Fiverr Forum

Another post about the obsession with 5-star reviews on Fiverr


Okay, so I know this is a bug-bear of mine but I used to do performance appraisals for 125 staff a year and I’d have been fired if I gave them all 5/5. And conversely, my staff would rightfully be very happy with a 4/5.

When did Fiverr get to the point where 5 stars means anything from (less than?) satisfactory to outstanding? Has it always been this way? I saw a post yesterday from a seller congratulating themselves on getting a buyer to change their review to a 5. It made me uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong; I’m no saint and I like 5 star reviews as much as the next seller - I can’t afford not to. But consider if we had more variety of reviews and even 3 stars meant a seller you could trust to get the job done?

Buyers could pick a seller based on what was fit for their purpose. They need a simple task done well but for less $, pick a 3 star seller. A more complicated task where they’re more willing to pay a little extra for a little extra, pick a 4 star seller.

I know this is never going to happen by the way. I’m not an idiot. The idea of educating millions of buyers and sellers to do this is challenging to say the least. Organisational Change Management on a global scale.

But just for a moment consider Fiverr changes the wording on the reviews to something like:
5 stars = Outstanding: Performance that exceeds expectations and is consistently outstanding.
4 stars = More than Satisfactory: Performance that consistently fulfills the job requirements and exceeds expectations.
3 stars = Satisfactory: Performance that consistently fulfills the job requirements.
2 stars = Improvement Needed: Performance that does not consistently meet the job requirements.
1 star = Unsatisfactory: Performance that consistently fails to meet the job requirements.

A bell curve to demonstrate. Average and high performers should get orders. Low performers too probably if the buyer’s happy to work with that:

The awesomely good sellers would sit between 4 and 5.
The very good sellers would sit around 4, give or take a few points.
Good sellers who can do the job specified well, but with no frills and whistles, would sit around 3.

5 by it’s nature could only be awarded by a buyer who ordered more than one gig.

The buyer gets what they pay for. Higher rated sellers could charge more. Buyers would pay what they could afford and for what they need.

Admittedly the obvious immediate advantages here are for the buyers and for the higher-rated sellers. There are advantages for some of those who sit between 3 and 4 but I’m not sure most would see them given the mindset of sellers and the 5-star obsession.

Note that system things as well as mindset would have to change. The search algorithm; buyer request access; level entry rules, to name but a few.

For completeness, this is the only similar post I could find:
Continuing the discussion from What is the deal with sellers expecting only 5 star reviews?:

Is 4 a bad rating?

Very interesting post…
I am one of those people, who’s world stops when a review is less than 5 stars…
Maybe after reading that I will look at it differently :slight_smile:

The question to ask is, will others/buyers see the review and star system in the same eye as you described here ?

I sure hope so !

Thanks for the awesome post :slight_smile:


well if we are talking about review we need to think how the buyers thinks about us
and most of them are unknown and new in my experience and you know that @capitalquality LOL
so average is fine but i want 6stars :slight_smile:


You and most sellers on Fiverr!

Not without education, though if Fiverr did change the wording on the reviews, it would encourage buyers to think about the review. Getting sellers to accept the new review is more difficult.


It is true that buyers can only rate based on their limited experience but that’s actually good. How can they give a 5 star (consistently outstanding) review if you’ve only done one 30 minute job for them? It’s almost dishonest.

And if you really want that 6 star review, you’ll have to work for it :wink:


I notice anything less than 5-stars lowers my rankings


i am still working on it @capitalquality


yes it does LOL:grinning:


The change has to begin with Fiverr.
The fact that you cannot respond to buyer requests if you have less than 90% shows what Fiverr considers to be an acceptable standard. That’s crazy, especially because anyone with less than 10 sales and just one bad review cannot respond to buyer requests and it is essentially game over for them.
Whenever Fiverr wakes up and realizes that there is a lot of space between 1 and 5 stars that can be utilized effectively to create an even more positive buying experience, then they will take action.
2,3 and 4 star reviews sprinkled throughout the site would make things so much easier as they would tell the whole story of an experience, not just the extremes of good and awful.
Right now when I see 5 stars, I am unsure whether a seller just cancels orders very often or if they are genuinely a 5 star seller.
Similarly, if I see a seller with a couple of 1 star ratings and loads of 5s, I cannot tell whether they just had a series of muppets order their gigs or if they are incompetent.


Edited post to add: Note that system things as well as mindset would have to change. The search algorithm; buyer request access; level entry rules, to name but a few.


If you mean the post about changing 4.4 to 5 (and 4.4 was because of the darn app bug, and the buyer actually meant to give 5 stars), I’m fine with that one, because it was a mistake. I get what you mean, though; I cringe when a review of bad work is changed because of someone’s sob story.

Would anyone want to work with new buyers, then? Would you work with someone who wants high quality, wants to hire you, but you know that they can’t give you 5 stars, no matter how good you are?

