sorry for not wiping my feet before coming in to this thread
Back on topic, here’s how I see freelance sites. They are businesses that specialize in contract and temp work. Since a business only works if it makes money, it has to be making a profit somewhere. It has to be enough of a profit to run and grow the business, so they have to take a considerable chunk out of the money being exchanged. Money, which could have transferred without their help at all. So what is the value that is provided for that cost? What are we getting?
The developer gets the assurance that they will be paid for milestones as they are completed, so they get a greater sense of stability. Then again, because of the fierce competition on those sites, the developer will likely need to charge less money than they would like to. That cancels out stability if you ask me. As far as other perks go, all I can think of is that the developer can concentrate on one website, rather than applying to jobs on several sites. This can be useful for something like web development, or application development, but not plugin/extension development. If an application is big enough and popular enough to have an active enough development community to justify usage of a freelance site, it probably already has a community/marketplace where you can find work. So that’s another perk that gets cancelled out. I can’t think of any other benefit for the developer.
The client gets assurance that work will be received before payment is made, so that’s a perk. The fierce competition and concentrated developer subscription base makes finding a developer easier and cheaper. I don’t really see any downsides for the client at all.
When I tally up who benefits more from going through a middleman site, it’s the client by a landslide. So that means that cut the site takes is paying for a service that will supposedly attract clients, because it offers things for the client with few drawbacks. Is that worth the cut the site takes out of the job? Not for plugin/extension development, not in my opinion.