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The "Location Inconsistencies" Thing - How to Prevent It?


emmaki

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Posted (edited)

tl;dr: sort it out, Fiverr. This is unacceptable.

Dear Fiverr,

I often have to go to hospital on account of my chronic illness, which I unfortunately acquired as a result of stress from working on a major international freelance platform who shall not be named, but sounds a bit like "Find 'er!"

Anyway, this can be for simple appointments, where doctors put their fingers and other devices into places I'd really rather they not, sometimes in front of an audience of people with clipboards who make strange noises. Occasionally, I am exposed and enjoy the feeling of cold, medical eyes staring at my body like the clinical case study prize it is. We shall not talk about the feeling of the cold medical devices. It's all very refreshing stuff. Being the mentally-resilient individual I am, I just roll my eyes and get on with it so I can go home and relax, ideally with a tub of ice cream, since my health would not thank me if I opted for the memory-bleaching vodka. How tiresome it all is!

But that's not really the important thing here. The important thing is maintaining my success score of 10 and not getting flagged by the system for location inconsistencies. Because I sometimes have to go the night before, or stay the night after, or even stay for a few weeks if enough test and generally not fun medical stuff all clusters up into one sprawled out episode of visits.

So, how do I not get into trouble for this and maintain a SS10 etc? My strategy is simple:

a) Answer my "hi" messages and make sure that spammers who want me to visit their faux-Fiverr website get a friendly greeting. Yes, even if I'm waiting for an appointment and have other thinsg on my mind, I'm quick to respond to everything with a rictus smile of support on my face. Danger, danger: I may be using the hospital wifi or my mobile data. Oh no!

b) Sometimes do work in a location that is not my own: i.e. I'm working in a city that is an hour's drive away and not using my regular internet connection. Sometimes, I do work (not in the hospital, obviously) in that location. I use my mobile data, I might use a cafe's WiFi, or I might use an appartment's data. Sadly, the appt that I usually stay in has broken internet due to a merger that nobody wanted breaking all the WiFi boxes. I've got to go and fix that soon, but it'll just add to the frisson of danger when I use this brand-new mobile box.

c) Send a little message to Fiverr to make sure they know that I'm 100% legit. I don't send a doctor's note, but I can get one if needed. Would that help?

But will I eventually be flagged for being "location inconsistent"? Should I even dare to use Fiverr when I am doing medically-necessary stuff? It's important to mention that mentally, I am in fine fettle. Maybe a touch of unavoidable brain fog from the autoimmunity, but otherwise, I'm good to go. But I can see how this might impact someone who isn't blessed with the same mental fortitude as I am.

I've already mentioned this to CS, so at least they're aware of it - that I will be doing the Fiverr displeasing act of not remaining in one place at all times like a good little employee freelancer should. I also told them exactly how long I would be away, what type of IPs I might use, and the exact reason I was going. It was so fun. I've never been employed, but I imagine this is exactly what it's like to make a request to go on a vacation without getting into trouble. Isn't that fun, everyone? Isn't that fun?

Why did I wake up today and go through all of this? Oh, well, I only found out that a VOA, whose name I'm not sure I'm allowed to share here, has been flagged by the system. This VOA has made over $600,000 and has a 5-star feedback with a 10 Success Score. He lost his Success Manager when he was flagged, so now he is asking his mentorees to help him. That's right, he also trains VOAs to be successful on Fiverr. He's not the type of guy that I would expect to be flagged.

But here we are. So, as someone who is very, very sick and who would like to be able to make a sliver of income in between hospital appointments so that they might be able to buy things like food and drink, may I please know if I can go about my life without having to fear the great location inconsistencies ax of Fiverr falling on my neck? Because my neck is one of the few parts of my body that isn't actively trying to hurt me at the moment, I'd quite like it if it stayed that way.

The mental health webinar won't help me very much, but fixing this along with many other issues on the platform might help a lot of people's mental health. Just a thought.

