Fiverr should be called Fourer

I’ve recently started doing some work on Fiverr.com, a small services marketplace that offers people the chance to do odd jobs starting at $5. I first heard about it on My University Money, and after ruminating over it for a few months, decided to give it a try.

As a buyer, you pay $5 for a small service. You can browse existing advertisements or you can post your own request and wait for interested sellers. Currently, there are buyers looking for logos, website design and writing, for example.

Photo Credit: Giovanna Spina (http://www.flickr.com/photos/greatg/3526546855/)

As a seller, you post your services in the form of a one sentence headline. Ads range from the useful and intriguing: “I will record a jingle for your established company for $5” to the bizarre: “I will break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend hood style for $5”. …Hood style? There are sellers offering services in translation, writing and even finger puppetry.

I put up an ad offering to write short 250 word blogs for $5. In my ad description, I asked the buyer to also provide links, if they have it, to similar style blogs and background information. Now, I’m a pretty fast writer and honestly, a 250 word “blog” is basically a copy-writing service. It takes me about 15 minutes to crank out a quality post, especially if someone provides me with all the information up front. If I was not able to write quickly, doing blogs for $5 would NOT be worth my money. But, judging by the quality of writing I saw in some of the blogging ads, I felt like I had a pretty good chance of impressing people and scoring some jobs.

So then, I waited. It took me two days to get my first job – I wrote two brief blogs for a technology site and was paid $5 for each. Pretty easy money for about 25 minutes of work!

The simplified marketplace system comes at a cost however. If you want to do anything other than sell ONE service for ONE $5 fee, it gets complicated. I recently did another job where the buyer wanted a longer blog and was willing to pay more money for it. But since I was a new member, Fiverr did not allow the buyer to place a larger order or even multiple orders at once. Instead, we had to split the article into several smaller articles and the buyer had to pay me separately for each! What a pain. For frequent sellers who obtain certain “levels” of sales, Fiverr permits options such as paid add-ons and multiple orders.

I was also astonished at the cut that Fiverr takes from each order – a whole dollar! What! So for the luxury of using their site, you pay them 20% of your earnings and have only $4 left. Suddenly it seems like less of a good deal? I can see how Fiverr would be a useful source of income for people in less developed countries – $5 can go quite far in many parts of Asia, even after Fiverr takes its cut. Similarly, for sellers who are able to reuse bits and pieces of their work to complete multiple orders – for example, a website designer who can quickly assemble pre-made widgets together with a new colour scheme – Fiverr might be an efficient way to make small amounts of cash very quickly. But to create a video or a logo or even a well written article – I have my doubts.

For now, I am keeping my ad up and seeing what bites I get. I’ve had pretty good results thus far, with a further three to four orders. Does anyone else use Fiverr, either as a buyer or seller?

Posted in: Career and Work, Money

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