Fiverr Forum

💸 A personal view of Fiverr business model change


#1

Welcome to this thread.

Please note that I am not an employee of Fiverr, nor I have any relation to the company but to be a user (seller) for almost two years in this platform. What comes below is just my personal opinion, and I may be wrong (probably) or right, but that does not matter. I just want to write it just to provide some feedback to Fiverr.

If you are here, you may know already about the change Fiverr introduced in the way we see Sellers ratings. Now, only the last 60 days ratings are shown in the Gig ad. In desktop, if you hover over ratings in Gig window using your mouse, a small window pops up and show the lifetime ratings and the last 60 days totals. But if you don’t do it, you don’t see the lifetime ratings for the Gig.

In mobiles are worse, as there is no cursor to hover over the ratings, hence there is no lifetime ratings information if you don’t enter the Gig and look for that information specifically (which, by the way, is a bit hidden).

But this “small” change implies too much for Fiverr business model. In fact, this strikes at the heart of the Fiverr concept, and I will show you in this article why, and how this can lead to a total change in the business model.

We all know it, online freelance marketplaces heavily rely in building a trustful environment. If you have to spend you hard earned bucks in a digital place, you want it secure, and you want the best experience possible. There are mainly two options here:

  • Use a review/rating system to build authority and confidence.
  • Use brand building methodologies (make people trust Fiverr brand).

Fiverr is going from A to B. They are changing the user rating based model to get into a brand name based model. But… this can completely destroy the business in the process.

This is a very delicate time. I think no one has done this before.

WHY THE CHANGE

I do not have the numbers with me, nor I can access the data. But I think the brand suffer from a bad user perception of being cheap and without quality. The marketing campaigns made in the past did not help, in fact, made this worse. So, the idea of Pro was introduced to counteract this vision, and build up a quality feeling for the marketplace.

THE CHANGE IMPLEMENTATION

The first step was obvious: introduce the Pro seller to the marketplace, and populate it. However, this movement had a very painful side effect. Now, the regular sellers are “not” Pro, so buyers overall quality perception decreased more. The first step was a setback.

The Pro stats were also disappointing in some cases, with low ratings and feedback. It is not rare to see Pro Gigs with 4-5 reviews and less than 4 star rating average. Buyers expectations were too high for the actual delivery. The reason is easy: there are no real difference between the regular/veteran sellers and Pro sellers. In fact, some Pro sellers are “just regular” sellers rebranded, but with a different approach, mostly in price range. Now it is Fiverr who warrant the results, rather than other users (the “handpicked 1%”). The B model approach.

So, we have a problem here. Next action? Well, let’s make a monthly evaluation, a hard one, so we can achieve two main goals: increasing buyer satisfaction using seller fear of being demoted, and lowering the overall ratings (level tier/average rating). Pro sellers are immune to this (of course, B model).

And now, here comes the “big beast”, the worst idea behind the process: let’s make all marketplace even. How to achieve that? Easy, let’s make it remember only the last 2 months for regular sellers, but not for Pro.

THE DISASTER

The idea, though it follows the main goal of making Fiverr a Pro brand, can totally destroy the business model. Let’s check how it looks now:

This is the page I get when I enter in Photoshop Editing. We see here the changes in action. The facts:

  • We see 2 Top Rated Sellers, but their reviews are 44 of 62, instead of 177 and 240. Lowered numbers, but also, the 62(240) has a rating of 4.9 overall in the last 60 days, but Gig lifetime rating is 5 stars. So, both TRS have their stats downgraded from lifetime stats to this last 60 days stats.
  • There is one level 1 seller with 30 ratings, but he/she has 151 in lifetime. Again, downgraded. Also, this is not a “real” level 1 seller. Downgraded also in level due to monthly evaluations.
  • Then we see 7 new sellers, 3 below 30 ratings, 4 without ratings but “Rising Talent” label.
  • And finally, 2 Pro sellers with a noticeable price difference, without ratings, but with an “interesting” buy & review label (B model again, this is not a label earned but gifted).

Of 12 Gigs, 75% are just new sellers/new gigs (PROs don’t have any sell also) when you get into the main Photoshop Editing section if you don’t select any filter. Also, veterans are downgraded so they appear closer to the unrated Pros and new sellers. The gap is less noticeable.

Why all of this?

THE TERRIBLE TRUTH

With the last movement, a painful side effect has struck the marketplace. It’s easy to spot: now Fiverr looks like a Fiverr clone. At first glance, now this platform looks like a new website. Sellers have lost their seniority, the ratings are so low it looks like there is almost no traffic here. If we look the Photoshop Editing front page, the reviews are all under one hundred. Only some sellers have enough orders per month to go over 100 ratings, and all are teams or fast gigs. The regular freelancer will be around 10-60.

