UPDATE 8/10/15 – GetACoder.com is now back online. Still no word from its administrators on why the site went down for nearly half a month. The original article follows:
Unicorn Booty has learned that the site GetACoder.com — a freelance hiring site with over 100,000 users in 234 world regions — has been down since the end of July this year; its URL currently leads to a “503 Service Unavailable” page. Users have been complaining via social media and, thus far, the site’s administrators have not responded.
This is especially troubling because GetACoder.com keeps a large amount its user’s funds in escrow: that is, when employers post a project and coders bid on it, an employer will give the agreed-upon payment amount to GetACoder.com, and the coder will receive payment through the site once the project is completed. Plenty of freelancer sites like Odesk, elance, rentacoder, and getafreelancer — follow a similar model and boast millions of contractors compared to GetACoder’s 100,000.
Nevertheless, a cached version of GetACoder.com shows 2,965 posted jobs, with one user informing Unicorn Booty that individual jobs can range in pay from $77 to $30,000 each. That means that potentially hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in escrow have gone unaccounted since the site went down.
Naturally, their users are nervous as evidenced by their tweets to @getacoder and the comments left on GetACoder’s Facebook fan page. GetACoder’s Twitter account hasn’t been updated since May 10, 2013, its Facebook page hasn’t been updated since July 27.
One alarmed user asked, “Your (sic) are not responding… are you going to run away or what?… Please respond to your users who are waiting for their clients and money.”
GetACoder’s founder and owner is Miguel Ângelo, a Portuguese entrepreneur who is also the founder and owner of Nukson.com, a site for PHP computer programmers, and Quarkson, a project that seeks to provide worldwide internet access through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles; it’s somewhat similar to Google’s Project Loon, although project Loon uses internet-enabled balloons.
In the past, Quarkson sought to crowdsource money through a Kickstarter-style donation page where people could give in denominations ranging from 20 to 10,000 Euros (roughly $22 to $10,927). The project had 39 donors, most giving about 20 Euros each. But curiously, Quarkson’s website is also offline, and their Facebook page and Twitter account haven’t been updated since June 22. Ângelo’s other site, Nukson.com is also down.
We have reached out to a few of GetACoder’s customers, as well as to GetACoder (via Twitter and Facebook), and to Ângelo himself to see if we can get an explanation. It could just be that the site is down for some technical glitch, making it difficult for its administrators with to communicate with clients. Regardless, users are nervous and no one has reported anything about the site’s whereabouts since it went down.
It’s also worth noting that GetACoder.com had a few complaints lodged against it for its cumbersome payment system. One user said that the site had a 20-day processing time for payments, and another user from Bulgarian complained on June 22, 2011 about having to hassle the company to pay him at all:
I have done several jobs as a freelancer using the GetACoder.com. There were problems right from the start. After the first project done my withdrawal request was denied. I sent verification documents, contacted support after a month or two they released my withdrawal. I thought that was all the pain. My account is now verified and I can normally work and get paid. Sounds reasonable enough, but NO. On my third project my money was hold up for 6 months without any explanations… I did not wanted to do another job on GetACoder because they already hold up my money and proved to be an Internet scam company…
I did the project. It was a small project for 80$ or so. Then I tried to withdraw my money from my account onto my VISA card. And here the pains started all over again. My withdrawal was held for a month. After a month without any notification it was cancelled. I wrote to their support, and they said I have to verify my account AGAIN. I send them pictures of my ID card and utility bills. This was not enough, they wanted them translated. Ok, I translated them. If you think this was good enough you are 100% wrong. They said that the buyer, i.e. my client, has to verify his identity as well. And they advised me to force him to send his documents to them. I asked him and he said that he is not going to work with them again so no reason to send them anything.
now I have over a 100$ in my GetACoder account and no chance to get any of them. I could live without those money for sure, BUT I want the world to know that GetACoder is an Internet SCAM company that steals people’s money. And it is best if nobody do any business with them!!!
Granted, GetACoder’s competitor oDesk (which has recently renamed itself as UpWork) has plenty of complaints on it’s Yelp page, but most of them have to do with shitty freelancers rather than bad payment systems or the site vanishing with millions of users’ dollars.
As far as we know, we are the first to break this story. If you are a GetACoder user, employer, or have anything to contribute to the story please post in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll keep you posted as this story develops.