Jump to content

Why Is Fiverr Losing Buyers?


emmaki

Recommended Posts

As I'm sure some of you have noticed, buyers seem to be fewer than they once were (yes, I am aware that there are plenty of sellers who have plenty of orders). Now, according to Fiverr's own investor reports, they lost over 200,000 active buyers between '22 - '23. I'm linking to the G&M because it helpfully has an analysis of why that's bad. 

We can point to the bogeyman of AI, increased cost of living, all that stuff. Or we could look at what buyers are actually telling us. This buyer signed up this month (er.. March). I declined his job 3 weeks ago because I don't offer proofreading. I didn't think anything of it. Pretty standard stuff. Most people say something like "oh ok thanks" and go off to find someone who offers the right service. However, they keep coming back complaining. Today, I got this: 

image.png.3dddb4e4881f740e9a649b76e23cdb0c.png

I'm not sure what the first sentence is referring to, and the rest just makes me want to hit the block button and - annoyingly - continue with my SPP membership just to keep RTO on to avoid an order that I declined 3 weeks ago

But that doesn't make this guy a bad buyer. He's new to Fiverr and doesn't understand how it works. He also doesn't understand the undercurrent of Fiverr's new review system. I don't know what he's been saying to the other sellers, but if it's anything like what he said to me, I don't want him anywhere near my feedback. 

This buyer - IDK if you'd call him "active" in financial terms - is probably going to leave the platform after 7 sellers have basically declined to work with him. Are Fiverr's own review systems harming its bottom line by causing sellers to reject customers who could damage their profile? Is this causing otherwise "good" new buyers to leave?

Add this to things like:

1. Deceptive AI policies and a ton of sellers using AI to sell AI without disclosure

2. A large marketplace of Pros that is not vetted as well as it used to be

2a) Leading to gigs worth $5 - $25 being sold for $100s 

3) "New Buyers" being weighted more heavily in algorithms (bad reviews and good)

4) Eerily similar responses (GPT) from a large number of sellers using AI to communicate (as recommended by Fiverr)

Fiverr's claims the the decreased number of buyers is a result of its marketing strategy, which is now targeting more upmarket people. That makes sense to me. But is Fiverr - or rather it's sellers - able to provide these upmarket visitors with the service they want? 

Or, are they getting annoyed after endless rejections from sellers who don't want to take on new buyers for a combination of reasons? Let's say this guy gives up and just orders from a random person without asking (they will only reject me anyway) who does the work with AI for $200 and discovers it's AI after the fact. You think they're gonna come back? 

Don't forget, some buyers are finding their profile disabled after they message a few sellers about their offer. They're invited to do this by Fiverr, but Fiverr's automation systems register this as spam and, well, it happens. Meanwhile, the QR code gang know this little restriction and just dance around it effortlessly.

Let's also not forget that all accounts now start as buyer accounts and seller accounts need to be approved. I've seen far too many CS messages effectively saying "don't worry, you can still buy!" to people who have no interest in buying. They are upset and angry because they spent 3 hours filling out their profile and get dismissed with a curt message that tells them nothing about why they've been explained, and CS doesn't explain either. 

It was 200,000 buyers lost last year. This year, with the new review system in place and sellers increasingly anxious about their confusing  scores, I think it could be worse. Fiverr's own policies are creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust, rather than facilitating an open marketplace where people get on with work. 

Edited by emmaki
  • Like 16
  • Haha 1
  • Up 13
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Emmaki,

I am new to Fiverr.  In fact, I am new to freelancing.  

Thanks for your posts.  I have found your thoughts presented in a thoughtful and professional manner.  The number of posts from experienced sellers such as yourself calling Fiverr out on some significant failures is disturbing.  I am beginning to think I should find a different platform on which to offer my services.  The shear number of both buyers and sellers interested in scamming each other is overwhelming me.  Apparently, both buyers and sellers need to be thoroughly vetted and that isn't happening.  

Thanks again for taking time to post your thoughts and, more importantly, your suggestions for solutions.

  • Like 5
  • Up 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I have my own opinions about Fiverr's lack of competence, it's really their inability to understand either audience that's so baffling. They're slapping away hands trying to help them, constantly driving people into the dirt with false platitudes, and embracing AI that is stifling its own success to the point of absurdity. 

