I usually maintain quite a good response time on my profile. On average, it is an hour or less. However, recently, most of my messages have come overnight - that means that I am asleep when they are sent by the buyers. This quickly reduced my response time to 8 hours, with a nice little red circle telling me to become more available.
I can see the benefit of response times for the “Available Now” function, but in fairness, if you are providing a service from a different country with buyers mainly coming from different time-zones, then maintaining that response time for consideration come “evaluation date”, becomes near impossible.
Also, I notice that my “respond to queries” rate is also at 40%, when in the past 60 days I was mostly on extended vacation, and now that I have activated my profile and am fully available, it seems that a lack of “queries and messages” during this time makes it near impossible to restore this response rate.
I maintain a 100% positive rating, 0 cancellations during the review period, and delivery on time. I have 5 star reviews on all my deliveries. So, in fairness, I stand to be penalized for two issues that I can do very little about at this point in time. I am assuming that the rating will be automated, since only TOP RATED sellers are manually selected once they have achieved that $20k sales mark.
Due to the nature of my gigs, I seldom get queries about them prior to orders, and once I have made delivery on gigs I respond to questions in a prompt fashion.
Can Fiverr not adjust response time requirements to within 12 hours for new messages, and perhaps look at the algorithm that is applied to responding to messages - as it is clear that I responded to all the messages I received during the past 60 days but for some reason this is not adequate to adjust the rating.
I honestly do not want to see my rating reduced for things I have little control over. Perhaps they can allow automated replies to new messages, with a requirement that a manual reply be done as follow-up to the automated reply within 8 hours or so. They have to allow for global timezone differences if this is going to be a requirement to maintain your rating.
Messages and replies relate to the rating for both response time and responses to queries and would eliminate a scoring issue that may be biased to sellers outside of the US.