Yours,

Someone who doesn't understand why Fiverr be like it do sometimes

 

Edited by emmaki
I like how the forum is essentially my email's spam folder today.
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Posted (edited)

Incidentally, the VOA has also got a small army of people who are effectively spamming CS or their SMs about this on his behalf, and so CS has already changed from WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING YOU WERE BAD 😡 to we are looking into this 🤗. This rather suggests that unless a seller has enough popularity or status to force a human review of an AI decision, sellers are going to have a tough time recovering from bad AI decisions.

That doesn't seem right. In fact, it seems like the systems that govern the marketplace are increasingly broken and that human oversight and appreciation is more of a luxury for only a small subset of people. The "you no longer have a SM" was a nice touch, too. Taking away a paid resource as the result of an AI decision. That VOA is a lot kinder on Fiverr's appalling (AI) decision-making here than I ever would have been, but then again, he has the benefit of a small army of acolytes to be appalled on his behalf, which is, in itself, another luxury - something that affords him the "nice guy" front. I'm sure he's spitting fireballs in private.

Who wouldn't?

EDIT: I got a response from CS:

image.png.11f81a72fe1af296dbc5cb1401c7e655.png

I mean, that's very informative, but it doesn't make me feel any better (or rather "safer") because it seems that people are getting flagged for doing things that shouldn't be flagged per CS' own statements.

 

Edited by emmaki
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Posted (edited)

Hm..

I always felt like it was a VPN thing as well - so basically, if you use one and change your country (even if it's for other reasons) and change it back the Ai might 'sense' it? Obviously, there are a lot of issues with that (I can't do that now as Sweden is relatively big, but when I lived in Hungary where I'm from I could (if wanted to) pop over to Vienna for the day and come back home (...and several other borders work that way, so). 

At least for now travelling (or going to the hospital) shouldn't pose an issue.

I do have recent experience with this - I ended up in the ER for the first time as an adult due to (similarly stress-related) stuff. I used my phone and I was just fine (well, for now.) 

I do hope that you'll start to feel better. Chronic stuff is...not good (and stress can make it even worse 😞

In other news, this post made me finally pursue asking to get my location changed (I was always very open about to to CS and stuff, to be fair) so I'm finally Swedish now (I'm not, but, oh well!)

In general, I think what I'd love is just... more detailed info about certain things... but that's a whole other topic. 

 

Edit:

It just occurred to me (perhaps it's obvious) but part of the issue seems to stem from the fact that location and nationality seems to be treated as one and the same thing (at least for now.) If your nationality was shown say, next to your name (which perhaps wouldn't be ideal for other reasons obviously) based on your ID documents but you could set your location to where you are now, it wouldn't be misleading anymore if that makes sense? Still can be faked, but... that's pretty much illegal so it's a whole new issue (identity stuff, not VPNs and so on.)

Edited by katakatica
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I believe that we don't get more detailed information as that would allow the sellers that Fiverr is actually targeting with this to game the system. However, it seems faintly ridiculous to me that everyone, from a day 1 seller with no prior history on the platform to people with years of history (and a build-up of trust) in the same boat.

Here was what CS said to my follow-up message:

image.png.78831052e05d41757d52d8ce3fb10bbc.png

 

There is a world of sins under "conceal your identity/misleading other users". Let's take an example that a successful seller might do in order to avoid a workload that might induce chronic stress and eventual illness. Perhaps a seller may hire a VA and give them access to their Fiverr account (a terrible idea anyway), or hire a team that works in their office for better oversight of the delivered goods. Is that "misleading"? If it is, why are agencies still allowed to present as individual sellers - this is misleading and also unfair to individual sellers who cannot match the workload of several people?

I'm not allowed to be British until I'm in the UK long enough to change my "location" to British. I live in Greece, so my location is correct, but Fiverr CS did indicate when I last asked about this that they would be happy to adjust that. Is that not "misleading" yet seemingly sanctioned by Fiverr?

The TOS is a quagmire to walk through even without these little inconsistencies. As it is, if Fiverr wants to hold on to its best talent and allow them to thrive, I don't think AI hammering them with a random location inconsistency, cancelling their access to a SM (paid for...), and putting them back to level 0 with no visibility etc. is the way to do it.