The fact is this a major loss for everyone: buyer perception is now awful. “This is a new marketplace or what? Sellers have few ratings or not even one in front page.”

Basically, Fiverr is now 2 months old.

MY PERSONAL OPINION

I understand why the Pro movement and why Fiverr wants to create a professional look. I even support the idea. BUT, the implementation is really unfortunate.

The loses of this process are just too high:

  • Veteran sellers feel now betrayed and they have lost all their confidence in the platform, and already looking for alternatives. Loosing veterans is loosing Fiverr business.
  • New sellers, though they may think it is a nice scenario for them, it’s not, as their hard earned stars will “disappear” after 60 days, and with no returning buyers to support their ratings, they will work hard for nothing. In fact, new sellers are the ones that will suffer more from this.
  • Pro sellers may think this is the best scenario for them, but this is not. A platform without seniority is a dead platform. Pro can’t live without regular sellers because Fiverr brand is not strong enough to support them alone.
  • Fiverr is risking their base players, and that will hit hard in their income and business trust. The brand name will be destroyed after that, and the Pro effect just don’t work.

Let’s face it: the B model is not for Fiverr, or, at least, is almost impossible to achieve using the Pro idea. You may be burning the ships to get something which value is uncertain.

Every hour this change is live, every hour we are loosing customers. ALL OF US.

THE PETITION

Though I support Fiverr team and the idea behind this, the implementation is absolutely business killer. I will survive this, and some veterans perhaps, but when I get no new customers here due to the terrible changes, and the orders of returning buyers decrease slowly, this platform will be dead for me. And all the effort made along these 2 years will be for nothing, only for a handful of bucks.

This is discouraging, and this is my petition:

  • Revert the unfortunate changes, specially the 60-day ratings.
  • Give all the sellers the opportunity to become PRO fulfilling public and clear requirements (like another tier in fact, something between Level 2 and TRS with special conditions).
  • Improve the search engine to reflect authority of Gigs.
  • Improve the reputation rewards and create a strong approval system for the ones that want to become a seller here or publish a gig. That WILL improve overall quality better than other measures. It is discouraging to see a 9 yo child selling Minecraft configurations, against the TOS due to his age, and still his gig got approved. A well known forum made fun with that, decreasing Fiverr brand name perception (again).
  • Use Fiverr as a freelance marketplace, not for “other” unknown purposes. Thank you. <–
  • Fight the chargebacks and force Paypal to be reasonable (no more 3 months CB or orders cancellations). I bet you have strong executives that can negotiate it efficiently.

Some of you may think that Fiverr rules as they want, neoliberalism told us that. But I think not. Every time I put my heart, effort, soul and hopes here, I own a piece of Fiverr. By now, a lot of us are in fact part of this company, and we may not be legal employees, but we are part of it.

I hope you listen to us.

Thank you.

Juan
Spanish Works Content & Translation Manager

PS: I may edit to fix typos and grammar, as I wrote this quite fast as I am overbooked. Sorry about that.

Mod Note (Openly by fonthaunt): I know some folks are interested in this thread, both lurkers and posters. I just want to remind everyone to self-moderate, post within the guidelines, avoid personal attacks and don’t give mods or staff a reason to edit/remove stuff.


:drum: Gigs will now show review count from past 60 days
Secret behind 60 days review system
New ratings change?
:ok_man: New Review System - Why?
I no longer feel motivated to work on the site
Anyone else *like* the fact that it shows # reviews for the past 60 days?
#2

amazing explanation :heart_eyes:


#3

Did you by any chance see the reply to another topic where I said this exact same thing 2-days ago? (Don’t worry if you did.)

Indeed, you are spot on with your assessment of the current state of affairs. All that I would add is that even if any of the changes implemented over the past 6-months were to prove advantageous to Fiverr, Fiverr won’t ever know it. Too much has been changed at once and too soon after other changes. This makes measuring the pros and cons of specific new features impossible.

Fiverr does now look like a Fiverr clone. Worse, I was recently made aware of a new Fiverr clone which processes all transactions in cryptocurrency. I personally don’t think that this new site will take off but only for 2 reasons. (Though reasons which very well might be remedied if that platform engages in dialog with real freelancers.)

My point is that Fiverr may not want to acknowledge flaws in its current thinking but eventually, competitors will and they WILL attempt to exploit these.

