I posted some time back about a freelance aggregation site called Scriptlance. I just stumbled across another reference, in a blog I read called "Cool Tools." The post in question talks about an aggregation service called Elance. They've apparently brokered $60M in contracted freelance jobs in the last year, with a very small dispute ratio. According to Kool Tools author Kevin Kelly:
Elance's escrow service holds the payment and protects both the work provider and you the employer. The site provides status updates on work done, and plenty of communication between the parties. Workers must pass a competency test to qualify to be listed. Some freelancers can also pass expertise tests in a mild form of certification, say for working on java or ajax, etc. Elance freelancers did about $60 million of work last year and less than 1% of the jobs had any kind of dispute, and most of those were self-resolved by the fact that the entire transaction correspondence is logged. (quoted from Cool Tools.)
I really like this business model. I'm on the verge of bidding out a logo design, and a web site redesign, and I'm going to try Elance. More news on this project and business model as I get it.