It feels like AI is making every decision on their behalf and Fiverr leadership has forgotten how to do even the simplest things in regard to connecting with real humans. 

Edited by levinewman
  • Like 10
  • Up 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, mark_fiedeldey said:

I am new to freelancing.  

TBH, all of the platforms have their pros and cons and you're going to find a mountain of complaints about all of them. I would focus on building your own business away from the platforms and only make them a small source of extra income. You are just a customer to them - and not a valued one, whatever their marketing says. They are all in thrall to the clink of money and nothing else. 

AI isn't smart enough to govern a marketplace yet, and the laws around AI aren't in place yet to stop platforms from abusing their relationship of power with their freelancers (and the AI systems that govern the marketplace). Hopefully that will change soon, at least in the EU. But until then, really, don't invest too much in Fiverr. They are reliant on a steady stream of fresh new (good) talent to replace the old, disgusted talent that is leaving.

Look up Levi just under your comment. He's made over a million on the platform and is leaving in a couple of months (June, I think?) because of the way Fiverr is behaving. Think about that. You'd think a guy who made that much money after Fiverr's 20% would be happy. But he's not. 

Don't worry, nobody at Fiverr is listening to these suggestions. I'm posting them anyway because I'm like a dog with a bone when it comes to this stuff.

  • Like 9
  • Up 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In past, I would have guided the new/first time buyers, accept their offer and work with them without any worry......I'd be very excited that I could help them make their first 'book' and inform them how to upload the book on Amazon, Lulu, B&N, IngramSpark platforms. And even how to do SEO on their portfolio, book description. All this I would do free of charge, out of enthusiasm and to guide them, because they are 'new' on this journey. And I wanted to be a part of their journey.

After the new system's implemented, all I feel is 'fear and worry' now. I really get anxious if a new buyer asks me to help him in his/her book project. It is not because he/she is new. It is because his/her one mistake or not understanding how this strange scoring system works, I could get penalized and lose everything.

I now check, recheck a buyer and his profile again and again in order to make sure things are gonna be fine after the order is placed. I really don't take as many orders now as I used to. Everything on the platform has reached to another level of 'anxiety and worry', a never ending and tiring game of hopelessness and fear!!

 

Edited by designelitely
  • Like 8
  • Up 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fiverr did a great job of creating a system that buyers and sellers have to overcome rather than one that makes everything easy. Add to that a TOS full of things that (at least for my industry - voiceover) just don't exist outside of Fiverr, with Fiverr putting the onus on sellers to explain their system rather than educating buyers themselves. And then further compound the problem with the fact that a lot of folks just don't read anything - your gig, your FAQ, nothing - before trying to place an order and you've got a recipe for a Looney Tunes episode about freelancing. his leads to a lot of unnecessary time spent correcting buyer misunderstandings about the platform. Makes sense it would lead to frustrated buyers that may look elsewhere. 

  • Like 6
  • Up 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If anyone wondered how it turned out with the buyer mentioned in my OP, he got abusive, so I - who would have much rather chewed his head off - went the conservative route so that Fiverr wouldn't turn a deep shade of beetroot and banish me to the netherworld. 

I had to go to the app to block him, since I still can't block people on the desktop. And, of course, I reported him, but he's still on the platform. All because he asked for proofreading and I said "I don't offer that service" because - surprise, surprise - I don't offer that service

 

image.png.b47a892b428ca2562d1048193c3674f8.png

tbh, I think he was drunk. And go contact yourself was quite amusing. But that's not the point. 

Will Fiverr do anything? No. This man has money he wants to spend. Unfortunately, Fiverr's own policies and his behavior are making it hard for him to spend it 😞

  • Like 3
  • Up 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are 21,000+ gigs offering proofreading and editing, why does he insist on you doing it? A number of sellers turned him down, so what? There are still tens of thousands offering the service he's looking for.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, texvox said:

the fact that a lot of folks just don't read anything - your gig, your FAQ, nothing

With the profile and gig re-design, that whole section has to be expanded now, making it even less likely to be read. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, catwriter said:

There are 21,000+ gigs offering proofreading and editing, why does he insist on you doing it? A number of sellers turned him down, so what? There are still tens of thousands offering the service he's looking for.

I have no idea. It's not really hard to see why 6 other sellers noped out of it though, is it? When I first rejected him, he told me that I was missing out on "easy money". 

