The online service marketplace oDesk (previous oDesk coverage) has just added the capability for buyers to spec fixed-price jobs. Previously, all oDesk contracts were hourly. This move puts oDesk up against gig marketplaces like eLance and RentACoder, which are also based on fixed-price bids.
"The problem with the fixed price market is that it's not sticky," oDesk CEO Gary Swart told me. Many business relationships that start with one-price jobs evolve into working relationships where the pay is based on the time put in. Swart maintains that competing marketplaces don't foster (or let you manage) that changing relationship; and likewise, until now, oDesk wasn't able to kick off relationships that were best started as single gigs.
oDesk's toolkit, which includes the capability for service providers to "clock in," and for service buyers to monitor their work, is optional on fixed-price contracts.
The company will be presenting at the Web 2.0 Expo (which Webware is a media sponsor of), and also making a financial progress announcement.