Dan Appleman and Jeff Atwood both wrote a blog “Can You Really Rent a Coder?” about coding auctions such as Elance, RentACoder and guru.com, which make coders bid on projects worldwide. Typically a lot of small, low-paid projects appear there and those sites have had their share of bad comments.
But they can work, just follow these rules:
– if you live in a rich country, be a buyer, not a bidder;
– subcontract parts of your projects, tell your customer, and tell them you can charge less because of this: they’ll appreciate you for it;
– subcontract technical parts only: a Russian will understand HTTP or XML, but not Dutch law;
– expect to spend a lot of time on specs and communication;
– use a few iterations to polish out parts where your specs were unclear or misinterpreted;
– test a lot and inspect the source code;
– never go for the lower bids: they’re always crap;
– build a longer relationship with coders you have good experience with, give them bonuses and follow-up projects.