Fiverr.com – a review

Five dollar bills - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / vaximilianWhen I first read about Fiverr.com I was very sceptical.

Just in case you haven’t heard of the concept: people offer their services for $5.  That’s right, there is just one price tag available, and it’s up to those offering to make their offer workable for that price.  Since the service itself takes $1, the people doing the work actually only get $4.

So what can you expect for $4?  “Anything” might be the answer, if you just take a look through the things being offered.  My real question is “What sort of quality can you expect?”

After all, I charge €50 per hour for my services, that’s around $65 (including German VAT), so how long would anyone spend on a project for just $4?

I saw offers like “I will solve any WordPress problem for $5” or “I will solve any computer problem for $5”.  Really?  Any problem?

Then there were things like “I will create an e-book cover for $5”.  That sounds more likely, using the right tools.  But even then, does the price include the cost of any stock graphics?  Who owns the copyright to the cover?  Can you use it anyway you want to?

And then there are the offers, that are probably the easiest to complete.  “I will recommend your page to all my Facebook friends” or “I will take a photo of myself holding your logo”.  These I could believe would be done quickly, since not so much work is involved.

I decided to find out for myself, and invested $5 to book someone.  I selected a pretty simple job along the lines of “I will comment on your blog”.  Not something I actually recommend booking, but I guessed I could delete the comments after the experiment.  After about a week I had my money back as they had not even replied to my messages.  So I tried a second person, after a couple of days the job expired and again there was no reply, and the $5 was returned to my Fiverr account.

Since Fiverr were not returning the $5 to my PayPal account, I decided to continue until someone actually completed the work.  And the third person did it within a few hours!

I loaded up another $5 and continued my experiment.  Of the next two bookings, one was OK, but the other was cancelled by Fiverr itself and the seller’s account removed!

So to sum up my experience so far: I have book 5 “Gigs”, of which 2 did not deliver, 1 person appears to have been banned, and only 2 delivered the goods.  I still don’t know who is liable if I have a graphic designed and it turns out to contain copyrighted material, or if I have a post written and it turns out to be plagurised.

My advice is to be very careful and only to outsource something using Fiverr if you can live with the results.  If you let someone write a text for you, search for the text when it arrives to make sure it really is original.  If you want an e-book cover designed, supply the stock graphics yourself to make sure you own the license.

I don’t see how the “I will solve any problem” type of gigs can work at that price, but I can see a use for “I will ask my friends to Like your Facebook page” to get the minimum 25 Likes quickly to reserve a new name.

I shall continue to try out some of the smaller Gigs when I launch my next e-book, eg. distributing flyers on a university campus, or sponsoring a podcast.  I have even registered myself as a seller to offer small Gigs myself.

I just won’t be booking too many at any one time, in order to minimize my financial risk, and I am still very sceptical!

About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a blogger from Germany. He has written code for WordPress themes since 2006 and been creating websites since 1994.
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  • I read an article just this morning about the inherent dangers of using crowdsourcing for graphic design. Might be worth a read to get a little more insight on the pitfalls in terms of stock images and the like….

    http://www.thelogofactory.com/logo_blog/index.php/guy-kawasaki-enchanted-book-cover-design-contest/

    • Thanks for the link! I use stock photos myself, but I at least buy a license and know that it’s not an exclusive one. The trouble is that people have a cover designed, and don’t even know if the photo is a stock one.

      • Not sure how fivr works, but I know that some site require that the designer state whether the images used have license fees associated with them. Hopefully fivr is following that model.

        • Not at all as far as I can see. They don’t even like people exchanging real names, so you may not even know what your designer is called!

  • I read an article this morning about the pitfalls of using crowdsourcing for graphic work. It outlines some possible limitations and drawbacks to getting work this way…

    http://www.thelogofactory.com/logo_blog/index.php/guy-kawasaki-enchanted-book-cover-design-contest/

  • What an interesting idea, but it seems not to be working that well in reality. I wonder if the price point is too low? Although 25er isn’t as catchy a name it might make it worth people’s while to offer some good services.

  • I think one of the problems is that people are just not realistic about what to offer for $5, and others expect too much for too little.

    $25 (or €25) would give much more scope for larger projects, and perhaps create more quality. I’m sure there are some good names out there.

  • Creativethinker45

    Unfortunately Fiverr appears to be run by teenagers, hence why many customer service emails are not answered or why their responses to you seem rather juvenile. Also, what they are doing to sellers is illegal as needs to be reported to authorities. If a seller has monies they earned in their accounts Fiverr needs to pay them if they want to close their profile. I sold writing gigs and out of the blue, without reason, they froze my account – couldn’t send/reply to emails either. They didn’t respond why they did it but it seems as though (from talking to others and researching it online) they close specific accounts and keep your funds too. If these truly are teens running it they need to know this is illegal, and they need to pay the sellers. Someone needs to look into this – like authorities.

    • The trouble is, that I’ve heard of similar problems with closed accounts from much bigger services, and they didn’t get looked into either AFAIK.

      But I suspect that there are a lot more issues with Fiverr to be resolved, like image copyright and VAT.