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 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.
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.
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.