Fiverr rant #2
I recently wrote about my issues with people who purchase freelancer services on Fiverr. However, as I continue to ponder the issue, I am much more distressed about people who offer their services than about people who buy services on this and similar job boards.
First, let’s back up a moment with a definition: Fiver is an online service where you can hire someone to carry out a specific task for $5.
Here in the U.S., the minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. That’s substantially higher than Fiverr rates.
Worse yet, Fiverr is limited to specialized skills including writing, video, graphics, animation, and even prank phone calls. (OK, maybe that last one isn’t much of a skill.) $5 is underpriced for most any project listed.
Seems to me that Fiverr offers two types of work. The first is tedious, unskilled work that the client doesn’t want to do. I don’t understand hiring someone for these tasks unless the work will require a full hour.
The second type of work is skilled tasks. I can’t fathom any skilled task that is not worth more than $5 even if it requires less than an hour to complete.
So any way you figure it the pay is low.
Why would people take on such low-paying assignments?
They hate to do proactive marketing so they’ll take the work they can get more passively through the impersonal channel of job boards, even if it means being paid very low.
They want to make a few extra bucks on the side and don’t care how little this sum is.
They want to initiate freelancing relationships in the hope that they will land future assignments with the same client at a much higher rate.
They live in a country in which $5 stretches pretty far.
They can do a mediocre job in a few minutes so $5 isn’t as low as it seems.
They want to develop their portfolio and / or their resume with paying assignments. Or they want testimonials.
Most of these justifications are simply pathetic:
Reasons 1 and 2. Some people are simply too timid and fearful to build a reasonably successful practice. Pathetic.
Reason 3: Others are unrealistic. Two times the original rate is a generous multiple IMO, so why would someone pay $50 or even $100 the next time around?
Reason 4: As for the differentials between national economies, I don’t get it. If my work is worth more than $5, I’d go for the higher amount regardless of where I live. I recognize that customers may expect to pay much less for work completed in certain countries, but if you have the credentials and portfolio to support higher rates, why not?
Reason 5: Inexcusable.
Reason 6: The only reason that begins to make sense is the desire for paid experience if you’re new to the skill. However, be aware that Fiverr follows the Ebay model in terms of rating. As I understand Fiverr (though I have never participated on it), the buyers rate the service with minimal opportunity for the individual hired to respond to the rating or appeal it.
So unknown people who may be extremely unqualified to rate your work are rating you. They may rate you poorly because they want their copy written with more big, impressive words. Or Microsoft Word spellcheck may reveal to them errors that aren’t actually incorrect. Or their taste in graphics may run to lots of fonts and lots of colors because this looks fancier to them.
Such assignments may be poor developmental experiences to the service provider because the same job is offered to several individuals at $5 each with the same brief written instructions sent to all. This makes it much more difficult to hit the mark and receive a strong rating. Also, you don’t get the input to enjoy a real learning experience.
The answer? Figure out how to get better low-paying assignments on your own without Fiverr. Stay tuned for more on the subject.
Originally posted 9-30-13