Yeah, that's not how this works...

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, mandyzines said:

With the profile and gig re-design, that whole section has to be expanded now, making it even less likely to be read. 

Yeah, they did that because they wanted to make it "easier" for sellers by making Fiverr more "personality based"

Uh... your entire marketplace is built around gigs? Only the hidden markets go by "personality". 

My favorite part of the redesign is how they hid skills - including those precious Fiverr Learn certificates) under a small pile of clicks. It's been a while since I saw anyone ask if FL "helps you get more sales". Fiverr's redesign is probably impacting its own elearning sales! 

One can only conclude, yet again, that Fiverr's leadership is... well, I posted all the reviews from former employees elsewhere. I don't need to repeat their unkind words. 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a once fairly active buyer, I still visit the forum but have stopped using fiverr for now.   Etsy .. something of a surprise .. now offers some of what I was buying before.  

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like a lot of online businesses, Fiverr's buyers soared during Covid, then gradually cooled until it was down right SLOW the final months of 2023. That was cited as the reason for the stock slide earlier this year.

I have noticed a BIG difference in the quality of buyers over the years. When I compare today's buyers with 2013's, there is a vast difference in general intelligence and having a real business.

Of course, seller prices have gone up mightily since those days. I give Levi credit for proving writers could earn a full-time living on Fiverr. He started it all for copywriting in 2015. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/3/2024 at 12:01 PM, emmaki said:

As I'm sure some of you have noticed, buyers seem to be fewer than they once were (yes, I am aware that there are plenty of sellers who have plenty of orders). Now, according to Fiverr's own investor reports, they lost over 200,000 active buyers between '22 - '23. I'm linking to the G&M because it helpfully has an analysis of why that's bad. 

We can point to the bogeyman of AI, increased cost of living, all that stuff. Or we could look at what buyers are actually telling us. This buyer signed up this month (er.. March). I declined his job 3 weeks ago because I don't offer proofreading. I didn't think anything of it. Pretty standard stuff. Most people say something like "oh ok thanks" and go off to find someone who offers the right service. However, they keep coming back complaining. Today, I got this: 

image.png.3dddb4e4881f740e9a649b76e23cdb0c.png

I'm not sure what the first sentence is referring to, and the rest just makes me want to hit the block button and - annoyingly - continue with my SPP membership just to keep RTO on to avoid an order that I declined 3 weeks ago

But that doesn't make this guy a bad buyer. He's new to Fiverr and doesn't understand how it works. He also doesn't understand the undercurrent of Fiverr's new review system. I don't know what he's been saying to the other sellers, but if it's anything like what he said to me, I don't want him anywhere near my feedback. 

This buyer - IDK if you'd call him "active" in financial terms - is probably going to leave the platform after 7 sellers have basically declined to work with him. Are Fiverr's own review systems harming its bottom line by causing sellers to reject customers who could damage their profile? Is this causing otherwise "good" new buyers to leave?

Add this to things like:

1. Deceptive AI policies and a ton of sellers using AI to sell AI without disclosure

2. A large marketplace of Pros that is not vetted as well as it used to be

2a) Leading to gigs worth $5 - $25 being sold for $100s 

3) "New Buyers" being weighted more heavily in algorithms (bad reviews and good)

4) Eerily similar responses (GPT) from a large number of sellers using AI to communicate (as recommended by Fiverr)

Fiverr's claims the the decreased number of buyers is a result of its marketing strategy, which is now targeting more upmarket people. That makes sense to me. But is Fiverr - or rather it's sellers - able to provide these upmarket visitors with the service they want? 

Or, are they getting annoyed after endless rejections from sellers who don't want to take on new buyers for a combination of reasons? Let's say this guy gives up and just orders from a random person without asking (they will only reject me anyway) who does the work with AI for $200 and discovers it's AI after the fact. You think they're gonna come back? 

Don't forget, some buyers are finding their profile disabled after they message a few sellers about their offer. They're invited to do this by Fiverr, but Fiverr's automation systems register this as spam and, well, it happens. Meanwhile, the QR code gang know this little restriction and just dance around it effortlessly.

