Fiverr Forum

Gig denied because I used the words "personal essay"


I’m new and I decided that I would try out a fiverr editing gig. I offered to proofread, edit, and critique fiction and creative nonfiction. I listed several lengths and genres that I would accept including personal essays.

A couple of hours after I posted my gig it was denied for the following reasons:


Your Gig requires modification - By taking part in doing someone else’s academic work (which will likely be submitted as the student’s own work) you are actively taking part in a violation of the integrity code of most, if not all, schools and academic institutions. This behavior can lead to the suspension or expulsion of students. Fiverr does not allow taking part in such fraudulent activities.

This was shocking to me since I did not offer to help with student work, did not mention academic or student work, and didn’t offer to write anything whatsoever other than a written critique of the submission for Premium purchasers.

I complained to Customer Support and I got this reply (emphasis mine):

May 24, 6:14 PM EDT
Hi JennJenn,

Gig denials are final and cannot be reversed. You are welcome to create a new Gig that offers a permitted service. For the service to be permitted, all Gig components (Title, Description, Images, Packages, FAQ, Tags, Gig Extras and Requirements) should be limited to a legitimate service. For example - if you are writing articles for non academic use (for blogs, marketing, etc.), you should explicitly offer only article writing and not homework or essays writing. If you are providing a different service, such as tutoring services or assistance in research or writing, you should detail the services you are providing (such as coaching on writing, best practices in writing/research, editing services, proofreading, assistance in online research, research analysis etc.).

Please make sure that you are not writing academic articles or completing homework for a buyer. You may only offer assistance with the above-mentioned services. For example, you may proofread or edit a text written by the buyer, but you may not actually write it for them.

You may write articles and blog posts for commercial purposes, you can’t write work for someone else to be submitted as their own.

You may conduct research for a buyer that they can put into their own words.

For your Gig, it seems that the main issue may be the offer for personal essays. We recommend removing this aspect as well as anything that goes towards creating academic work

I’m here if you have questions.

Mmmmkay. The problem with this is that “personal essay” is not just another word for “student essay.” Personal essays are a form of creative nonfiction published in many literary journals, websites, and blogs. There was a piece in The New Yorker just a few days ago about how the types of personal essays you used to see on sites like XOJane and Jezebel are becoming a thing of the past. It is really amazing to me that a site that purports to offer proofreading and editing services wouldn’t understand the meaning of the term “personal essay.”

The other problem is that, again, I wasn’t offering to write any type of work whatsoever. This was a proofreading and editing gig. I’m not sure why fiverr was so insistent that I was trying to write student essays.

I wouldn’t really have minded removing the phrase and would have done so if asked. But instead of just asking me to remove the phrase, fiverr denied the whole gig and insinuated that I was engaging in “fraudulent activities.” I may not stay on this site.

Does anyone know if there is a way to view the text of denied gigs? If I do decide to stay, then I’d rather not have to rewrite the whole gig.


Better read the ToS and check other seller’s Gigs in your same field duh… before opening a Gig.
I guess giving a long a** explanation of what you (or Customer Support) understand as Personal/Student essay will not bring anything to your Gigs here in the Forums.
If you have to write it all over again, then do it. The fact you are not willing to, shows little interest in starting a business on this website.
Lack of interest and perseveration are lethal weapons against newcomers
Maybe it’s not the right site for you then.
Good luck in any decision you may take!


Yeah, I did read the ToS and check other seller’s gigs. I don’t see anything in the terms of service about not being allowed to edit a personal essay. Further, there are any number of gigs that offer to proofread and edit basically anything and I do not see how my gig differed from them.

It isn’t “lack of interest” so much as knowing a red flag when I see one. Fiverr, like any service, should strive to maintain a certain level of professionalism and when that fails, then users are justified in walking away. If I started a real life job as an editor and my boss or someone in HR accused me of committing fraud on the first day because I said that I would edit a personal essay (a term that is standard in the industry, btw) then I would seriously consider quitting that job as well. It wouldn’t matter how interested I was in the work – dealing these sorts of hostile and nonsensical claims right out of the gate would be a major red flag. I’m just trying to determine whether this incident is a freak one-off or indicative of how the site is generally run.


There were hundred of Gigs offering those kind of service, until Fiverr got into the risk of being sued.
Bottom line: they’ve decided to close that possibility and very good sellers had to go elsewhere to offer their services.
You can quit a job, or you can get fired. That’s your prerogative of course.
There are ToS that everybody has to follow, if Customer Support invited you to change your Gigs, I bet there is little you can do but follow their decision.
It is annoying indeed, but the decision of doing so or not is all in your hands.


I’m guessing that it was an automated denial because of the word “essay”. Fiverr recently decided to stop everyone who offers to help students cheat, and, unfortunately, some proofreaders and editors got caught in the crossfire, even though they never offered to write someone else’s homework.

It’s impossible for Fiverr to manually check every gig (there are millions of gigs on Fiverr, not to mention folks who repeatedly create gigs that offer forbidden services, and keep doing it until they get banned, and then complain on the forum that they got banned), so they use automated systems that are far from perfect.


I think you’re probably right. I figured that the original reply was automated. What really upsets me is the response from Customer Support which was presumably looked at by a real person. I feel like fiverr should have apologized and explained that they have to be super vigilant because of some students abusing their service. Instead, I think that the response that I got continues to vaguely suggest that I was trying to do students’ homework. It was very obvious from the full text of the gig that I was targeting people who are working on novels, short stories, or other creative writing projects. I feel like the the response should have acknowledged that I hadn’t done anything wrong – especially since the original automated response suggested that I was trying to participate in fraudulent activities.


They’re understaffed, and often give canned responses. Don’t get me wrong, they’re often really helpful, too, but Fiverr keeps experimenting, tweaking this and that, the removal of gigs that basically allow students to cheat is fairly recent (and it’s the exam season)… As a result, Customer Support gets a ton of tickets.

Oh, and it’s not just students abusing their service, it’s also that some sellers don’t understand why that kind of service is wrong, so they keep offering it.


I had a writing gig be denied for essay writing… I just put a disclaimer in my gig and it was then readily approved. Here’s the exact bit I put in my gig:

“Please note that I will NOT write your academic papers. I will not write your homework, your end of term essays, your journal articles for publication. This gig is for businesses, organizations, and personal use. I reserve the right to refuse gigs if they appear to be academic in nature.”


Thanks, this is helpful. I was considering writing something like this if I decide to try again but I was afraid that the system would automatically flag words like “homework” or “academic papers” and deny the gig … even though I was literally stating that I wouldn’t do homework.