Freelancer.com, one of the largest services connecting freelance workers and the small businesses who need contractors, has bought an indirect competitor: Freemarket. The smaller company operates an online content marketplace, which Feelancer.com is re-launching under its own brand.
The acquisition should further expand Freelancer.com’s audience, comprised of mostly remote workers in 234 countries and regions around the world and about 1.7 million small to medium-size businesses looking to hire people for web design, writing, data entry, sales and software jobs for less than $200.
Freemarket’s online marketplace feature could turn Freelancer.com into a broader hub of content. Instead of just connecting contractors with jobs, the site will now let them post content they have already created, including designs, videos, stock photos, sound clips, website templates, graphics, WordPress themes and other virtual goods — ready and waiting for paid downloads. At the time of the deal, Freemarket was in a private beta but still had more than 5,000 of these types of items posted.
“Freemarket.com essentially doubles the options a small business person has for getting things done online,” Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie said in a statement. “For example, a small business might choose to purchase a website template from Freemarket.com and have it customized by a freelancer from Freelancer.com.”
Customers interested in downloading content posted by freelancers on Freemarket can still access it on Freemarket.com — which redirects to Freelancer.com/marketplace. Freelancer.com is now open for public uploads.
The deal is a good example of tangentially-related companies trying to get a piece of the growing virtual-goods pie, which could reach $6 billion globally by 2013. This trend is likely to pick up over the next year.
Based in Syndey, Australia, Freelancer.com used to be called GetAFreelancer, and has reportedly only raised $800,000 in seed funding since its founding in 2004.