UPDATE: Microlancer is now the Envato Studio. Please consider one of these alternatives or see below. If this information is incorrect, please email me.
Microlancer.com is a service from the Envato network of sites (known for ThemeForest, VideoHive, AudioJungle, and more — they’re heavy into the “microsourcing” economy), and was launched in a private Beta in April 2013.
The goal of Microlancer is to provide excellent graphics and creative designing in an array of fields including 3D animations, logo design, business card design, twitter design, PSD to WordPress, Email Newsletter design, and web development.
Microlancer.com is a hub of creative freelancers, who have pledged to work with them and in return they get a platform with space and necessary controls to give their best shot in a safe environment. Hence, Microlancer.com works to facilitate both the service providers with distinctive skills sets, and the buyers who need digital designing work.
The advantages of Microlancer.com are that you are spared the nuisance of posting job bids for however small or big jobs like you would have to do for similar work on Elance or oDesk. The downside of this is it takes your proactive searching to find the best fit for your job, instead of posting it and having the bidders come to you.
But here you can window shop the various services upfront along with their price tags. All you need to do is select a service provider and send in your instructions. Another advantage is that your satisfaction is guaranteed. The service provider has to complete your work in the set turnaround time.
There is a feedback system but it’s not the most robust — you can rate a freelancer simply thumbs or thumbs down. My theory is this will tend to create some “grade inflation” over time as people are wary to use the thumbs down for fear of retaliation.
The service providers are at their own liberty to put up their price tags, but within the range set by Microlancer. Like Fiverr, pricing begins at $5, but is free to increase from there depending on the service (in increments of $5). Many of the offerings are $20-500.
In theory, the $100 ebook cover you order here is likely going to be higher quality than the $5 one from Fiverr. Or at least you hope so!
Buyers don’t have to pay any extra to Microlancer, it is the service providers who pay for the platform fee, which is about 30% of the published price. (The platform fee is slightly higher when compared to 10% on the major freelance networks and 20% on Fiverr, which could lead to higher overall prices.)
You can view the profile of the service providers to get a better understanding of the individual or the team, before you pick them.
In general, this is a place for small one-time outsourced design jobs you can pick from an a la carte-style menu depending on what you need done. When I looked, I didn’t find any “virtual assistant”-specific gigs, but I imagine that could change in the future if there proves to be a demand for it.
Service providers like it because they get to set their own rate; they’re not “racing to the bottom” on price like some complain about on other freelancing sites where they have to bid and compete against others. Although even here it’s not like they’re operating in a vacuum; would-be employers can still check out their price and portfolio relative to all the other competition.
Payment is made up-front, but the funds are released to the service provider only when the buyers are satisfied with the job. In case of disputes, the experts at Microlancer will review the work and give an impartial judgment.
I have yet to test out the service myself so I can’t speak the exact nuts and bolts just yet. Have you tried Microlancer? If so, please be sure to leave a quick review of your experience below to help others with their decision.