- like similar sites such as TaskRabbit, Fiverr and Upwork - is a platform that connects freelancers with outsourced pieces of work. On the surface, this may be unremarkable - just another symptom of the burgeoning gig economy and our shifting attitudes towards work. But a closer look reveals something far more incisive about the regulation of work, globalisation and capitalism.
"We connect almost 29 million people around the world, who have an idea and want to get someone to help them turn that dream into reality, whether it's design for your website or a logo, design a product, or do some research. Really, any job you can think of," says Matt Barrie, CEO of
According to Barrie, more than 14 million jobs have been posted since the website's inception. These jobs range from manual labour to computer programming, posted by DIY-challenged homeowners up to - wait for it - NASA. Yes, really. This begs the question, why would a globally esteemed space agency turn to an freelancing platform for workers?
"The old way of doing things for a government organisation like NASA would be to write a full, typed job description or a contract job description of say six or twelve months, offer several hundred thousand dollars for that job, post it internally within the organisation, then post it externally for people to apply... and it's a very slow and expensive and time-consuming process," says Barrie. 
"With Freelancer, they went on, they put it on the system, they put a contest for a handrail for $50. They posted the contest, and in 24 hours, they had 47 intrigues, and then ultimately, had seen 100 intrigues. And literally within 24 hours, they had very, very high quality 3D models of this handrail. And it's unbeatable in terms of how easy it was to do - the quality is great and the cost is very low."
While this approach may have provided an opportunity for someone who wouldn't generally be able to compete for a job with NASA, this boon for democracy is offset by a number of other factors. Because for many it would be appear that NASA was simply attempting to save money by dodging official channels - and the corporate responsibility ingrained in them - and instead tossing $50 to the first taker on the internet.