- I think you're coming from a North American perspective
- OP is not from North America.
- I have received a few emails to my post above I've encouraged them to build a history and not worry about what they lose. Long term clients understand value and they do exist on oDesk.
- Increasingly on oDesk, for software development, there is more and more of an appetite to pay. I certainly am open to it.
Regarding the North American race to the bottom: The race to the bottom is happening in every industry. There's a book called "A Whole new mind" that might interest you.
There are lots of North American developers charging NA rates for those who are inclined. I have hired and found some great folks from there.
Anyone who has been hiring long enough knows that paying a few dollars gets you what you pay for... work that no other developer can work in, and takes longer and longer (and more money).
I want to do remote work, but going through these sites makes me grateful that I'm actually part of a company that pays me a salary.
I've always found the quality and cost of eLance and oDesk to be higher. Now that they've merged, I think there is something there, the development talent in Eastern Europe is excellent.