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A better Fiverr for all of us

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I know that Fiverr gets a lot of suggestions on daily basis from people who just want their personal issues resolved or wishes granted. However, I have taken a different approach to this.

Being an almost 3-year old seller here on Fiverr, I have compiled a set of problems that may be easy to solve and will make Fiverr a better community overall. I realize that this list is not perfect and needs working out, this is why I’m posting it here and not directing it to Fiverr’s tech support. Maybe we can refine it together. However, I do believe that most sellers will agree to what I’m about to say.

First of all, I strongly believe that certain buyers are given too much power in their hands. I have come across a ton of buyers that threaten with negative feedback in order to get their money back AND get the service that they paid for. I will not go as far as calling them scammers, but you know what I’m talking about. A negative feedback can be devastating to a seller that takes his business seriously, especially if his feedback history is spotless. The single negative feedback will stick out like a sore thumb. Once the negative feedback is there, it is solely up to the buyer whether he wants to remove it or not. When faced with a negative feedback, you don’t have any options except to offer a full refund. The buyer gets your service for free basically. Don’t you think it is too easy to scam sellers out for free services this way? We have no independent arbitrage of some sort, no third party to hear both stories and decide what’s right. And this brings us to…

Suggestion #1 - Dispute escalation

Fiverr customer support can easily eliminate this problem. The model is already there and a lot of companies are using it. When faced with a dispute, the seller and buyer should be allowed to discuss and work out the problem. If they cannot reach an understanding though, the Resolution center could contain a new option to escalate the case to the Customer support, where a representative will review it and make a final (FAIR!) decision. If the buyer wins, he gets a refund. If the seller wins, he gets to keep his money without the threat of a negative feedback.

And then there is the occasional stubborn brat that cannot be reasoned with. They expect from the seller way too much even though the description clearly states what they’re getting for the $5. I have had people pressure me to deliver their orders within 24 hours despite the fact that they didn’t order Express delivery which costs an extra $25.

When their ridiculous demands are not met, they leave a negative feedback and don’t even want to negotiate. Instead they reply to your messages with insults.

The trick is, Fiverr customer support won’t remove a negative feedback without the buyer’s consent and obviously the buyer won’t be giving such consent any time soon.

This is also an issue with unfair competition. I’m sure that a lot of you have had this problem before, where a competitor would order one of your gigs and then leave a negative feedback just to hurt your business.

Suggestion #2 - Easier Unfair Feedback removal

This is actually the simplest problem to resolve. All that needs to be done is for customer support to introduce a new standard when they get a request to remove Unfair feedback. Instead of insisting for the buyer’s consent, if the seller presents a strong case the Customer support should remove the feedback. Simple as that. Of course, the standards and criteria should be clearly outlined somewhere so that we can know in which cases we are eligible for feedback removal without buyer’s consent.

There are times when you may be able to work out a misunderstanding with a buyer, but he is simply not responding to the messages for some reason. I have had several such cases. I send out suggestions on how we can work it out to the buyer, but I get no replies. I contact customer support to remove the feedback, but they reject my requests and instead tell me to work it out with the buyer. How can I work it out with a buyer that is not responding? Communication requires at least two people. Maybe the buyer is gone from Fiverr, who knows. Maybe he doesn’t want to respond to any messages. Maybe he is on vacation. In all of those cases, you’re stuck with a negative feedback despite the fact that you’re willing to resolve the issue. This is a very nasty loophole.

Suggestion #3 - Unresponsive party

When a dispute is started between a seller and a buyer, each party has a pre-determined time to respond to a message. In my opinion 3 days is plenty. If any side fails to respond within that time, the opposing side automatically wins the case.

And lastly, we have the automatic negative feedback that is left when an order is not delivered on time. I have had several of these cases as well. In rare occasions, there would be a situation where the buyer would leave improper or incomplete instructions, or some other complication would occur that requires the buyer’s input. However, the buyer would fail to respond on time and the order would go overdue. The buyer would then cancel the order with no word of warning and you’ll be left with an automatic negative feedback.

Now, this is completely deserved. I agree - you shouldn’t allow an order to go into overdue at all. If you have an unresponsive buyer, just cancel the order. However, in case that it does happen…

Continued in part 2

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Suggestion #4 - Expiry of an automatic negative feedback

An automatic negative feedback should last 3 months and then be automatically removed. I strongly believe that in 3 months the seller will learn his lesson and prevent that from happening. No need to brand his account permanently for a beginner’s mistake. I see a lot of accounts with 3-4 negative feedback that they got from the time they were inexperienced sellers. Nowadays they wouldn’t allow that to happen but they are stuck with the negative feedback anyway. It kinda defeats the purpose of improvement, right? This should be valid only for automatic negative feedback left due to late order cancellation though.

Now that we have covered the negative feedback issues, let’s talk about some other improvements as well.

Have you ever come across a customer that you simply don’t want to serve? Maybe you have had a bad experience in the past, maybe you consider the buyer a scammer but for whatever reason you don’t want the buyer to be able to buy your gigs. It would be great to…

Suggestion #5 - Blacklist

Each member, be it a buyer or a seller (but especially sellers) should have an option to blacklist other members and prevent them from buying, messaging or both. I know that the button Report performs a similar function, but it doesn’t prevent the member from purchasing gigs as far as I know. Then again, maybe I’d like to blacklist a member from purchasing my gigs, but not from messaging me. In that case, if the member decides to play fair, he can contact me and request an unblock. Ideally sellers should receive a warning when receiving a message from a blacklisted seller. A good idea would be to ban the member if too much sellers blacklist him.

Aside from the bad stuff that I have mentioned so far, it would be great if we could do something good for our buyers as well. I’m thinking…

Suggestion #6 - Coupons and discounts

I have a lot of regular customers that I’d like to provide with extra services as a reward for their loyalty. Right now I am forced to improvise, have them order a cheaper gig for a more expensive service. It would be great though if we could issue coupon codes to customers that we choose. I believe that it would strengthen the relationship between a buyer and a seller and would result in much more returning customers. In example, if I were to give a free gig on every 5th order, I would be getting much more returning customers. Of course there is no general solution to this, so it is best to leave it up to the seller to decide which gigs get coupons, how much and in which conditions.

And last but not least…

Suggestion #7 - Partial withdrawals

I love it when I withdraw my cash in a big batch and indulge in luxuries from time to time. However, sometimes I just need a small amount to pay for a domain, to order something cheap etc. Yesterday I was forced to make a $1000+ withdrawal just to pay for a $14 item via Paypal. For people like me who don’t trust paypal and don’t want to keep money there, this obviously sucks. For that reason, it would be great if we could withdraw only what we need and leave the rest on Fiverr. For some reason I sleep better when my earnings are on Fiverr instead of paypal.

So what do you think? As I said, I know that these suggestions are far from perfect, but maybe we can improve them together with a good, healthy debate and finally get Fiverr to notice and implement them.

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