I also think it is important to note that there are already Pro freelance marketplaces online which offer a far superior standard of service compared to Fiverr Pro. In-house editorial teams check work before it is delivered to clients. Pro sellers are tested for their competency. Most importantly of all, Pro services don’t start at a $100 price benchmark. - In short, Fiverr may not want to appreciate this but buyers Fiverr is hoping to attract to Pro are already aware of other (arguably better) options on the market.

I did feel threatened by Fiverr Pro when Pro was announced last year. However, this feeling quickly passed as I realized that Fiverr Pro catered for an entirely different clientele. Now everything has come full circle but not because of the success of Pro. Instead, it seems that Fiverr is now prepared to stop at nothing to keep Pro alive by purposefully undermining everyone else.

The biggest problem with all of this craziness? Fiverr now feels like a clone for buyers from a usability standpoint. No one spends money when finding a good seller becomes tantamount to guesswork. Then there are the hidden fees, the RIP shopping cart, the promotion of Pro sellers over everyone else despite comparatively poor reviews…

If you didn’t see my own post pointing out how Fiverr looks like a clone, this is pretty damning for Fiverr. It means that other buyers and sellers will quickly start coming to the same conclusion and possibly start acting on this.

It’s a huge shame. A few years ago working hard got you far on Fiverr. Now working hard on Fiverr is just outright detrimental for overall freelance careers.

Good post. Also, you have a very interesting gig niche. Loath though I am to say it, you should try and save yourself from this madness by applying to become a Pro seller yourself. :wink:


#4

I did not read your Fiverr clone post, but I will look for it. Feels nice, I am not the only one that thinks that.

Regarding becoming PRO: it does not matter. Fiverr will survive only if we are all united as a team. Some will work with the PRO label in their gigs, others as TRS, others (like me now) as veteran regular sellers, others new sellers… we all fulfill our role for the different customers that comes here. PRO are more like what I do outside this platform, though my prices here are over the average in my niche, and I usually get medium size projects. PRO also mean now less customer base, it is challenging.


#5

This is both sad and true. I even consider if this should be the case with all the hardships we are getting. While I always try to keep a positive spirit and vision, it feels more and more that we aren’t valued as sellers. Looking for Fiverr alternatives is something that I wished I wouldn’t consider, but if things get worse might be the best alternative.

Do they think that if they have only “hand selected 1%” they will be more successful? There are tons of people that don’t want/have to spend that amount of money.

I am willing to support your petition if we can somehow make it and send it over to them.

I’m definitely not ranting and I love this platform. I would just be too sad to leave it because it becomes too hard to do the job that we love.


#6

So true and yet so sad that this isn’t already the case.

My own case for Fiverr now looking more like a copycat site was made as a comment on this thread:

You will have to scroll down quite far to see it.


#7

You seem to flesh Out your picture clearly. And I think that it’s something that a lot of people will respond in tensely too. I suggest you start online petition whete people can sign with your stated demands in it. Unfortunately, I don’t think posting on this forum, no matter how many people reply, it’s going to make a difference.


#8

A very nice thread, how can I missed it? I must read it thoroughly, contains a lot of useful information indeed.


#9

Well, this is just a personal view on what’s going on inside Fiverr, not really a call to arms (not even close to my intention). However, providing feedback that don’t reach is also feedback. If communication lines are broken, then seems very reasonable that there are major problems, even more imperative that what I say in the post. Communications is all in business, information is power. You can’t just ignore your customers, or you are doomed. We are Fiverr customers.

I think there are some collaborative platforms that are suffering from this nonsense really. When the gap between the management and the base customers increases, the business slows and finally die.


#10

I’m on Fiverr for almost 8years… Non-stop seller.

And I think you are absolutely right. Fiverr new rules are affecting us… Of course, we learn to adapt but it’s going crazy lately.

I personally think Fiverr should listen to sellers and try to fix the list of affecting bugs instead of coming with new rules that benefit scammers and only scammers.


#11

I found something interesting looking at your profile. Despite you have been hit hard with the new rule (going from 1k reviews to 10 is a bit, well…) I see the gigs where you had no review in the last 60 days appear with lifetime ratings.

This is going crazy… so, if you don’t have any rating in the last 60 days, lifetime reviews are shown? @cyaxrex I am starting to adopt your theory. This is a nonsense.


#12

If you don’t have ratings in the last 60 days, it shows lifetime reviews … until you click on the gig, where they become ZERO :smile:


#13

I still see lifetime totals below the gig title if I enter the gig. Where they become zero?


#14

Question: So are we saying that ratings are worthwhile at all? Or that these systems affecting ratings built inside of systems are getting too much attention?

Or are we saying that a free-for-all is the best system for buyers to find sellers?

