Fiverr Forum

Copycats: A new & Dangerous Genus of Buyer


At the moment, I am really really struggling. Revision requests are eating up my time like nobody’s business and I am still struggling with buyers who order the wrong thing such as a full custom explainer video for $5, which ends up in lengthy message exchanges before for the sake of self-respect, I have to jump on that nuttier by the day resolution center merry-go-round

The problem is simple. A lot more people than usual seem to be trying to get as much as possible for as little as possible. Moreover, in mind of this, I have come across a very disturbing trend this past week, among my explainer video buyers.

In short, it starts with a person messaging me with a link to youtube, saying “I want this exact video branded to my style. How much?”

The first time this happened, I quoted $50 but said that I would not be creating the exact video as I use a different style and effects package. The buyer ordered without responding, I delivered a video explaining the same concept detailed in the original and wham bam, “wtf? this isn’t the video I sent you a link to!”

Turns out, the buyer wanted the EXACT video as is. Now, obviously, there is a huge copyright issue here. I mean, if I paint the Mona Lisa from scratch, make a carbon copy and someone tries to present it as the Mona Lisa, you can bet that Leonardo da Vinci isn’t going to be too happy.

Anyway, since then I’ve been getting similar requests almost every day. At the same time, I’ve had requests where someone sends me a video which he or she has (supposedly) had created by a different seller and they ask me to tidy it up. - Namely, because their seller has simply downloaded the original from youtube, cut off the final scene and replaced it with a still image of a new companies logo and contact details.

Obviously, I’m declining all such work. What I am really shocked by though, is the lengths people are going to to get things as cheap as possible. Some buyers seem to think that if a creative concept is simply being copied, it requires no effort by the seller (if they can actually recreate a concept identically from scratch), At the same time, how can people honestly think that they can get away with banging their logo or brand name on to a piece of someone else’s work and get away with it?

Now, I’m saying that this behavior is dangerous, as it seems to be a new trend among the so-called SEO companies who outsource all their work to Fiverr. We’re not talking about a scam being perpetrated by sellers. We’re talking about buyers asking sellers in the first place to commit copyright infringement. And yes, since I have seen a couple of these videos myself first hand, some sellers are going along with the idea just to make a quick buck.

In this case, buyers, come on. How low are you actually prepared to go when playing intellectual limbo?


That´s an interesting thing. It might be an even broader trend, though is it new? It seems one reads of MPs who copycatted their way into the the P, of doctors who copycatted themselves to their ‘doctor’ of whatever embossed in gold, of… It might go back to as early as copy&paste was implemented…
On a related note, this morning when I was scrolling through BR, I thought to myself 'how cute, someone asking for someone to do their work for them, which they´ll publish, present to their employer, their teacher, prof, whatever, and asking for ‘no plagiarism’.

The behaviour you describe though isn´t actually cute obviously, and your so-called SEO companies are, hopefully…, only really naive… or do find themselves extremely clever, if they manage to juggle words around until everything says they did tell you to not plagiarize/steal IP and wash their black conscience of it by telling themselves if it´s plagiarized it´s that black fiverr sheep, not them. Intellectual somersaults with double turn at its finest. Then again they only can go so low as the sellers follow. That you decline of course doesn´t mean, that all do. On the bright side, a buyer with such wishes might get several sellers decline on him, so they have to go to a lot of them, which might make it seem more of a trend than it actual is.

The line between re-writing/researching and copying, between being inspired and copying, between drawing upon one´s rich experience and…all kinds of things though is a rather hazy one often.
But okay, you´re talking about EXACT here and stuff. ((Nonetheless, I´d not be too sure that Leo would have a problem there, he was quite the guy in the days, he might like it, we should try to find out, maybe Seven could help.))
Apart from sellers declining those kinds of orders, what could fiverr do to help? A popup educating buyers on IP? :wink: Before anyone laughs…from reading over the BR section, and I mean the actual BRs, not the masses of posts by sellers…I´m not too sure if they all are even dimly aware of advanced concepts such as IP…


$5 orders are very frustrating. I think the FAQ has helped, but it sounds like you’re forever getting buyers who can’t read. Have you considered upping your prices (by 2 or 3 fold) and then saying “Orders which are discussed prior to ordering receive a 50% discount” or some such thing? I had a really irksome $5 buyer who constantly was pushing the limits of what fit into a $5 scope, so I doubled the price and still got orders, but most were custom orders worth the original amount. When that irksome buyer came to make a custom offer with me, I told them that if they wanted to work with me, they’d have to order directly from my gig page. They found someone else to exploit.

As for the unethical buyers, perhaps put a line on your gig akin to “I refuse to copy others’ works or perform any copyright infringement. If I believe your order is infringing on others’ works I retain the right to cancel the order or refuse the work.”

Fiverr holds us to what we state in our gigs. Sometimes covering your butt helps get CS on your side and makes buyers think twice before trying to manipulate you. I’ve even considered putting a mandatory question on my gig requirements that states my terms, so there’s no way they can’t see them. I don’t do enough volume quite yet for that to be a horrible problem, though.


