Elance is a professional community of independent workers with a huge database of freelance jobs where individuals and companies can hire other individuals or other companies. The platform is being constantly updated with new work from home opportunities. Many various types of jobs are being offered, professions like writers, translators, designer, programmers, marketing, sales and financial professionals (among many others) are in constant demand.
In order to get a job, freelancer needs to submit an application, while a job poster is the granting the job to the most suitable applicant. Elance is offering free and paid membership. Free membership has restriction in number of (monthly) job applications, also free member can apply in only one category (the one that he chose at beginning of the month). Elance is offering $10/month membership for individuals and also $20/month and $40/month membership for individuals and companies.
The community has a large base of members, mostly because it is offering a free membership which is causing a huge competition especially for those less demanding jobs. It results in low wages for those jobs. In opposite a large database of freelancers offers a large variety of special skills being offered which can be very tempting for the job posters.
In short Elance is a great choice for very skilled professionals (like Programers, Business Consultants, etc.) and also for individuals and companies seeking for quality workforce. On the other hand if you are looking for a simple online jobs like data entry or writing, I advise you to look somewhere else because wages are relatively low.