Honestly, I am not sure which is a better idea.


#15

To build trust in a marketplace you can use two models:

A: Ratings - (e.g. Amazon style) Let buyers rate and give feedback, so they can choose the sellers they think are best for their needs.
B: Brand building - (e.g. Apple style) Your brand offer buyers all the trust they need.

Fiverr uses model A, but lately, they are trying to move to model B (PRO label). That movement can destroy the marketplace. That’s what I think it’s happening and I explain it in the post.


#16

Under the gig title. Then, if you scroll down, you may see an -n number of lifetime reviews (older than 60 days).

But right now, I can see all the review counts display normally, ie. not only 60 days.


#17

Well done Juan! Truly one of the best written and salient articles/discussions ever in the Forum. The blatant results are truly too numerous to point out and you could have even elaborated further.

After 25 years in corporate life, working at Fortune 100 companies, this is a repeat of one lesson: Channel Conflict. Fiverr has continued to exacerbate the situation seemingly at every move, which has not only Sellers and Buyers scratching their heads, but the Investors as well.

Juan, you aptly point out that from the launch there were mistakes made and now compounded. The idea is a good one, but the execution is where the good idea goes wrong. You cannot have mixed branding in the same marketplace. A Pro sits next to a TRS, even with Fiverr trying its best to strip the TRS of their accomplishments, the Buyer has to purchase from the TRS. Separating them was a good move by Fiverr with “Fiverr Pro Home”. But then Fiverr dropped the ball for a fumble by leaving all the PRO gigs still on regular Fiverr.

My traffic has continued to decline and if it continues to do so, then why stay on Fiverr. The platform has over 100,000 Sellers worldwide. It is the largest salesforce on the planet! If I were VP of Sales, this would be heaven by the shear numbers alone. All I would want is to be paid $1 per year plus commission of 10% on sales growth. In one year, I would be a millionaire. Instead of leveraging an incredible salesforce, they want to bring on more notable Sellers. What is not mentioned is the revolving door or drop rate. The PROs are dropping at a higher rate than non-Pro Sellers.

Your petition is a great idea. I like it. I’d like to think that Fiverr management would listen. However, based on the past, it seems unlikely. Think of the brain trust of Buyers and Sellers. It is untapped by management. They seem to proceed thinking their ideas are better than the ideas of Buyers & Sellers. If opinions mattered, then you would see a Seller/Buyer advisory board.

I would like to add to your petition though, Juan. Fiverr, let me control my business and not get penalized for making business decisions. For example, I qualify every Buyer. Either they are the business I want or not, for whatever reason. Sellers want to avoid a cancel if possible. If I can qualify upfront, then I won’t have to work through a cancel. Recently, one Buyer was just so blatantly bad that I wanted no part of his business and blocked him. I later found out that he was able to book an order! Four days were spent of wasted time. He wanted a $200 order for $15. He canceled and I took the hit for this poor policy, but had done the right thing for my business.

My female friend is no longer a TRS. Why? Because of cancelations. She states: No adult, no porn, no vulgar language, no lingerie. But she still gets orders with those stated restrictions. She is a professional on how well she handles them, but lost her status because she had too many cancels. Those moves are a legal minefield for Fiverr. Wait until the first lawsuit comes forward by a female (#MeToo), who is harassed and threatened, then penalized by Fiverr for canceling. Social Media will have a field day with that (just remember “pewdiepie” times 100). So let’s add that, it is our business to run with our morals and ethics, but not be penalized by them.


#18

That’s so sad to hear. I hope the demotion didn’t reduce her income.


#19

I edited one piece of my comment because I misread sellers as buyer and when I realized it, my first sentene or so was incorrect. The rest is still as I wrote it:

I agree with you on this, at least partly. I think Fiverr is harder than ever for new sellers. I am not sure it has that much to do with the 60-day thing although I’m personally against that move. I think all sellers will dislike it over time when they have a vacation or a slow month or so. Fiverr is also harder for new sellers because the competition is growing, the competition is improving and the buyer pool is more knowledgable.

I actually doubt that Pro sellers even care. I think a few of them are old-school Fiverr sellers who got the Pro badge and they are fine either way. The rest of the Pros are fairly new and have multiple streams of income.


#20

I really appreciate your post. The idea of controlling our business is something I have already wrote sometimes here in this forum. Cancellations penalties are now just a nonsense the way are implemented (your friend is a perfect example btw). And, as you point out, the results of these measures are just too overwhelming for a 8 months time frame in a well established marketplace. Who knows, I may try to reach the ones in Fiverr staff that have enough power to correct the course of the Fiverr boat.