Fiverr Community Forum

Are some gigs always ethical to sell but not always to buy?

I know that scraping and sending unsolicited emails is widely considered unethical, typically against ToS and in some countries illegal.

But I was wondering if people feel the same way about other gigs…

How about buying business plans, ghost writing, rewriting someones CV or LinkedIn, even managing a tinder profile for a buyer? (All gigs I’ve seen).

I am not saying it is wrong to sell these in good faith in any way. I have personally purchased a couple myself over the years. I have no criticism of the sellers or that they are selling them.

But, if a buyer is passing off someone else’s work as their own and gaining from it, is that ethical? I don’t know, where is the line on this?

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Interesting topic. (And risky of getting into controversial. Thus, I’ll merely state my opinion, and throw in a reminder of the forum rules to visitors.)

Ghostwriting, usually there’s permission for it to be passed off.
Rewrites, yeah, I think there’s a slight issue with.
Managing another’s profile… depends on what kind it is. RP and LARP for fictitious characters, I think is okay, when they’re with permission of the creator or the character is outside the domain of royalties (like Santa). If it’s a business page, probably also fine as long. Personal profiles… iffy. Depends if they’re professional or casual.

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Definitely don’t want to be controversial, there’s been a bit too much of that today here! I’m just curious and definitely without judgement or criticism.

The ethical side was more from the end users point of view.

Maybe it’s kind of similar to why fiver doesn’t allow gigs to write other peoples fiver gigs.

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This is a great post! And you’ve got me thinking…

I think a gig becomes unethical if the buyer of such a service stands to benefit in some way (usually financially) without any robust challenge or independent / third party scrutiny.

For example, let’s take a CV / resume writing service. A CV’s purpose is to secure a job interview. But it’s in the interview itself where the scrutiny takes place. So in this case, I would say a CV writing service is fine.

Another example, essay writing. An essay will be graded by a lecturer and, unless it causes suspicion, the student will directly benefit by receiving their grade unchallenged. In this case I would say essay writing is not fine.

Yet another example, services that result in spamming. The very definition of spam is ‘unsolicited email’ - so there is definitely no third party scrutiny. So, not fine.

It’s certainly an interesting area of discussion.

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I’m a ghostwriter.

I write blogs for hundreds of other web developers around the globe.

As long as their payment clears, I don’t care what they do with what I’ve written for them.

If you watch TV much, you’ve probably seen a lot of comedy shows. There are writers for stand-up comedian who ghostwrite.

News programs contain news stories that have been ghostwritten (I have 23 years of Broadcasting experience including Assistant Manager at one radio station I worked at for 12 years).

Ghostwriting is far from unethical.

But nice try.

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I do ghost writing of almost any kind. Not unethical, other than the people who try not to pay us, or only pay us pennies on the dime.

@looseink @titanglade I’m not saying it is unethical to be a ghostwriter whatsoever. It was never my intention to besmirch what you do. Not at all. I actually used a ghostwriter to give a gift to my goddaughter. Ghostwriters do great, decent, ethical work. I should have been clearer, apologies :slight_smile:

My point is that I think something can be unethical depending on how it is ultimately used by the buyer, as @english_voice pointed out.

For example, I do coaching and consultancy, if someone ghost wrote my ‘business tips’ book for example, and I put it under my name, and used it as a lead magnet for customers that could be considered unethical (on my part, not on the ghostwriters).

Or, ghostwriting a children’s story for me to give my god daughter wouldn’t be unethical, but me submitting it to a competition as my own work would be.

That was my point / question / curiosity.

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And this is what generated my response.

I may be a ghostwriter, but I’m not a mind reader.

Your question quoted seems pretty clear to me.

I’ll fix it. Seriously, I wasn’t having a pop at you or other sellers.

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I make a disclaimer for any homework/tests/grants/proposals I write. I definitely see ways that can be unethical - but then, I have the skills someone was looking for. With an essay, I tell the student to change some of the things I wrote so it is more authentic. Usually people looking to publish will have a second editor go over the work, and that will change it too.

I understand, thanks for the contribution.

To be honest after some of todays posts and topics I just thought it would be interesting and enjoyable to have a slightly different conversation on the forum.

There are so many gigs that could be used as possible examples, it wasn’t specific to ghostwriting, I should’ve and could’ve used my own business templates gig as the example!

