Lazy web beat up…no surprise, its News Ltd

February 14, 2009 — 5 Comments

What a pathetically lazy piece of journalism this is.

They’re obviously quoting from a press release, because they continue to mix figures from one site with the entire market.


Australian employers are also turning to the virtual job market to find cheap employees: 1484 Australia-based accounts have hired an elancer in the past six months.

Elancer is a specific term to Elance, one of many, many sites facilitating online work, and even then, that’s excluding the broader market, including direct deals, so WTF with the next paragraph:

Australian bosses paid $US898,000 to online employees in 2008, up 44 per cent from $US624,000 in 2007.

HOLY SHIT! Alone I account for something like 5-6% of the money flowing to online employees from Australia.

But that’s just a small taste.

Cause and effect?

There are currently approximately 1300 active service providers on Elance based in Australia, making it the fifth biggest country on Elance regarding visitors per month, behind the US, India, the UK and Canada, according to independent reporting from Quantcast.

Um, number of providers from Australia has NOTHING to do with the traffic the site gets; if it’s popular in Australia, that would be due to Australians looking to hire primarily people overseas; there’s no correlation between providers and traffic, only customers and traffic.

Then there’s the clueless union official

Sharan Burrow, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), said she was concerned some employers would use the economic downturn to cut pay and conditions.

?¢‚Ǩ?ìAustralian workers should carefully check whether jobs advertised on these websites pay the legal minimum rates if the job is based in Australia,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Ms Burrow said.

For starters, most of the jobs run by a bidding system, and aren’t fixed rate. But that’s besides the point, because legally there’s no “legal minimum rate” because there’s no employment relationship; the tie up is exclusively a contractural one where a minimum rate doesn’t apply. THE ONLY WAY a min rate would apply would be in the event that a service applier ended up doing 80% of more of their work for the one person, and that’s presuming both parties are in Australia (that rule came in under Howard, and a lot of contractors hated it, because it meant they had to be treated as employees). The chances of an 80% load rule applying on Elance or a similar site: 0/100. But hey, why let common knowledge facts get in the way of a web beatup.

Update: I nearly forgot

Blogging critics have dubbed the sites ?¢‚Ǩ?ìdigital sweatshops?¢‚Ǩ¬ù that take advantage of stressed-out workers who resort to menial jobs at terrible rates.

The link in that paragraph goes to a forum, so the journalist seemingly can’t tell the difference between a blog and a forum. But here’s the better part: there’s nothing about digital sweatshops on the page linked to. Indeed, the link is to an online business forum and an entry made by a new member, and the responses to him. Nothing even remotely related to the story.

Lazy stuff.