I may be wasting my typing skills here because perhaps I should read the 44 comments before mine, but a quick scan tells me to continue, so here goes.
I used Rentacoder to find someone who could build an interactive site for me. Before I turned to Rentacoder I looked at the portfolios of some people whose sites I liked, but design is one thing and functionality is another, and I was in no position to judge whether the sites that looked good were well coded.
And the functionality I wanted was an amalgam of things I had seen on various sites but not everything on one site, and there were some things I couldn’t see on any site I looked at.
So I saw no reason not to invite bids on Rentacoder, and every reason to give it chance, and I spent time asking the bidders follow-up questions to get a feel for their responsiveness, and for how well they had read the spec.
And there is a grading system in Rentacoder that acts as some kind of guide if you take the time to look at what the graders asked the coders to do and looked at how capable the graders themselves appeared to be.
So I chose someone who it seemed knew what he was talking about and responded like he wanted to do the work.
And it took longer than expected, and there were twists and turns along the way, but he remained good humoured, and so did I - and I tested and tested and tested (I never want to be a professional tester of website breakability) and after each change, I tested again. And I set up usability tests and we tweaked some more.
And now we are just about ready to launch, and my heart is in my mouth because I don’t know 100% for double certain sure that it won’t break under the strain of every combination of everything that people can throw at the site.
But I know that the man who did the job is very capable at fixing problems, and I don’t know that I would have been any better off taking a chance on a coder I had found some other way.
That’s my perspective.