There is plenty of advice for the newcomers on this forum and generally on fiverr about how to become a successful seller. Perhaps the most crucial element of these tutorials is the necessity to promote our own gigs off platform. For this discussion we assume that the seller is good enough at doing his gig to offer at least an average service, and satisfactorily fulfill the requirements of the buyer.
It is a no-brainer that one can only sell a service if there are potential customers finding and reading the offers. The issue is only where the traffic supposed to come from. Based on my experience most new sellers come to fiverr with the expectation that they will post their gigs, and the potential customers browsing the site will find them and place orders. However, this expectation goes out of the window when the competition saturates the site in certain niches (as it has already happened in most cases). Very few customers will brows through hundreds of offers just to find and buy a gig from newcomers, and there is even less chance that the lucky fellow will be you.
Even though fiverr mainly promotes the best sellers, the gigs of newcomers will also be shown to some potential buyers, so partially it is correct that some people will find and read such rookie gigs. But this traffic most probably will not be sufficient to make a number of sales worth mentioning. Here comes in the necessity to promote our own gigs outside of fiverr.
But if I have to promote my gig elsewhere in order to find customers and make sales, then where is the incentive to post my gigs on fiverr and bring my customers here? The whole point in becoming a seller here is to find customers on this platform and skip the need for self advertising. If I have to promote my services elsewhere and find customers from such self promotion, then why not just put up a simple one page website, or a blog to offer my service and direct the traffic to that page? The customers then can pay directly to my PayPal account, or use any other online payment processor. In such a setup there is the extra advantage that the potential buyers don’t get sidetracked with the offers of the competition on the same platform. Also, if one is not from the US and receives the payments via PayPal that takes about 4%, and has to convert the USD into local currency via PayPal that costs another 4%, then one receives only about 72% of the money paid by the customer.
If fiverr would take care of the sufficient promotion, then the ~30% loss would be kind of OK, since it is the cost of finding customers. But if I have to do the promotion on my own elsewhere, then from my point of view this business model loses its feasibility.
Now I expect some people will say something like ‘suit yourself, go and do your business elsewhere’, but that won’t eliminate the apparent conflict of interests. I am also not complaining about anything, just would like to see some valid arguments pro and contra about the rationality of promoting my service elsewhere and taking my customers to fiverr, instead of offering them direct service.
Naturally both options can run in parallel simultaneously. One can have a separate freelance site or blog that gets the traffic from his own advertising efforts, while keeping some gigs on fiverr as well, as long as it does not need extra promotion.