Founded in 2010, Fiverr has built a multi-million dollar marketplace from selling $5 gigs. Due to their massive amount of success, a number of competitive marketplaces have popped up around the web and many have turned successful. One competitor, SEO Clerks, started in 2011 and no looks Fiverr in the eye when it comes to budget SEO services. SEO Clerks immediately allowed users to create offering from $1 to hundreds. It took Fiverr until Novemeber of 2015 to announce they would allow sellers to offer gigs at a higher price than $5. With technology moving as fast as it is, Fiverr cannot continue to take 4 years to adapt to features that other competitors offer. Let’s take a look at 7 problems Fiverr needs to face to stay competitive in 2016.
1. They cannot continue to take 20% fees on $100+ gigs.
Fiverr is the king of fees. Every and anything you do has a fee on it. If you’re selling a $250 service on Fiverr, you can expect Fiverr to take $50 immediately. If your margins are only 30%, there’s not much left. 20% fees is discouraging top vendors, and real agencies from offering their services. Instead, Fiverr has built itself a reputation of offering poor quality services simply because there are not enough quality vendors participating on the platform. The best vendors and agencies tend to stick to selling on industry forums.
2. They need to work on their gig requests system.
Gig requests are basically an opportunity for sellers to spam their gig to as many people as possible. Upwork, formerly oDesk, a freelance platform, also faced the exact same issue before they merged with Elance. Elance always had higher quality bids on jobs posted, because they gave users a credit system which restricted freelancers to the number of projects they could bid on in a day. This caused freelancers to switch from their shotgun approach of applying to jobs, to a sniper approach, where they had to accurately match their skills with a job post, and cater to the employer.
A similar credit system may not solve Fiverr’s spam problem, but the Fiverr executives need to sit down and face this problem immediately. Personally, I’ve tried requesting a gig many times, and I’ve received nothing but spam and unrelated gig offers, and have never successfully worked a deal doing so.
3. They need to fire their QA and bug testing team.
Okay, maybe not fire, but they have some work to do when it comes to user experience. For example, have you ever tried to search a decimal on Fiverr? Hopefully not, because it doesn’t work. So, if you’re looking for SEO services, you might search “web 2.0” but you’ll find that you can’t actually search for web 2.0 properties on Fiverr. These are simply irritating to a buyer, and a direct cause of frustration and loss of sales. This kind of stuff cannot be happening at this level.
4. They need to overhaul their review system.
There are 4 things Fiverr needs to look at in their review system. Fiverr needs to allow reviews to be sorted by length, or usefulness. For example, Amazon allows users to vote on helpful reviews. Looking at the top reviews for a gig on Fiverr, compared to the top reviews for a product on Amazon is very different.
Secondly, the maximum word count needs to be expanded. If you’re dropping $50 on an SEO service, you certainly want to know what you’re getting, and the only way to find our what you’re getting is by looking at comprehensive reviews. Fiverr heavily restricts the length of reviews, so buyers cannot describe in great detail the quality of work they received.
Thirdly, seller ratings on buyers needs to be removed. This is counter productive to what Fiverr is trying to do with reviews. Fiverr is discouraging buyers from telling the truth and rating the gig honestly, by allowing the seller to respond with a star rating. Buyers, like anyone else, naturally want to get a good rating, so during a bad experience, the buyer gives the seller a fiver star, moves on and never uses him again. It is the most painless and most beneficial option to the buyer. Future buyers see the 5 star rating, and continue to buy. Sellers should be allowed to defend themselves and have their say against bad reviews, but the star system needs to be removed. It is discouraging to the buyer.
Lastly, they need to promote users to leave longer reviews. They need to inspire buyers to leave reviews by asking them a few questions before showing the text box to leave a review. Buyers just have no interest in sharing a solid review, and the team at Fiverr needs to find ways to change that like other marketplaces have.
5. They need an affiliate network.
Fiverr needs to open up an affiliate network to allow outsiders to recommend and promote gigs for a commission. There have already been other marketplaces who have recently jumped on this, so I assume Fiverr will eventually adapt and get their own affiliate system within the next 2 years.
6. They need to double their turn around time limit.
If Fiverr is going to allow $1000 gigs to be offered, they need to understand most gigs over $250 take time to deliver. If a seller has done all the work on a $500 service, and is waiting on third parties, it may take time. The last thing a seller wants to do is take 31 days to deliver a $500 gig and have the buyer opt for a refund, even though the services have already been performed.
Expanding the turn around time from 30 days to 45 or 60 days would open the doors to big business like digital marketing agencies who generally take a long time to deliver their work.
7. They need to implement instant messaging.
Buyers continuously try to exchange Skype handles in pursuit of talking to the seller in a live chat. Upwork recently implemented live chat which completely removed the need to switch the conversation on Skype. Their live message system allows freelancers and employers to conduct interviews in an organized and quick manor.
One advantage that marketplaces like SEO Clerks will always have over Fiverr is their lack of rules. Fiverr has endless rules on what can and cannot be offered on Fiverr. Chances are, if it’s not available for sale on Fiverr, it’s probably not allowed.