Fiverr Community Forum

[UPDATED] A Review of Fiverr's Review System - Buyer & Seller Perspective

Reviews are very important to how the site works. They have a huge influence, possibly the greatest single factor, on where a buyer spends their money and how successful a seller is here.

With that in mind, it is imperative that all changes to the system, how it works and the affects these have are reported on so people can keep up to date on it and know what is going on. Unfortunately, this does not happen and often the forum is the only place where we really get info on these things.
Frankly, that is not good enough - from the perspective of both a buyer and a seller.

The original thumbs up/thumbs down system involved a single click for a buyer to give their opinion. It was quick and something that very few would not do. I understand that this was very basic and did not give enough detail about the experience. While it was sufficient for a platform where most sales were $5, a more robust system was needed for larger orders and the star system was rolled out. For me, this system is not bad, aside from the fact that the three sections can lead to a misleading rating. eg. someone asked whether they will buy again or recommend a service may give one star for that simply because it was a one off purchase. That gives the seller a 3ish rating overall. Fair?

From a buyer’s perspective, the system as it stands now is cumbersome and involves 4 clicks and a comment (public review) then a further click and two comments as well as the possibility to click on endorsements for the seller’s skills (private feedback). This is a long way from the single click reviews and the questions arise:

Is it better?
In some ways, yes but like my example above, it can lead to misleading reviews.
Suggestion: Remove the 3 part approach and allow the buyers to choose from 1-5 stars and then explain their reason in the comment. Get rid of the automatic comments so that when a buyer chooses a star rating, they need to explain it as it is no longer based on 3 potentially subjective questions. This will result in more honest reviews as well as encouraging buyers to point out specific positives and negatives about their experience which are much more useful to other buyers.

Does it do what was intended?
To a new buyer, leaving a review does not really register as being important and is more of a courtesy or a way to vent some frustration. To knowledgeable buyers, the importance of reviews is probably known as they rely on them themselves and will probably have had sellers asking them to leave reviews. The issue is that the whole review system is now cumbersome and has too many parts.
Suggestion: Only require private feedback for cancellations. Why should a buyer be allowed to leave positive public feedback and say something different in private? This will lead to more honest reviews that the seller can learn from and other buyers can use for guidance. Private feedback is only necessary when the buyer cannot review publicly - ie. when an order is cancelled.
Edit: Forgot to mention that I think the endorsements part could be really useful but it should be moved to the public review section and the effect of endorsements should be explained to sellers.

My review experience/viewpoint as a buyer:
With over 160 purchases, I think I have probably left reviews on them all. This is because I know the value of a nicely written review. As I often work with the same people and with people I “know” from the forum, I make sure to leave reviews. This is due to the fact that as a seller I know their value and how the seller will appreciate it. I would not do this otherwise. Today I was completing an order and I decided to check out something I had read on the Fiverr Blog (a throwaway line in a bigger article). Namely, that orders could not be completed without a review.
It is not possible to complete orders without leaving feedback!
I accepted delivery and then skipped the public review and the private review yet the order was still showing as active. I tried doing the private review only and the same thing, it sat in my Orders list. Only by also leaving the public review did it disappear.
So what do I take from this as a buyer?
Why is Fiverr forcing me to review? Being pushed/forced to do anything is not the way to get honest opinions from anyone for anything. It can leave a bad taste to have to review so an order can complete - maybe they won’t bother out of spite or irritation. The order then autocompletes after 3 days and the buyer has not left a review. Forcing a review is not conducive to actually getting honest reviews that we all want to see - it’s counterproductive.

The honest and informative reviews would come if Fiverr were to simplify the process, give an incentive such as pointing out the value of reviews for sellers and buyers and finally, removing the automation that actually hinders honest opinions being shared.

UPDATE: I have a second theory as to why I now have to wait 3 extra days for 70-80% of my earnings due to less buyers accepting orders. Another new update which was introduced recently was the warning to buyers that they cannot request further changes after accepting delivery. Now, for graphic gigs with watermarks, this makes sense as the buyer can see the final work but cannot get a usable version until they accept. For other gigs, this is nonsensical as what buyer would give up the right to make changes when they don’t have to? When I send my delivery to a buyer, there is no incentive to complete the order - instead there is a disincentive. This needs to be looked at as it is simply unfair and was not well thought through before being implemented. Perhaps it should only apply to watermarked gigs.

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I think it is still wide open to abuse. Check my recent one star feedback (and my corresponding response). Fiverr CS will not remove it as they have some oddball new policy about violating TOS is not enough to remove a review, but the review has to violate feedback policy, of which there is no actual written document.

So, in my very recent (and still touchy) personal experience, I do not think the system has improved all that much.

I will stop moaning about this soon, promise!

