Every Elance contractor knows how important it is to have available connects. Simply put, connects will determine if you are eligible to submit a proposal for a project under the category you are subscribed to. No connects means you either:
- wait for a client to invite you before you can submit a proposal
- buy extra connects
- upgrade your account to have more monthly allocations.
Now you see the big picture of how important connects are. As a tiered membership site with limited monthly connects allotted for each level, every connect matters. You can't afford submitting a proposal for a project which you think you are not a good fit, else, you'll waste those connects. Every project has its required connects . For example, for the job post “Software writer needed for website” with a budget of $500-$1000 you need to have at least 2 connects. If you wanted to have your proposal on top of the list, you'll have to shed another 2 connects, for a total of 4 connects in this project alone. Previously, Elance offers Basic membership of up to 15 connects per month, Individual has up to 30, small company has up to 40 and big company has up to 60 connects. Considering the example above, as a Basic member you can only have about 7 proposals for projects within this budget range within a 30 day period. But all that changed last January 29th. Elance started rolling out the new scheme that increased the allotted connects. See the chart below. (Source: Elance blog)
The news have been generally well received. But there have also come up some areas for discussion. Here are two opinions I found about this issue: The above comment reflects my own personal sentiment about projects getting closed for reasons other than the job being awarded. For example, I have a reported a project for violating budget allocations and Elance acted on it by closing the said project. So the question is if an Elance contractor submitted a proposal to this project will the connect be reverted to his account? On the other hand, Deyan1 also expressed some concern in his comment that giving away too many connects for Basic members will drive more competition resulting in lower bids. There are merits to his opinion but I'm taking this step from Elance with a different perspective. Some benefits that I see resulting from this move include:
- No need to purchase extra connects
- More opportunity to submit proposals for those who doesn't have the initial fund to have a paid membership.
- Opens a more level playing field.
Competition will always be there. Paid membership may reduce the players in the field but it's still there. Elance gave both the newbies and the seasoned Elancers more opportunities with these increased connects. How you use it will depend not on other people, but on you.