Fiverr is certainly unique, to say the least. They seem to offer outsourcing for everything under the sun, all at an extremely cheap price point – $5. Many people out there may be wondering, is Fiverr a scam?, and the short answer I have for that is it isn’t.
That being said, however, there’s a lot you should know about Fiverr before trying to sell your services or get tasks outsourced. While it may not exactly be a scam, there are scammers within the Fiverr marketplace and it’s up to the customer to do some due diligence before getting totally screwed over.
How does Fiverr work?
Fiverr is an open marketplace where people offer service gigs starting at $5. There’s a massive range of services – writing articles, social media marketing, designing logos, video intros, jingles, writing sales copy, legal documents, fake video or written testimonials, video editing, photo editing, ebook covers, and even some really bizarre crap, to say the least.
Anyone can open up a Fiverr account and start selling their gigs, so the market is extremely saturated. Sellers have to work very hard to create a good reputation, and after they work up to a level 1 they can start offering higher priced gigs. There’s even package options they can sell for more advanced services, so they have the ability to make more money.
Fiverr takes 20% from sellers – so for a $5 gig that’s $1. The seller gets further deductions for PayPal service fees, so in the end, they’ll end up with $3 and some change for a basic $5 project.
The good vs bad on Fiverr
Since there’s a huge variety of what you can find on Fiverr, and millions of people using the platform, you’re going to find a wide range of talent. Some people on Fiverr are very talented and just trying to start a career somewhere, others are just looking for some beer money and yet others are complete scam artists.
From what I’ve discovered, there’s some tasks that are great to have outsourced with Fiverr, and others a complete waste of money. You can really only expect so much for $5.
Red flag services:
- SEO services, like link building
- Social media marketing – getting Facebook likes, twitter followers, etc
- Traffic to your blog – “unlimited” targeted traffic
- Article writing – especially insane things like $5 for 10 unique 500 word articles!
- Any service that has 1,000’s of ONLY 5 star reviews but the gig seems questionable (they’re fake reviews) For example, watch out for things within the bizarre category.. some are so bizarre they can’t even be real
Scammers within Fiverr
Some of what sellers within Fiverr are offering for $5 is so ridiculous that there’s no way they can provide their customer with any tangible results. For example, getting blog traffic takes a lot of work, especially targeted visitors. While your $5 might get you visitors (proven with tracking software like Google Analytics) it’s just going to be bots. Bots are pointless because they aren’t real people and aren’t going to convert.
With people offering 500 word articles for $5, it can be hit or miss. You’re never going to find something of exceptional quality, but you may be able to get something that is OK.
What you need to make sure of is you’re not getting a plagiarized article. Some Fiverr sellers are scraping article from the internet, coding them with characters that look like real english letters to the human eye, but when copy and pasted into Google look like gibberish. The reason they do this is so they can fool programs like Copyscape and say it’s “unique”, when in reality it will do nothing to help your website or SEO.
Another thing writers may do is just put an already published article into some spinner software and claim it as their own. This is almost equally as bad.
However, $5 for 500 words is pretty low in my opinion, so I would never expect something truly original. But it isn’t unique or original content and shouldn’t be sold as such. I wouldn’t recommend ever using their writing services if you care about your content. (There are much better alternatives for content outsourcing)
Ok, so they’re not ALL bad…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to call out all Fiverr sellers as being horrible or scammers. I’m just saying they exist, and as a customer you have to be careful.
There are a lot of sincere people doing honest hard work. I’ve ordered a few gigs from Fiverr and was quite satisfied. These were just little tasks that probably took the person a few minutes, but since it was something I didn’t know how to do (and wasn’t very good at) I would have spent days trying to get it done myself.
The trick is to be realistic with what $5 can get you, and do research on the seller beforehand. You can contact them and see if they’re responsive and interested, and ask for samples of previous work if you wish. It’s also smart to start with only a $5 service and see if you’re satisfied with the seller, and then upgrade your service pack or ask for additional services from the seller in the future.
Buyers are not the only ones that may get a bad deal
Sellers can also get stiffed with Fiverr. Many customers are very rude, and have unrealistic expectations for what $5 will get them – these people will reject their work and leave them with horrible reviews, even if they don’t deserve it.
There’s also many established Fiverr sellers that have gotten their accounts frozen for unknown violations, leaving them with hundreds or sometimes thousands in earnings that they’ll never get paid for. The violations in question I am not sure about, as Fiverr seems to leave that out of the explanation. (Reminds me of banned Adsense accounts!) Still, it is up to the seller to follow Fiverr’s terms of service very strictly.
It’s also very hard for most sellers to earn any real money on Fiverr. It’s oversaturated and you have to really promote your gigs hard to get enough buyers. Even if you do get buyers, you have to be extremely efficient at what you do to make it worth the $5 – otherwise you’ll be working for pennies.
Conclusion – Should you be worried about using Fiverr?
The Fiverr platform itself will not “scam” you – it’s up to the buyer to do their due diligence and not try and buy some gig that is too good to be true (because it probably is).
For sellers, you need to make sure that you’re strictly following Fiverr’s TOS and not try to bite off more than you can chew. In other words, offer a reasonable service for $5 that you can do in a relatively short amount of time, and emphasize the quality of your work. If you want to offer more, create a service pack and upsell your buyers.
Fiverr may be a good stepping stone for budding freelancers who want to start a portfolio, but it isn’t likely going to be a full time job. It’s a decent place to pick up cheap tasks for your website or small business as well, just don’t expect too much.