I agree that the obsession with 5-star reviews is annoying, unhealthy, and bad for sellers and buyers both, but I’m really not sure how to change the entire system.


I am nodding emphatically at your whole post.

This in particular is a frustration of mine:

I looked at offering a gig to find sellers for buyers but the sea of 5 stars makes it impossible to even attempt.


I suspect that many sellers now “deliver” before delivering and offer cancellations if they are unhappy rather than risk a negative.
I saw a post by a seller with over 1500 five star reviews and 0 negatives. He was asking how to deal with people who ask to cancel! I would never buy from someone like that, I would expect it to get to delivery day and be asked to cancel. If I was looking to scam someone, I would only go for someone like that as it is clear they cancel orders instead of taking negative reviews. It is completely impossible to get only 5 star reviews out of 1500 orders in graphic design, logos, writing and other subjective gigs without gaming the system (whether it is ok’d by ToS/CS or not, it is still messing with the system).


This is kind of the point of this post. In the glorious non-5-star-review future you’ll think a 4-star review is an excellent review.

As @eoinfinnegan says, Fiverr would need to make changes to the system, and to buyer and seller expectation. Changing the wording on review options for buyers would encourage buyers to leave different reviews. Marketers will tell you how questions can be worded to encourage responses. Sellers can make changes to their offerings and deliveries and services to either sit comfortably in the cheap and cheerful, or strive for outstanding.


Whoa. I’m clearly not devious enough. I hadn’t even thought about that.


Consider how frustrating that is for a buyer. Rather than discuss revisions, improved quality or even simply telling the buyer they cannot do a job in the beginning, there are sellers who simply take a chance and if it works out great, if not they just cancel. I suspect a lot of those sellers are those who complain about buyers and not getting enough orders too. They are a part of the problem as if a first time buyer has that kind of experience they are likely to go elsewhere.
I think seller is an incorrect term for those people, gambler is more accurate. And serious businesses don’t work with gamblers.


I just read a German article recommending fiverr. The author said, among other things, that fiverr is great because you rarely have problems with sellers, because anything below a perfect review is so devastating for sellers that they will do anything perfectly until you are satisfied.


That’s a great idea ! Hope they see it !


[edit after writing: this turned into a long comment, so therefore I will title it:
Why a Star visual doesn’t make sense on Fiverr
By Leah]

I just think as a buyer, when looking at two different profiles that offer the exact same thing, if one has an average rating of 4 and the other has 5, what exactly would entice you to choose the 4-star performer? Even though the 4 stars surely meant they completed the order to the buyer’s satisfaction. For the same price, wouldn’t the buyer want to go for something that exceeds their expectations?

I think private employee reviews are one thing, and valuable for personal growth, but for a public marketplace like Fiverr, eyeballs glaze right over reviews that have less than a perfect 5 stars filled in. The margin of error is too high. 4 to 5 stars is visually huge. the notion of “5 stars” doesn’t just mean you did well. It’s literally a term for world-class, top notch, etc. IMHO anything you buy for $5 simply cannot be world-class, top-notch, etc. It’s a false positive. The folks that REALLY deserve 5 stars are the new sellers who spend 12 hours on their first $5 order and excessively over-deliver haha.

My thoughts are that the old thumbs up/thumbs down system worked better. You get a percentage of thumbs up, and thumbs down. A 98% thumbs up rate verses a 95% isn’t as visually huge of a margin, but I can see it being more likely that someone goes for a seller with a 95% rating instead of a 98% versus going for a 4 star average instead of a 5 star. If decent sellers are all above 90%, our portfolios and prices become the differentiation, not our stars.

Since bad buyer experiences are inevitable, most of us would likely be 90% and above. If you sucked, you’d pull lower than that, and people wouldn’t want to work with you-- rightly so. No one would be at 100%, because as I said, bad buyers are inevitable, and their policy of not removing feedback would be fine, part of life.

But someone rating you 4 stars or less typically means that you deliver the EXACT same ‘world class service’ you did to everyone else, but the buyer was daft. But you STILL delivered the world class service. You were 5 stars, but you didn’t get 5 stars.

I guess my main point is that, the stars give us a visual that is too dramatic. In fact, 5 stars is such an important visual, that once I put the 5 star image on my gig video, my sales increased. I’m not completely sure if it’s correlated, but a 5 star visual gives the impression you are the best.

PS; i hate star review system on ANY site, not just here. I think for public feedback, I’d prefer a ‘would recommend’ (thumbs up) or ‘would not’ (thumbs down) and you can leave your public comment. Stars make people crazy. Including me, who resorted to blatantly putting it on my gigs.


I was thinking for a way around it:

What if reviewers were asked to write both good points and bad points about the sellers. Fiverr could stimulate (in the beginning) buyers to write better reviews by giving out some Fiverr credit to those that write more thorough reviews. In that way, you can keep the star system, but still provide more meaningful information to both buyers and sellers.