Let's also not forget that all accounts now start as buyer accounts and seller accounts need to be approved. I've seen far too many CS messages effectively saying "don't worry, you can still buy!" to people who have no interest in buying. They are upset and angry because they spent 3 hours filling out their profile and get dismissed with a curt message that tells them nothing about why they've been explained, and CS doesn't explain either. 

It was 200,000 buyers lost last year. This year, with the new review system in place and sellers increasingly anxious about their confusing  scores, I think it could be worse. Fiverr's own policies are creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust, rather than facilitating an open marketplace where people get on with work. 

Recently I had a buyer who posted brief. I applied, but they already selected someone else.

After 2 weeks, he came back (in tired mood) saying "its unbelievable guys with great ratings unable to do my job..."

He worked with me and was happier with end result.

 

So I learned Fiverr is MATCHing buyer with wrong sellers.

Good statistics are necessary, but a match is compulsory.

I mean suppose a guy working on apple, may not be good choice for orange always.

 

Buyer don't have that blood to vet 50-100 sellers.

Fiverr should find it for them. (NEO looks good start, but non-functional)

or they will find another platform probably.

  • Like 3
  • Up 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/3/2024 at 8:01 AM, emmaki said:

We can point to the bogeyman of AI, increased cost of living, all that stuff. Or we could look at what buyers are actually telling us. 

.......

Are Fiverr's own review systems harming its bottom line by causing sellers to reject customers who could damage their profile? Is this causing otherwise "good" new buyers to leave?

 

I think so, but I also believe it was like that even before the switch. Sellers have beensanitizing their reviews for a long time,avoiding anyone they thought might be a hassle to work with.

But is it just about the reviews, or is it more about the experience we anticipate with those buyers? This doesn't seem new to me. I've had buyers who've been turned away by others come to me, and rejected them because it tells me two things: they've set off alarms with others, and I wasn't their first pick. So, why should I take them on? Just because they couldn't find anyone else? Nah.

P.S. Your buyer seemed like a creep. Why would someone insist so badly on buying something you're not offering? Heebie-jeebies.

If this is happening more now than before, it's likely a combination of the new review system, increasing use of AI by sellers, and a rise in prices.

When half the "pros" don't really know what they're doing and lean on AI to get by, I bet they're more likely to say no to jobs that need real skills. That contributes to buyer loss for sure. The jobs that don't could probably be done with AI by the buyer themselves.

Add the AI-pocalypse to that, and I'd say this isn't a coincidence.

I also think many buyers have left because it's no longer justa place for cheap value deals. Fiverr is aiming for fewer buyers who spend more, and that's what's happening. They've been saying so for years, and average spend per buyer seems important to them.

Just look at the top of the Q4 Shareholder letter. The seller featured on the first page is listed at 5000. I think higher pricing is driving away bargain hunters who expected to get their simple tasks done cheaply. Now, those gigs are way down in the search results, and if you ask Neo for something affordable, it's likely to show you the most expensive gig on Fiverr. Twisted sense of humor, that one.

And let's not forget the pandemic. Fiverr skyrocketed during that time. We all knew it couldn't last forever. 

 

 

Edited by smashradio
  • Like 5
  • Up 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, smashradio said:

Sellers have beensanitizing their reviews for a long time,avoiding anyone they thought might be a hassle to work with.

That's what you get when the platform punishes you heavily for minor things and demands perfection at every turn, while not protecting you from abuse.

I've turned down people left and right that I would gladly take as clients outside the platform. I've turned down people that were paying quite well, for very simple things.

2 reasons, really:

1) Outside the platform they pay upfront, if then they decide to try and take advantage with BS claims, tough luck, I still got paid

2) Outside the platform they can't nuke my business with "feedback".

 

Any buyer you accept inside Fiverr is a risk. The bigger your account is, and the more you're making, the more you have to lose, so the more that risk needs to be managed, and the more that risk must pay.

Edited by visualstudios
  • Like 6
  • Up 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, smashradio said:

and if you ask Neo for something affordable, it's likely to show you the most expensive gig on Fiverr. Twisted sense of humor, that one.

If I were tuning Neo, I would instruct it to always match with the higher priced gigs. Dumb to promote $10 voice overs when you can sell $100 ones at 20% com.

Edited by newsmike
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, visualstudios said:

That's what you get when the platform punishes you heavily for minor things and demands perfection at every turn, while not protecting you from abuse.

