Now that I have had time to cool off, I am going to post my non-ranty rant. Several hours ago, it would have been a true rant.
For a variety of reasons, I made a career shift to freelancing over the 9 to 5. For one thing, my 9 to 5 was never really a 9 to 5. Just like freelancing, you have droughts and deluges. The positive difference for me is that now, if I am going to starve, at least I will be doing something satisfying and creative. I still will do remote document review work when there is work, but I have been making writing my priority.
One day, I googled “freelance writing jobs” and found a website I will call “not-Fiverr” and signed up, but I saw that I would need to multiply my possible income streams and decided to test out this other model on Fiverr where you bring clients to you rather than bid to work for them. I would see how each went and then settle focus on one while I created income though a blog and eventually publishing.
I signed up for Fiverr and spent a couple weeks designing gigs and developing my price points. When I was satisfied, I published my gigs. I ran into a few hiccups around gig images - I was told mine were too similar to each other. No biggie, I just want to have them be unique, so it was going to take me some time because I was doing it myself by hand. (Never mind the gigs with stock photos that are promoted on the front page that are all from the same seller who uses all the same image for all of their gigs. Whatever…) All my gigs were still made active. Yay!
While I thought about how I would go about marketing my Fiverr presence off Fiverr, I started sending offers in response to buyer requests. I got my new blog up and running and posted my Fiverr badge. I got my first order and had a lot of fun writing my $20 story. The customer liked it a lot, and I got a second order for my full basic price of $25. I was hoping that I would be developing a bigger portfolio of work since I had just done a couple preliminary samples (paid obs.), but my tale grows darker.
Over Easter weekend, I updated one of my gig images and went through a process of refining my gig descriptions too making them more readable formatting wise, and I started creating a new gig. It was Monday afternoon, more than 24 hours since I updated the gig with the new image, and I was not finding it in the search results. I created a ticket with customer service, and went about my day. Around 5PM local time, my phone beeped with a notification that an order that had been sitting without requirements had been cancelled by customer service. Wondering if maybe the customer (different from my first one) had changed their mind, I went to open the app and see what the message said, and the app went blank. I then looked at my open tab for Fiverr.
I saw that there were 4 notifications that 4 gigs I had overhauled had failed review. I attempted to review the notices and see what the issue was and I was kicked out of the system. In my email, I only had an email from CS (Agent “J”) saying that the gig had been forward to the editorial team for review. That was it, no other emails. I began to reply to that email, and, mid-composing an account of the events that had just transpired, I received a second email from “J.” That was my first clue as to what was at issue. It was around this time that I finally got a flood of emails from Fiverr regarding each event.
So, here is the thing - the issue was language that was all there before I revised the gigs. In other words, it had already passed editorial review when they were created.
In initially formulating my gigs I recognized that, by being a writer, some people might try and hire me to do their academic work. Since this was an order based site, I might not be able to screen them out before they ordered, and I will not deal in any academic dishonesty. Independent of the TOS, this was my standard. In some of my gig descriptions I stated: Note: I will not [proofread/write] papers to be submitted for a grade. If necessary, I would leave it out if I needed the character space, since I subsequently confirmed that this issue is technically covered by Fiverr’s TOS. However, I still had a mandatory Multiple Choice Requirement in gigs likely to be abused. Because you have to have two choices, I composed it in the following manner.
Please affirm that this is not for a school assignment.
[Choice 1] This is not for a school assignment.
[Chioce 2] This is for a school assignment.
My initial email from “J” that I received while composing my WTH just happened email said that:
It is against our Terms of Service to offer Gigs for homework related service.
I think it was pretty clear that I was explicitly NOT doing that, so I completed the email I was working on and responded in the least frustrated manner possible. By this point I had the automated “your gig was removed because it violated this term, yadda yadda yadda” emails. Extremely frustrated, I started chopping potatoes for dinner after sending a separate email response to the your account has been disabled email.
By the time I had the potatoes roasting, I had a response back from “J,” He quoted only the two answers from my mandatory requirement question and said the following:
Your Gigs had in the requirements section the following " (1) This is not for a school assignment. (2) This is for a school assignment." which is contradictory of each other and does not show a clear answer that you do not offer homework services.
Due to this, your account was disabled as we take violations to our rules very seriously. I am sorry but your account will not be restored.
Please contact us back once the full 90 days pass.
Uh, okay what about where I said “Please affirm that this is not for a school assignment.”
Moral of the story: Do not try to CYA against something you do not actually want to do. It is confusing for CS and the Editorial team, even when you have explained that you have not violated the rules.
I still await a reply to my second email that was a general response to my account being disabled. If I get it all fixed, I will happily stay on Fiverr and see if it actually goes anywhere. Otherwise, time to move up the timeline on my Patreon plan.
Side note: I would love to help them identify all sorts of violations, but it is way too time consuming for anything other than the big stuff. The other day I sent them a screen grab of a scammer buyer request that wanted to use a US bank account to funnel money. The reply - “Can you give us the user name?” Uh no, I can only see what you see in the screen grab. I am not going to use an offer to see the name. Surely someone on the back-end can track it down. How about you add a report button to the buyer request list?
I can screen grab all day if you pay me. $5 a report.