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Outsourcing Service Review Criteria
Pre-2014

The following explains the criteria we use to review online outsourcing services and we strongly recommend that you use the same. Helpful insight into how these services may affect what you want to do can be obtained through our outsourcing articles library.

1. Contact

In our opinion, outsourcing services that make expected contact information available to the public are more serious than those that don't. We don't believe a sole email address or phone number is enough, and we certainly don't believe a contact form is sufficient.

Services that provide support email addresses and a physical address and a phone number are the services we label serious. To us, these items indicate a degree of transparency that's expected from any valid and trustworthy business.

So look for:
        * support email address
        * a physical address
        * a phone number

2. Fees & Payment

A money back guarantee is the biggest priority here, however, a sensible fee system and payment method is important too. So we place the strongest emphasis on the money-back guarantee when available, and then award values to services that demonstrate a means of earning a profit.

We award half a value to services which (1) disregard fees from both outsourcers and providers, or (2) charge fees that are so outside the norm, it would be impossible for its users to profit. In addition, we award half a value to services that offer a minimal number of payment methods (such as PayPal only, for example) as opposed to several payment methods (like PayPal, credit cards, check, Western Union, etc.).

So look for:
        * expected fees
        * expected payment methods
        * a money back guarantee

3. Security

An awful lot of credit card numbers fly through online outsourcing services every day, making security a number one concern. Criteria for this section, therefore, centers on items that not only encourage a feeling of security among consumers, but also foster financial exchange as well.

So look for a service that:
        * works through a secured server
        * is in the Better Business Bureau directory
        * has a Norton safe site

4. Disclosure

No online outsourcing service (or any online service, for that matter) is ever obligated to make content public. However, like with disclosing full contact information, making a Terms of Service page or Privacy Policy page available to the public displays a quality of transparency that reads as honesty.

So look for:
        * a FAQ
        * a terms of service policy
        * a privacy policy
        * these documents freely available to the public

5. Buzz

A successful online outsourcing service will generate a lot of buzz internally and externally. The following criteria, therefore, takes into account whether a service facilitates internal buzz via ratings and feedback, and whether that buzz leaks offsite in the form of back links. Internal ratings and feedback may not seem like appropriate buzz criteria, but when a service is abundant with highly rated contractors, word gets out as recommendations (i.e. links).

It's important to note that a high buzz mark isn't always indicative of a great service. Some people will recommend a service as something to avoid!

So look for:
        * a ratings and feedback system
        * a high number of back links

6. Support

Accessing help is extremely important -- especially to new online outsourcers. We hold outsourcing services that provide assistance in high regard.

So look for:
        * phone support
        * email support
        * an extensive, onsite help section

7. Presence

Serious outsourcing services make earnest efforts to promote themselves. It simply shows they care about what they do, which is a beneficial characteristic anyway you look at it. That's why, here, you'll find criteria that indicates (1) the lengths in which a service will go to in an effort to inform the public about what it does, and (2) how well those efforts attract and keep business.

So look for:
        * a high Alexa rating (indicating a busy website)
        * a high number of contractors (indicating high usage)
        * a company presence on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (the number of followers, friends, and connections may play a role)
        * a mention in Wikipedia (bonus for having an exclusive section)
        * at least one significant press release