This is Judge Judy. A classical mediator on american TV.
Past year I've worked with many kinds of mediators trying to get myself some business.
Peopleperhour, fiverr and squarespace were my main attempts. I've tried working with staff and stackexchange careers. I've completely skipped elance, freelancer and workhoppers, as I plan to explain, because they are too old school.
Old school is: you create a profile, then you can be found through it or you can seek for jobs.
Then the hiring party pays the mediator, who keeps the money to deliver on a good work done. Or not, in case there's any contest. There comes the judgment time, and it can become nasty. Just watch Judge Judy there. She's fun, though.
Staff and stackexchange try to leverage that by selecting workers through any means. It works, if you're top notch. I'm not. I'm just above average. There's also another problem with them: they're quite expensive. Maybe much more than any other mediator I bring in this post, although that's relative.
Fiverr and peopleperhour try to change that by proposing much smaller projects to be done. That way negotiation is more atomic and there's less to argue over if things go wrong. It's actually a great idea, but you still have to pay them about 20%. This is, in fact, the most expensive charge if you're working with high volumes... And you still have a huge market to compete there...
In general, the more workers join in, the worst it is for whoever is trying to join later, and the better it seems to become to the hiring part. After all, you'll have lots of people to choose from, and many will try hard to get hired by you. The more jobs you conclude, the more reviews you can get, and the higher rank you get to be found and trusted later on.
That's all a lot of work beyond what you, as a worker, would expect to do. You're not looking for bureaucratic work, you just want to do the stuff you're good at. And this is a lot more than just marketing or negotiating. A lot more.
Anyway, I've had many bad experiences with mediators such as these before. Just like lawyers, they don't care for the small fishes. And they can and will be exploited in any case.
So, I really like the anarchist way, I think it simplifies everything. Half payment upfront, half payment on delivery. Both parties take risks, you just assume whatever you do, and deal with it. Have your reserves and backup plans, do not rely on a single job if you have no backup.
Much simpler. Either do your homework and research on who you're dealing with or just take responsibility for not doing so.
That being said, after trying so many mediators the only one that worked a bit for me so far was squarespace. Granted, it is still due to luck, that always applies. But I also think in most part, it works because it's so chaotic. There's a listing, there's a niche, they charge nothing for it (they're not really mediating anything) and you just do business straight with each other.
All this reminds me of Kevin Spacey on K-pax. He talks about a govern less society, where everyone takes responsibility for their own acts.
I guess I am an anarchist, but I'm not even sure what that means.
But, in the end, I still mediate and will continue to do so until I'm more sure on what to think about all this!