Fiverr scam? Some cautionary tales
We probably spend more time exploring the Fiverr universe than most mortals. Most things are tremendous value and completely aboveboard, but we’ve also come across some questionable gigs, as well as hearing comments from other users who’ve had less-than-stellar experiences.
1) Social Proof or Spoof? You’ve seen all those gigs offering fake Facebook likes or fans. Nobody is going to be impressed when your fan count goes from 5 to 305. Trust us on this.
People can tell when there’s no interaction between you and your supposed fans. These gigs probably aren’t scams as long as the seller doesn’t promise real human interaction while delivering bot accounts. If they pledge likes or fans and you really don’t care where they come from, buy away. Just don’t get your hopes up about making conversions. Bots don’t have wallets.
UPDATE (08/14/12): Pursuant to complaints from advertisers, Facebook is on a mission to eliminate fake accounts. So fake fan gigs could be a complete waste of money.
2) Calling all Tweeters… Same goes for the followers you’ll accumulate by buying them on Fiverr — or by using TweetAdder, which is probably what your Fiverr seller is going to do anyway. Here’s an explanation why.
“I will tweet your message to my 20,000 followers four times a day for a week” sounds impressive but it’s like rain in the desert; it doesn’t leave a trace. We actually fell for one of these gigs early on in our Fiverr career and boy is our face red. Scam? Maybe, especially if the seller knows his followers are mostly bots.
3) Faux Feedback. Warrior Forum member condra says he bought a backlinking gig and left negative feedback because he was unhappy with the results. The gig was suspended and reappeared a week later, with the negative feedback no longer on the page because a long list of positives from one user pushed it down.
While it’s entirely possible that one user buys a gig repeatedly, often it happens in circumstances that are — to say the least — suspect. If you see a relatively new seller who has, say, 10 sequential feedbacks from the same person, it could be he asked a friend to buy his gigs or created another Fiverr account to do it himself. A gig costs $5 and a seller nets $3.92, so the cost of a fake Fiverr feedback would be $1.08.
We wonder if some people buy phony feedback because the potential rewards are high. Just do 100 gigs a month and you’ve made an additional $392.00 or more — nice.
A commenter on this very blog claimed to be a Fiverr insider and stated gigs are ranked on how many positive feedbacks they garner. With over 600,000 active gigs, there’s plenty of motive to cheat.
UPDATE (08/14/12): There’s over a million gigs on Fiverr now.
4) Help You? More Like Helping Themselves Instead. We have an email account on Yahoo with thousands of saved emails. We wanted to extract the addresses but Yahoo doesn’t allow you to do that. A Fiverr seller was offering software that would do the trick. Perfect — until he sent us to a random web page where we were asked to enter our name and password! Alarm bells went off. We backed out hastily. (Just to be clear, a script that could run locally would have been fine. Giving password info to who-knows-who wasn’t.) Come to find out that people use these web pages to scrape email addresses and sell them to spammers. Oh great. At least we got our money back to spend on another gig.
5) It’s Not Theirs. Be wary of people offering to get any ebook or WSO (Warrior Special Offer) you want. Typically they’re buying it on the Warrior Forum or ClickBank, then immediately demanding a refund. They turn around and try to sell it on Fiverr. It’s stolen property, though, and we’re sure you wouldn’t want it to happen to you if you were the author. If you see this happening, report it to Fiverr customer service. They will sometimes remove the stolen property.
6) Ban First and Not Ask Questions Later. We’ve experienced something like this ourselves. A technical issue arises, one party contacts customer service, and CS tells them to cancel the order. It seems canceling is their one-size-fits-all remedy. If you’re the buyer, Fiverr has your money and you can’t get it back. You can only spend it on another order — if they’ll let you. They probably will.
7) Big Promises, Small Work. We bought a gig where the seller claimed to be active in over thirty forums and discussion groups. Said he would promote our site in them. End result? He put our URL in his signature in ONE forum for one week and wrote a couple of two-line responses in threads. We are also quite active there so that was $5 wasted. We were ripped off.
Have fun on Fiverr but remember, it costs nothing to put up a gig, so untrustworthy types may be tempted. Use your good common sense and be careful out there.