When 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!