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I agree and it ties in with my request that all review related changes/measures should be clearly laid out for both sellers and buyers. I went through your review response yesterday (phew!), it’s not good enough that this can be allowed. I have had a number of unfair reviews removed in the past where the buyer was simply trying to get work done for free. None recently though.
What he says about “She WON’T REFUND you, so your only choice is to accept WHATEVER she writes EVEN if you don’t like it” is ridiculous in the sense that DUH! of course you have to pay for what you get. It shows a mentality of I can do what I want and won’t pay you for your work. I have come across very few buyers like that but have heard of more from the forum - These people need to be shaken and woken up to reality. Subjective gigs are subjective. The review should be removed for that point alone - the 1 star is because they didn’t get a refund even with their passive-aggressive “cancel it or don’t and we will leave a negative review” attitude.

I agree with you that this is overdone. There are a variety of ways to address it and I like the option for buyers to endorse skills, but overall the process is now too complex.

I agree with this entirely. I know that the “would buy again” question has caused my buyers to leave a lower rating because they are trying to be honest. They don’t always think through that the question is really more complex, so they leave a lower star on that one because they won’t need to buy again or they don’t recommend freelance services to other people at all. The “forced” questions were already a problem before the entire review process became forced. Now they are worse.

I applaud what I think Fiverr is trying to do with this by getting more buyers to review and to be honest instead of just skipping it to be nice. I don’t think force is going to accomplish it. It may reveal more sellers with poor skills, but it may also result in good sellers getting fewer reviews at all, or getting some 2.5-3 star ratings when they buyer really only had a minor problem.

Also, I think it’s very important to note that if buyers choose not to review, this makes clearance time for funds 17 days or so. With adjustments for time zones and the timing of varied withdrawal methods, it could easily run 18-21 days before the seller sees their money in a spendable form. I know I’ve personally seen a drop in reviews in the past week, so that means my own funds will get from Fiverr (then through PP) and to my bank account 5 days later than usual, on average. Most buyers aren’t aware of this either. The only mention of the change was in a blog post, so buyers and sellers are mostly uninformed about the impact.

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Or maybe they will leave a 3 star rating or something, because they’re rating the entire experience - including being forced to review.

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Absolutely. We already see that many buyers do not differentiate between Fiverr and the individual sellers. It is clear from the forum and the fact that some buyers who have a bad first experience may never come back despite the fact that they will only have had a bad experience from 0.000001% of the sellers here.

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Apart from all the real content here, which may or may not be all that simple, there´s one thing that really is simple, the form.

I´d appreciate being informed when the rules of a game I´m playing are being changed one-sidedly, and I don´t count some vague text in some blog post as being informed. You know, guys, you got our email addresses.

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Quite frankly… We shouldn’t have to go blog surfing to gather intel. Fiverr can send out a mass email to all with changes, that affects us all in one form or the other. Touching on what Emma described yesterday. She managed to get info from a CS Lead about a policy that’s invisible, this is just a waste of time for Sellers/Buyers to get clarity on the matter. Information should be laid out on the table.

There’s reason Fiverr does not send mass email, and the reason is acknowledgement of TOS updates.

Meaning, buyer/sellers can come back to Customer Support regarding an issue, but when reminded of updated TOS or whichever, the buyer/seller can easily say they never received such update notification etc.

Thus opening up a new can of worms for Customer Support to deal with. As it is now, they are making you responsible to keep yourself updated of any TOS or other updates.

It is simply a liability thing with Fiverr atm.

I´m registered on a site where I can´t even log in before actively accepting the updated TOS every time they change it, since quite a few years. Can´t be that difficult to do.

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I’ve noticed an uptick of sellers saying that their buyers have not accepted the order yet. I am beginning to wonder if some of the buyers are unaware of this new function.

They may accept and then skip the reviews/feedback, like they have always done, without realizing it. They only way I knew is because I went back to the order page.

BTW: A month or so ago, public review was optional while private feedback was mandatory for the order to be accepted. I am guessing by what Eoin said, now both Review & Feedback are mandatory for the order to be marked accepted?

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In the past 10 days I have had 15 orders. 3 left reviews and the rest were automatically completed.
My usual rate of buyers reviewing is 72% and the past 10 days it is 20%. This can’t be a coincidence. The forced buyer reviews clearly do not work and this needs to be fixed.

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I couldn’t agree more.

Wow. The entire article is spot on! You are so right @eoinfinnegan

The review system can be cleaned up to better reflect real experiences.

Also, is it fair that 1 bad review can ruin your entire reputation?

:bulb: Joe

I noticed a big drop off in reviews lately.

Are buyers still getting the notice that they can leave a tip after an order?

The option to tip comes up after the private review but not otherwise.

I am leaning more towards the issue being the warning buyers get - see the update I made at the bottom of the OP.

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I agree. That’s scaring them away from leaving reviews even on gigs like mine.

It is a warning not to leave a review basically.

My review rate for the past week is 30% which is less than half the usual rate.

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This is interesting…I came across a gig in which the seller states “If you leave a positive review you get 50 free words.” I felt a bit uneasy about that one. To me it’s borderline unethical. I felt the urgency to request feedback as a new seller but I’ve stopped asking unless it’s someone who lets me know they have loved my work. I’ve noticed for the most part I don’t even have to ask.

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Oh gosh I didn’t even realize they’re asked this! Makes sense to me now!