That is certainly part of it, but don't discount good old fashioned dishonesty either. New algo is a month old, and we were documenting the "sanitizing of reviews" many years ago. 

Edited by newsmike
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, newsmike said:

New algo is a month old, and we were documenting the "sanitizing of reviews" many years ago. 

Oh, what I'm referring to is much older than the "new algo". It has always been a problem with platforms like Fiverr. The buyer has always had way too much power - no enforcement of rules by the platform (requirements, number of revisions, cancelation reasons), no upfront payments, the double blind review system, no removal of false and misleading reviews, etc., etc.

It would take me a day to list all the ways this platform is toxic, when compared to direct dealing with clients.

Every serious, established freelancer with a client portfolio I talk to says the same - "fiverr? I would never". That's for a reason.

As for dishonesty, of course there are dishonest sellers, that's a given. And, sooner or later, it catches up with them. However, there are also a lot of dishonest buyers - and, to be frank, it's incredibly easy to get away with that. Knowing what I know about this platform, if I wanted to I could get a ton of work for free, or I could nuke people, easy.

There is one, and only one solution for a fair freelance marketplace - to have a team of impartial, qualified, serious conflict resolution team to judge and decide disputes. Sometimes the buyer is right, and wants a refund. Sometimes the seller is right, and wants to get paid even if the client is unhappy and doesn't want to pay. Mediation is a MUST.

Fiverr doesn't have this.

Edited by visualstudios
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/6/2024 at 4:21 PM, fastadking said:

Like a lot of online businesses, Fiverr's buyers soared during Covid, then gradually cooled until it was down right SLOW the final months of 2023. That was cited as the reason for the stock slide earlier this year.

I have noticed a BIG difference in the quality of buyers over the years. When I compare today's buyers with 2013's, there is a vast difference in general intelligence and having a real business.

Of course, seller prices have gone up mightily since those days. I give Levi credit for proving writers could earn a full-time living on Fiverr. He started it all for copywriting in 2015. 

2013 Fiverr was the good ol days. I use to buy my Feiyue shoes and lighters from Fiverr. Back when you could only charge 5 bucks. I miss the old Fiverr a lot. I wish it was still here and resent the AI monster that took it's place.

Edited by dereck_s
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, visualstudios said:

Oh, what I'm referring to is much older than the "new algo". It has always been a problem with platforms like Fiverr. The buyer has always had way too much power - no enforcement of rules by the platform (requirements, number of revisions, cancelation reasons), no upfront payments, the double blind review system, no removal of false and misleading reviews, etc., etc.

It would take me a day to list all the ways this platform is toxic, when compared to direct dealing with clients.

Every serious, established freelancer with a client portfolio I talk to says the same - "fiverr? I would never". That's for a reason.

As for dishonesty, of course there are dishonest sellers, that's a given. And, sooner or later, it catches up with them. However, there are also a lot of dishonest buyers - and, to be frank, it's incredibly easy to get away with that. Knowing what I know about this platform, if I wanted to I could get a ton of work for free, or I could nuke people, easy.

There is one, and only one solution for a fair freelance marketplace - to have a team of impartial, qualified, serious conflict resolution team to judge and decide disputes. Sometimes the buyer is right, and wants a refund. Sometimes the seller is right, and wants to get paid even if the client is unhappy and doesn't want to pay. Mediation is a MUST.

Fiverr doesn't have this.

1000000% yes please. We really need a team that is fair that will look over problem orders.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, visualstudios said:

iverr doesn't have this.

Nor can they ever have it as long as all 8 Billion people on the planet can join from their phone and claim to be an expert (insert BS here), with no skin in the game. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From my own experience, new buyer mostly adding from Europe only. In previous, I received a lot of new buyer massage from US&UK. But so many time passed, not seeing any new buyer massage from these countries. Even Australia and Canda buyer also not enough giving task. I don't know the exact reason but it's true that new buyer is not coming enough like earlier 2020-2022.

I think Corona Pandemic is the reason behind it. Bcz that time so many buyers come to the Fiverr due to Work from Home. Due to quarantine, they handle their work from home. But when restriction was removed, they again started their work from office. So, they used Fiverr for 1-2 years and then finally thought may be working outside Fiverr is beneficial or hassle free for them.

This is just my own thinking!

Thank you!

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...