/ Marketplace

Are Fees Justified on a Service Marketplace?

If you can consult/freelance and sell your services (or products) on a decentralized platform and pay zero transaction fees, why would you pay a fee on a platform like DREAM?

The answer is simple: DREAM’s marketing strategy will help you get more clients and run successful projects. Read on to find out how!

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Centralized and Decentralized Marketplaces

DREAM is a centralized marketplace, similar to Amazon, AirBnB, UpWork, Fiverr, and Etsy.

  1. Customers are bound by the marketplace’s terms and conditions

  2. Data is centralized on information systems owned and maintained by the business

  3. Software is closed source and the intellectual property of the business

  4. The marketplace charges fees on completed transactions, ranging from 10% to 20% on top of currency clearing fees (e.g. USD to EUR)

In the crypto community there are decentralized marketplaces, like OpenBazzar, Rein, and Ethlance:

  1. Customers are not bound by any terms and conditions

  2. Data is decentralized on information systems and servers owned and maintained by the community and participants of the network

  3. Software is normally open source and the code is publicly available

  4. The marketplace charges fees on completed transactions, normally ranging from 0% to 5% and uses crypto currencies (fees are usually for third-party arbitration, not revenue of the marketplace)

One significant difference with DREAM (with reference to point 4) is that we only support cryptocurrencies (currently Bitcoin) rather than fiat currencies.

Benefits of a Centralized Platform

There are number of advantages that centralized marketplaces provide for both clients and freelancers, which decentralized models currently don’t have.

Customer Support

Providing customer support offers many benefits:

  • Technical Support — If something doesn’t work, we take ownership and deal with it straight

  • Customer Support — Need help using our site, resourcing a project, freelancing? We’re here to help

  • Dispute Resolution — Occasionally things don’t work out; we can help resolve problems between clients and freelancers

Quality

To ensure that clients save time and only get matched to the best freelancers, DREAM has implemented quality control processes:

  • Freelancer Approvals — All freelancer profiles and applications are manually reviewed and approved before being listed or able to work with clients

  • Content Monitoring — We automatically check 5,000+ words and combinations for restricted or offensive content

  • Job Monitoring for freelancers — A freelancer must be approved before they can submit proposals or get invited to jobs

  • Job Monitoring for clients — To prevent spam or offensive content, job postings are monitored

Software & Infrastructure

Issues in a decentralized application that require code changes may require consensus on the network. When the network is big, reaching a consensus can become harder, as demonstrated by the Bitcoin block size debate. Decentralized peer-to-peer networks are also vulnerable to Sybil Attacks.

Any serious issues detected with DREAM are usually detected by Rollbar or from customer feedback, and fixes are deployed quickly.

DREAM aims to be transparent and open, for example, we have shared our Payment System Architecture on our blog.

Searchability, Shareability, and SEO

Being indexed by search engines and social media platforms makes all content on our site more accessible. We’ve spent a lot of time ensuring every page in our site (profiles, jobs, blogs, gigs) are SEO optimized:

  • Schema.org — When Google indexes our site, it makes sense to them

  • Facebook OpenGraph — When any content from DREAM is shared on Facebook it makes sense (technically), for example (link requires Facebook developer account)

  • Twitter — When any content is shared on Twitter, it makes sense

We have seen profiles on DREAM rank higher than the owner’s website (when we launched with no backlinks), due to our investment in SEO.

Advertising and Marketing Channels

While many of the channels in the diagram below can be used to drive clients to a decentralized marketplace’s website, it is not possible to link directly to profiles, stores, or product pages (gigs). We have some advantages:

  • Search Engines — A client searches Google and sees gigs, freelancers profiles, or Talent Pools in the results

  • Social Media — Gigs, freelancers’ profiles, or talent pools are visible and shared on social media

These channels apply to every page on our site. For example, we could do a press release linking directly to one gig deep in our site.

Analytics & Tools

Improving the usability of our website is essential for a good user experience, and to acquire and retain customers. To understand how customers use our site, and to learn what works and what doesn’t, we use tools such as:

  • Google Analytics — Detailed analytics

  • MixPanel — Funnels, detailed analytics, and customer

  • HotJar — Site usage and funnels

  • LiveChat — Chat and customer retention

  • AddThis — Social sharing and analytics

  • Google Webmaster Tools — Organic searches and SEO

  • Facebook Pixel — Track campaigns

  • RollBar — Application error reporting

Without these tools we wouldn’t know how customers use our site, and we wouldn’t be able to communicate with them. All the systems are integrated, and our entire team uses them every day to improve our (and if you’re a freelancer, your) clients’ experience. Most of the following tools (that assist in growth) require a centralized (standard/normal) web architecture:

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Photo Credit: Smart Insights

Longevity

Ultimately, a decentralized platform must support the developers and infrastructure, but costs can increase as demonstrated recently by the mining fees for Bitcoin transactions.

Of course, this is also a risk with a centralized model, as the marketplace could always change the fee structure.

Where does our 10% fee go?

First there’s the operational, staffing, and support costs:

  • Quality controls — monitoring all freelancer profiles, jobs, proposals for quality

  • Hosting, servers, and protection

  • Tools and analytics systems (SaaS)

  • Software development and support

  • Infrastructure maintenance and support

  • Customer service and support

  • Marketing and advertising

  • Content creation

Then, we are continuously investing in improving our site, adding new features and working on new products such as mobile apps.

Decentralized marketplace OpenBazaar requires your PC to be on all the time (to host your store), otherwise there are hosting fees involved, e.g. Agorist Hosting charges $25 per month.

Conclusion

To summarize the benefits of DREAM’s centralized model:

  • Customer Support — We will always provide technical support and resolve disputes

  • Quality — Freelancers are vetted and content is monitored to ensure that clients only work with the best. We also want to attract the best freelancers and consultants.

  • Searchability, Shareability, and SEO — Leveraging established channels (like Internet search) ensure freelancers and gigs get more impressions and clients.

  • Advertising and Marketing Channels — We can leverage dozens of existing channels

  • Analytics & Tools — There are many more tools, systems and services to support the growth of a site with a centralized model.

DREAM is significantly cheaper than our competitors, e.g. UpWork charges 20% + PayPal/bank fees; we charge 10%. Our user experience is simple compared to decentralized marketplaces that require hosted applications.

We believe that the customer base is much larger, and it is therefore easier to achieve growth, benefiting all users of our platform.

The team behind DREAM has a goal of building a simple, scalable, successful, and trustworthy marketplace. We believe in Bitcoin and that blockchain technology will change the world, and we want to contribute to that. We also believe that the future is bright for decentralized marketplaces.

If you’d like help defining the marketing strategy for your blockchain startup or project, post a job or chat with us. Many of the experts who helped build and launch DREAM are available for hire!


The DREAM platform isn’t just another untested beta program on a white paper… It’s live and being used right now to hire blockchain professionals. The token sale will enable DREAM’s innovative team to take DREAM to the next level by integrating A.I. and incorporating our platform token.

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Are Fees Justified on a Service Marketplace?
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