016. “However, we encourage you to begin all new contracts on Upwork and move existing contracts to Upwork when possible,” Kasriel said.
  • Users should still be able to access files, contacts and messages on Elance through mid-2016.
  • Invitations to join Upwork, if you haven’t received one already, should arrive by September 1.

Kasriel said that he was making the announcement with mixed emotions. He explained:

“Like you, many of us have had a long and happy history with Elance. At the same time, I’m excited that our entire team can now focus completely on improving a single online workplace.”

Upwork had said earlier this year it would transition to a single freelancing service, and that Elance would likely be absorbed into Upwork.

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Tom Coombe Tom Coombe is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a professional writer for over 15 years, spending most of that time covering news in the Lehigh Valley. He's worked as a reporter for the Allentown Morning Call and an editor for AOL's Patch.com news service. Tom has also freelanced for WFMZ, the Produce Marketing Association and a number of other publications.

6 Reactions
  1. So it is not more of a partnership, it was really a way to take over Elance. Too bad because Elance has so many members. I am just not sure if this is really a good thing.

    • I say this can end horribly bad in the end…

      We have a merged company with with two different websites and revenue streams. We have one platform going away and if not enough freelancers from Elance migrate over to Upwork and if not enough new employers post high quality jobs at Upwork both companies could go under.

      I am in the camp like 90% + of Elance users that want to see Elance remain as is.

  2. First Upwork should ban all this unqualified Indians working 1$ all this cheap workers don’t know nothing about programming and design, yet they are just destroying market.

    That’s why I highly don’t recommend joining upwork. Cheap workers – stealing other designers, codes.

    Do I recommend Upwork or elance?
    – No, until they get rid of cheap workers.

    • I totally agree with that.

    • I concur. Didn’t Elance at one point change minimum bids to $25 (which is still terribly low)? Upwork needs to set standards in a similar fashion- no 3D service should b $10.

  3. It appears that Upwork is breaking its own TOS by using a secret filter for freelancers applying for projects. According to freelancers on their own community website/blog, there’s a secret formula which Upwork applies to t hose freelancers who apply and for many, the “no response”/ “no reply” is Upwork interfering with the free enterprise system by sending clients a list of those freelancers who Upwork feels are worthy of bidding. Good luck finding work. After over 120 bids, 1 job offer only.