Fiverr Forum

Resellers & the Slow Murder of the Small Time Internet Startup


Ok, anyone in sales has heard that old “sell me this pen/bottle of water” interview question. Also, if you do know what I’m talking about, you’ll know that selling isn’t easy. That said, if someone asks you to sell a pen or a bottle of water, in the very least case, you will probably have a picture of the item in question to work with.

My point? Even the best salesperson in the world can’t sell diddly squat if they don’t know what it is that they are selling in the first place. This is why it really upsets me when I get an order or a request for a custom offer on Fiverr, and the person in question simply can’t tell me what they want.

This happened a few minutes ago with a guy asking if I could write 10 x 500-word articles. I said yes, but stated that I would also require a fuller brief before I could agree to work with them. In reply, the potential buyer sent me a link to a Lorem Ipsum blanketed website with some screenshots and 50 words of copy about their fantastic accounting software.

Now, if you have accounting software which sounds a bit Sagey, you really need a sales copy that is going to blow peoples minds. To do that, someone like me needs to know what this software actually does.

Is it web based? What are the minimum system requirements if it is not? Is it scalable to any size business? WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY BLOOMING DO???

Here’s the problem, though: Many of these resellers not only don’t know what it is they need a sales copy for, rather, they get hostile with people like me for simply asking these kinds of questions.

The result? These buyers choose to work with (usually cheaper) sellers who won’t ask these questions and make their life inconvenient. They will then get some semblance of a sales copy back which is God awful before passing this on to their end client.

The even bigger problem? Many end clients don’t know anything about marketing. They might have a phenomenal product but when it comes to the science behind a sales copy or SEO, they too will not know how to assess the quality of what their supposedly absolutely fabulous web marketing whizz kids have provided them with.

The end result: A startup which is never going to get off the ground.

Is this a rant? Kind of. Actually, though, I have a solution. If Fiverr after all, took itself directly to these floundering startups, they might have a better chance of survival. The only question is, how do we and/or how does Fiverr go about doing this?



Thank you, Spiderman.


I have to ask the question, if they’re that incompetent, should they get off the ground at all?


Actually, it’s not necessarily about small businesses being incompetent.

As a case in point, the first time I ever heard the term SEO was in 2010 (ish) at an annual general management meeting. At these events, the hotel managers and permanent but out of head office employees would all be plied with wine while different head office departments took the stand and made themselves out to be the bees knees by talking about lots of complex things us common folk weren’t supposed to understand.

I hated this, as after working in NZ, I personally regarded our marketing department as in the stone age. However, the majority of praise was always afforded to the mysterious IT department who were doing all these new cool new things called SEO and Social Media Marketing.

The problem is, they weren’t. I look at my old companies website and social media pages these days out of nosiness and I’m horrified. (Plus I still get furious with the marketing dept).

Anyway, my point is that many modern businesses are addicted to outsourcing. My companies problem was that they were just hiring millennial talkers for the top IT and marketing positions, not people with actual practical know how.

This same problem is then exemplified when it comes to startups as they trust people of a similar pedigree (who present themselves as flashy SEO and web marketing experts) to get their own web marketing off the ground.

i.e. Sally has just come up with a brilliant new Iphone app concept. The only problem is that to get a patent, she’s going to have to cough up $2,000, before spending $5,000 on development. Because Sally has barely that capital to start with, she’s going to jump at the chance of having all the web marketing and website development she needs doing in the background, (and doesn’t have a clue how to do herself) for just $500.

The only problem is that the company offering to do this for her doesn’t know a potato from a McVities Chocolate Digestive when it comes to web marketing. They just want to outsource as much as possible for as little as possible to people on Fiverr and other platforms.

Ideally, I, therefore, want Sally to come directly to Fiverr and decide who she wants to work with in. Even better, I want Sally to find people like me, who even if they are presented with a crap business idea, will do the best they possibly can to help her take it somewhere.


From my POV, yes, maybe not the hostile ones so much (though I think a lot of people tend to get a bit defensive and maybe even hostile, if their competence is being questioned, they might not be completely incompetent or at least not truly villaineous though :wink: ).
But people who make awesome things or have awesome skills but just suck badly in selling their products, skills or themselves? Yes, why not.
Not sure though how we can do something there, if they don´t come by themselves and actively look for people who are good in what they aren´t, and pay them to help them with it, and not entirely sure why we should do fiverr’s marketing people’s jobs :wink: but generally, yes.