Hey Wendy, this is great information on Fiverr. I have used this source in the past for article writing and your comments are right on. I got little results that did not pan out at all. But I do blame myself because I did not do my homework completely. Fiverr has been around for years and you are right the buyer and the sender both have to be aware of expectations.
There are some interesting services on there, I would like to know if any of your readers have had really good results with Fiverr.
It seems to be a mixed bag with services from Fiverr, it just depends on who you order the job from and what your expectations are. I think if you need something very quick and simple it is probably a good bet, but anything that gets complicated it is probably best to look elsewhere with people who are more experienced.
Hi there Wendy,
I’ve love and hate relationship with Fiverr. I like that I can get a simple banner done for an affordable fee (I’ve now learned to do them myself using Canva), but I hate it when the seller denied my request without stating their reasons. There’s a seller that I really like but she’s gone on a hiatus and there is no way of getting in touch with her.
Depending on their level of professionalism, some sellers are very cold communicators while others tend to pester you for some kind of tips.
Hiring from Fiverr is not a bad idea, but it takes a lot of research to find a really good seller who would offer their services for $5.
Thanks for sharing your experience Cathy… I have never had a request denied.. but then again I only have gotten very generic things done with Fiverr (I never asked for a unique service, only the cut and paste stuff they do with a bit of personalization). I have never heard of Canva.. I’ll have to check it out!
I love the page, you have done a very thorough and professional job of reviewing Fiverr. I just looked at this site last week myself as I was thinking about making some extra cash and I have 20 years of experience in graphic design and working with graphics. After looking it over I realized the competition was very high and like you pointed out a $3.00 payout in the end didn’t seem worth the time it would take to even do some automated work. I think you have a very informative review, Very fair and balanced. definitely useful for the person who will take the time to read it. Good job.
I think if you have 20 years of experience, you are probably going to provide services worth way more than $5! There are other outsourcing websites you could try that would pay you much more for your time. Have you tried Upwork or Elance?
Hi Wendy, thank you for the information on Fiverr and kudos to you for your entrepreneurial efforts after college! I wish I had found this post sooner. I did use Fiverr for traffic and from various sources and found it to be a waste of 5s as you warned in your red flag section. Actually, I haven’t been back since then, but was on a webinar today with someone I highly respect who mentioned some graphics editing that can be done on Fiverr. I am looking forward to trying that as I need to outsource more. Great information here and good luck in your post college pursuits!
Thanks Nathan 🙂 I think graphics editing would be a decent thing to get on Fiverr for sure.
I have used this service for logo and banner design and have been very satisfied BUT I did get the persons contact info from colleagues of mine who had them do work for them.
Any original article of 500 or more words will not be found on this service period!
I write articles for clients every day and 5 bucks? Not on your life!
Thanks for the eye-opening review!
Hah yeah no kidding… $5 for an article will never get you any type of quality. While there are better places to get cheap articles, at the end of the day if you want anything well written you’re going to have to be willing to spend a bit more.
I have considered fiverr for a few tasks like logo creation and proofreading services. But I have never gone through with it. What are your thoughts on using Fiverr for those two services? Do they screen their employees or those offering services in any way or could anybody offer a service on fiverr?
Logo creation is a great service for getting done on Fiverr, but I’ve never had any proofreading services. It might be OK but it could be iffy. I am just imagining people putting your articles through spell check or something you could easily do yourself lol!
I do not think they really screen people, anybody can list on Fivverr. However the people who are very active, sell lots of services and have lots of reviews are the ones who usually show up first in any search you may do. I would just be careful!
I’m so glad that I found this article. I just used fiverr for the very first time. I’m having a logo done, it’s been a few days, but my experience has been great so far. I didn’t even think of the other services that you mentioned in this article.
I can see how people can get scammed, but you’re right, the system itself is not a scam. Like everything else, you just need to do your research, then hope you’re right.
Now I’m wondering what else can I outsource to one of these freelancers.
Thanks for publishing this post, I really enjoyed the read!
Yeah there are a lot of things you can get outsorced, you just have to be careful. 🙂
The trick with Fiverr is to find a good merchant who does what they claim they do. I got a logo designed on Fiverr recently and was highly impressed with the service. The logo design looked awesome and was done very quickly. The merchant was friendly and very helpful.
If you buy from Fiverr, just be careful!
Yeah exactly! I got a pretty neat logo from Fiverr as well… just have to know what you’re getting into and not try and expect TOO much for $5.
Wow, very good article and review of Fiverr! I have definitely heard of it before, but have always been reluctant to join and try their service because I am worried about being scammed and don’t want to waste $5. After reading what you’ve said about it, I may give it another look but also be careful of scammers since they love to make promises that they know they can’t keep.
Yeah I think it all depends what you are trying to get. I would shy away from article writing, SEO, backlinks, FB likes, etc.. If you want a logo for your website or something then it’s actually a pretty decent place 🙂
Fiverr is definitely not a scam. Most people can ever earn a little passive income by selling some of their services there. Buyers can also get services for as cheap as $5. Most of the time i think it’s the quality which the seller provides. Well, we pay what we get. So can’t really expect much then. Great review anyway!
Very true… you get what you pay for… you can’t expect amazing content or instant Google rankings for $5!
Wendy, this is an excellent overview. I haven’t used Fiverr yet but I’m planning to in the future, and this gives me a great basis on how to make sure I’m not getting scammed, though that picture you included was certianly red-flag-worthy! And $3 ROI to start as a seller… ouch. What services did you purchase?
I’ve purcashed things like logo design and customized YouTube snippets, and for stuff like that it is completely fine.