Great post in the Fiverr blog this week about how to avoid things like this:


Nice story, bro, but I didn´t see anything in there referring to the kind of buyers cyax was ranting about. Even if the title claims to have professional responses to every buyer situation, sorry, that´s utopic, it doesn´t magically fit as reply to any post about a buyer situation on the forum.
It deals with 3 buyer situations:
No (or Poor) Review
Overload Messaging
My Buyer Wants the World for Only $5
I didn´t see the hot potato ‘My Buyer Wants Me to Steal Content for Only 5$’ anywhere.

edit: Oh, it´s your blog post. And I don´t say it´s not a great blog post, just for the records, on the contrary, it is a great post (even though I´d not say that of my own post, when I´d link to it without mentioning the detail that it´s my post at least), but it doesn´t fit this situation.


To avoid such problems put your gig description like this "Contact me before order”
I will do revisions if its only if i did anything wrong if not you have to pay extra”
If not
State how long you can edit for $5 and give them example works you do for $5
Attaches some policy note about your services and expectation from you on you order question option it will help you to contact Fiverr support with evidence if buyer behave badly after you say you can’t do modification which in not reasonable


I am having a similar problem with this, but on my intro videos. Hey, I do offer $5 intro videos, and that is great, but the last week I’ve receiving shi**y orders, where the people pay $5, want three things for free and also send the incorrect requirements. They don’t even read. As seller I take so much time perfecting the requirements to avoid problems, making them as readable as possible, with bullet points and stuff like that, and people still doesn’t read it.

Now, I have to take hours to explain, discuss and so on just to make $4. It’s the worst. I haven’t even got a bigger order on that gig in a week. Just those $5 ones.


I’ve seen the same thing with my freelance writing gigs. Buyers directing me to a webpage and saying they want the same thing just re-word it. Or sending me copy and asking me to re-word it, knowing it was cut and pasted from an existing website belonging to someone else. And last, beware of phony review requests. It makes my heart sink to think every time I look at a review pertaining to a product I want to buy, I realize how many times I’ve been asked to write a fake review just so they can gain those five stars! Sad!


When a buyer asks me to blatantly steal, I explain to them that from a SEO standpoint, this is a very bad idea. They will be caught out, 100% of the time. This doesn’t always go over well, obviously. There are plenty of buyers with the, “I’m paying for it, just do what I say,” mentality. But…those aren’t really people I want to work with anyway.

Fiverr has been really difficult for me lately. It seems to ONLY be people who want as much as possible for as little money as possible. All of my really high quality long-time buyers have jumped ship as they’ve had too many problems with the platform, don’t like that they can’t set up recurring payments for me, or a similar issue. This is just my observation, so I won’t speculate about buyers across Fiverr, but the last two months were my worst two months in regards to dealing with rude, entitled, and demanding buyers, and I was here long before Fiverr’s advertising push and website redesign. I think you just have to do what keeps you sane. If you like the money more than you like your sanity (and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that), then keep doing the revision requests and dealing with unreasonable people. If you would like to possibly retain your sanity, maybe a stricter revision policy and policy for dealing with the bad buyers would help.


Gig packages help to weed out the cheap buyers. They can see what they get for $5 and then what they get for a real fee.

I also think that compulsory buyer requirements help to get all the information you need up front.


I don’t have a 5$ gig ^^and it works,i still have orders.
So,rise the price mon ami :wink:


I’ve encountered the issue of people who want to copy or blatantly steal. I make it clear when someone contacts me asking to copy something that I don’t copy other designs, but I can design something with a similar look and feel that fits their branding. Copiers never bite because they want exactly what someone else has.

I also state that I don’t remove watermarks from images, because that’s another way that buyers steal. They find a design, logo, or video someone else was paid very well to do that’s watermarked in their portfolio or wherever else, then pay someone $5 to remove the watermark so they can use it for themselves.

I prefer not to condone or be a party to such practices.


Great thread! I can relate to all of this.
Nowadays, I just have a quick response ready that explains what copyright infringement is. I think a big part of the problem is that the buyers don’t understand that it is a crime. I guess it’s a great thing to put into the faq-section as well. I think I should also put in some explanation to how revisions work, like when it’s ok to ask for one, and how big the changes can be. Most people are understanding about me not being able to remake a whole painting just like that.
I still have no idea how to solve the problem with buyers not reading the gig description before ordering. But you guys are probably on to something. The number of buyers contacting me before ordering has risen after I raised my prices a bit. After that i get a lot more of these impolite messages just saying “I want this, how much?”, but it’s a lot better than going through the cancelling process again and again.


I mean I can’t control how other people price their services, but I would at least hope that they value themselves enough to not offer a 300 word voiceover in 24 hours with unlimited revisions-- because it ultimately devalues the rest of us, and puts in place dangerous expectations. However, more power to you if you can pump out the above in 24 hours and be happy in life… I personally am super blunt when people message me. The serious ones know I’m serious and take me seriously. And if I sense for a second someone is trying to squeeze more out of me than for what they pay, I tell them we simply aren’t a good match and I can’t provide it for you. Tough stuff though, it’s hard walking the line between pleasing people and standing for your work’s value.