Well my point is that I think we/Fiverr should be doing something to attract small businesses especially, when it comes to them searching out certain services.

Think of it this way, if you’re in my home town in the UK and you Google web marketing or development (or whatever) and so on. you will likely find Google results for agencies which provide these services in that specific area. As a way of drawing such people in before they get captured by the Parana fish bowl of fake outsourcing agencies, Fiver should, therefore, start positioning itself between these people somehow.


Ah, I thought that small businesses, start ups, solopreneurs and all that were their main target group anyway. Of course they should do something to attract them, yes. :slight_smile:


I fully agree, those are the kind of people that Fiverr should be targeting. It is incredible how many start-ups don’t know how to market, where to go to get marketing materials/marketers. In fact, there is often opportunities to either upsell your own services, resell services or simply suggest other people to buyers.
This post I wrote gives an example of such a situation All Sellers - Take a Look Around, Do you Know What’s on Offer?, you probably recognize the story Cy.

The gigs I offer tend to attract start-ups or businesses and I often get add-ons that I provide or sometimes outsource. This gives a great impression to buyers and they often come back to me for consultations regarding certain things. Even though I don’t offer it as a gig, with some clients who have ordered my other gigs have placed custom orders of around $50 to consult, give my opinion or just point them in the right direction and it generally takes less than 2 hours to do. I find this kind of work interesting and it also secures a client as a repeat buyer because they know that I know their company at that point.

See the opportunity that is available and make the most of it because many buyers need a lot more help than they let on initially. If the client seems reasonable, has a business and you see a need, ask them about it, give them an indication that you can help with that need and then charge for it. Honestly, most buyers are glad to find good people who are experienced in what they do - especially when it comes to marketing solutions.


Come to think of it, I do recognize that story! Also, yes, the majority of the people I work with regularly are either startups or proficient resellers who know what they are doing. In fact, I have one (sadly infrequent reseller buyer who insists on paying me $10 per 100 words and buys extras. That said, when this happens, I do throw in freebies such as video etc, when orders go to the $100 mark.

I just hate it when (polite as I am -really). I get hostility and lost clients, simply due to those clients not having a clue what they need.


Fiverr encouraging more of these people to come and use Fiverr won’t mean that we will get people who know what they need, though.

And Fiverr’s not going to say ‘of all the level 2 sellers, these 5 are the good ones’. So it will just get more people coming to us not knowing what they need.

Maybe sell them a marketing strategy checklist/strategy for start-ups so they can see what they’re missing.


Sounds like a good idea, or they could maybe diversify their blog a bit and then mail and or else make marketing efforts with tasty bites from the blogs to direct them to the blog.

They already have posts for buyers there, but maybe write more of it for specific buyer groups too and visually split it up clearer so busy buyers immediately can see where to go to find the information pertaining to them.

Different ‘categories’,for sellers (could be a bit more specific too like for full time sellers (or wannabes) and hobby sellers, for sellers in different categories etc.), for buyers, for people who already run a business, for people who should be buyers, maybe and how to find good sellers and make the best use of fiverr for their usecase and all that. A lot of that will overlap, but could maybe be solved with some kind of tag system, so the relevant posts get posted in all relevant categories.

Sounds like a bit of work and maybe like a new job or two though, but if the marketing it was good enough to bring enough buyers/buyer groups with lots of work to do who´d else not have found fiverr…

Where do they look when they need work done and don´t find fiverr? Google only, or CL, ebay, local (online) newspapers? Pick them up where they are. And tell them what they need, if they don´t know it.


It’s in the nature of the market place that many of the small companies don’t go to Fiverr. There are too few sellers from the Netherlands (or Speaking Dutch), or sellers that are able to understand the way things work in the Netherlands because they have experience here. Many people would like to have a Dutch speaking person making their website, so they can articulate their demands in their native language.

There are also quite a lot of time involved in getting things right. If you don’t know how a website is built and what a good website looks like, chances are that you get a website that is not good (the quality of work delivered is quite variable). Many people go to a webdesign firm, because they lack the time or the know-how to assess the quality of the website, so they leave it to an expert.

Finally, we are not able to meet our clients. This is really useful if you want to do more than just churning out articles for clients. Some of my clients outside of Fiverr receive a lot of help with marketing, but that is only because I can see their products, I know their targets and also because I know the preferences, skills and character of the buyer. I meet them regularly or at least I call them. Within the Fiverr system this is not possible.