It wasn’t about criticising or anything nasty or negative. Just thought it could be an interesting and somewhat different topic to the usual repetition we all see here.

Anyway, I edited the original post, hope that clears things up.

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I liked this topic. It’s nice, for a change.

I agree with what you said, but I guess it’ll differ from case to case. But is it unethical is it’s a partnership? For example, with respect to the college essay. Some people are brilliant but just not good at writing essays, so if they came with a rough draft, and it was rewritten and polished, using their foundation, would it be unethical?

I’m just genuinely curious, so no drastically negative remarks people.

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Though be careful of the Fiverr rules that say “taking part in doing someone else’s academic work (which will likely be submitted as the student’s own work)… will not be permitted on our platform.” - in the community standards page and in the TOS it says “Offering to prepare academic works on behalf of Buyers” - isn’t allowed (could get a gig removed etc.).

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Yes, because they’d be getting a grade for work that’s not completely their own.

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Its helpful post,Thank you :heart_eyes:

I have a regular buyer who always leaves me positive feedback via inbox (as opposed to reviewing the order). I always wondered why he was doing that.

Then literally yesterday I was watching some unsolved mysteries compilation on youtube and an NBC documentary popped up in my recommended about a certain dangerous place on earth and a grassroots movement of locals trying to make it less dangerous. By pure accident they showed a few seconds of someone scrolling down of the movement’s website with the posters I did on it.

I was excited ‘cause what are the chances. I don’t follow my work online. When it leaves me - it mostly leaves me for good. I ran to that website, clicked through and found an instagram of an “artist behind the posters”. It was full of posters very obviously made by different people and one guy claiming to be a sole creator of them all.

If they were just offering posters as a retailer, using them as promo material or showcasing them as content, I’d be completely fine with it. But there is a difference between going “this is a curated page of designs I’ve acquired” and “hey, I made all of this”.

(Just my thoughts and how it made me feel. I’m aware of copyright transfer and stuff. I’m not disputing that).

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Firstly that’s so cool to see your work in the wild like that! Secondly thank you, that’s what I’m getting at, just curious where the lines are, not to draw them definitively but to discuss them.

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I offer mainly story writing and building. It’s not geared toward homework.

Is it unethical to outsource something?

Nope. Not at all.

Will you ask Apple or Tesla to print the name of every worker on the model they work on? Or real estate developers to paste the name of every laborer who worked there? Or restaurants to imprint the name of every waitress and cook that works there?

I don’t know why only mortals are judged on this ethical bias.

No one can do everything.

We need to hire others.

You pay them to create something. They create it. They get money for their time and skill. You get product for your money. End of the story. (Unless you set contracts that abide.)

That’s basic trade.

Eh.

P.S. Unethical and unlawful are different terms that don’t always overlap. Don’t confuse them.

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For sure and I don’t believe I did. Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right.

“Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people” (Walter Williams)

Re the Tesla example I don’t think anyone reasonably thinks that Elon is in a factory all by himself doing everything.

People may however reasonably think that someone has written a CV or book that’s under their name unless they are told otherwise.

Isn’t this why there is a difference between biographies and auto biographies and why it is typically acknowledged on the cover- to make the creative source clear? To be fair to the reader?

Similarly, an author doesn’t typically create the printing press the book was made on, but few would think they had because this would not be reasonable.

Or, if I go to a restaurant and order broccoli it’s reasonable to think they haven’t grown the vegetable themselves, but to me it’s also reasonable to think that they have cooked it themselves and not ordered it from another restaurant on uber eats and plated them to give the reasonable impression they did.

I keep using the word ‘reasonable’ because that is a metric under the law (at least in the U.K. and the US):

“The reasonable person is a hypothetical person used as a legal standard to determine whether the conduct of the parties in a case was proper in the circumstances. … It is the standard of conduct adopted by persons of ordinary intelligence and prudence.”

So in short I hypothesise that a reasonable person won’t think that Elon does everything, but a reasonable person would think he’d have written the book entitled ‘Elon’s story, my biography, written by Elon Musk’. They would not think the same of ‘Elon’s story, my autobiography, written by Elon Musk & X author’.

Like i said, I’m not criticising anyone, everyone faces ethical conundrums in their work, just curious if, when and where people drew their own lines.