Mario Peshev knows a lot about the long tail of the WordPress “community”. He notes that they really aren't part of a community at all. Highlighting the thousands upon thousands that offer WordPress services on freelance websites like oDesk, he has some concern over what your average person seeking WordPress service help actually ends up getting.
In two posts, Mario talks about the issue. On Medium (a platform he's experimenting blogging on), he gives a broad outline of what the WordPress ecosystem looks like. Then on his personal blog he discusses those in the WordPress service world that are offering their services for way too cheap.
Honestly, both posts are a bit depressing. From his personal blog:
Go on oDesk, Elance, Freelancer.com, Guru and the other large freelance networks.
Quick example. There are 201,819 freelancers with WordPress skills on oDesk right now. 88,690 of them are within the $3-$10 hourly rate, and another 80,845 are in the $10-$20 per hour rate.
Extrapolate it to all of the other networks and see what happens. Look for “WordPress developers” on Google as well – tens of thousands of small agencies and freelancers offering their services.
Now, don’t get me wrong on the pricing factor. Even though the work is all the same, the costs in India or Pakistan are a tenth of the costs in San Francisco or New York. But even so, conduct a few interviews with them and let’s not compare costs, but actual value, experience, and background.
I’ve interviewed more than a thousand people on oDesk and Elance since 2010. Most of them were WordPress “experts”. And I’ve successfully worked with about 5 of those WordPress “experts”. You can’t imagine what percentage of them edit the WordPress Core to fix a website, and I’ll just stop there since the list is long, very long.
I guess this is just a thing we have to battle.
I don't really think these freelance marketplaces are preventing plenty of talented folks from getting good-paying WordPress projects. But at the same time these “experts” could be really damaging many people's first-time experiences seeking WordPress professionals, assuming they end up getting burned by those they hire.