I am better now (almost), but I have to take frequent breaks for all the stuff I mentioned in my OP. Which of course isn't good for my profile, because God forbid that you take time off the platform. Fiverr staff should really consider whether they would be able to work under the conditions that they inflict on us, the users, with next to no transparency or apparent oversight. They won't, of course; unlike us, they have legal protections as employees. For example, if I made a video harassing a Fiverr staff member, it's likely I would not be welcome on this platform anymore; yet if a user does that to another user, no action will be taken, despite what the TOS says.

The list goes on - and it seems that the only answers we get are in the form of webinars which are inaccessible to the deaf, hard of hearing, and people who don't speak English well due to the lack of provision of subtitles until a replay. Shall I go on? The main point is that the platform continues to fail its users on a daily basis and is apparently making few meaningful concessions to address the myriad issues. This is not a staff fault: it is a leadership fault.
 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, emmaki said:

There is a world of sins under "conceal your identity/misleading other users". Let's take an example that a successful seller might do in order to avoid a workload that might induce chronic stress and eventual illness. Perhaps a seller may hire a VA and give them access to their Fiverr account (a terrible idea anyway), or hire a team that works in their office for better oversight of the delivered goods. Is that "misleading"? If it is, why are agencies still allowed to present as individual sellers - this is misleading and also unfair to individual sellers who cannot match the workload of several people?

I always felt like running an agency (or even just having an assistant) wasn't for me for this reason (and some others.) I was even asked by my SM once I think - but it just doesn't make sense for me? A studio I'd love to have (since I work in games, having a fixed artist and programmer could multiply what I can offer, but.. that's not possible for me for whatever reason.

I think what bugs me (and worries me) is exactly what you're saying - a lot of times certain things are very ambiguous, both in the TOS and on the site in general. For example, when I was asked to work in a file format that I'm not comfortable with (and I was told it's not really possible before), I was forced to do it in the end because the agent said 'sure' to the buyer (yes, the next one said 'well...' but then caved anyway... It's the sort of stress that likely helped trigger my issues as well. 

I think the biggest issue I see is that Fiverr often doesn't count human error (from us or their side even) into the equation. 

I don't have high hopes that things will change which is partially why I'm slowly learning new things (also, what I want to do IS physically impossible on here,) but... even then, it's sad that so many of us are just feeling burnt out (or literally get SICK) because of what's going on. Yes, freelancing is supposed to be hard (and to quote my mom 'you chose it!" but it's not supposed to drive you mad. I think.

 

Edited by katakatica
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Freelancing is definitely not the easy choice, especially if you want a stable income and all that goes with that, but as someone else wrote here a few days ago (sorry, I forgot who), Fiverr tends to take the "free" out of freelancer and place a lot of demands on us. Not directly, of course, but certainly indirectly through things like gamification. One false step and it's game over, if not forever, at least until you wait out the weeks or months until you're deemed good enough to participate again.

It's not a great way to treat people who are your "best sellers". But if you're taking 20% from everyone no matter what, it hardly matters if an individual stumbles and falls. There are plenty to take their place. That's a major conflict of interest: Fiverr's financial incentives simply don't align with the best interest of its freelancers. Sure, it's just a platform; it is not their responsibility to "care" for us as we are but freelancers.

But that's where all the gamification and metrics come in. Fiverr expects people to work a full time job to perfection without missing a beat. You cannot do that AND tend to your business away from Fiverr.

All of these gig economy platforms are the same. You can see the tension with others like Uber and how their workforces are revolting against the machine. Fiverr understands that this is a threat to its business model - basically running its "assets" into the ground with a fig leaf of support just to say they have it - it says so in its more boring variants of investor reports.

Unfortunately, not much is going to change until legal requirements force these platforms to be more considerate of their users. And that progress is kind of slow.

It doesn't help that Fiverr freely allows people with no discernible skills or talents to become sellers, creating a marketplace that really doesn't align with where it wants to go. But still, 20%. Why not support these kind of freelancers by letting them sell AI stuff without disclosing them and then tell the buyer they shoulda asked first?

Again, I am scratching my head about the decisions from the top lately. How can you  go upmarket while your platform is riddled with hacks and scams? That's more "dirty needle-filled back alley where Eddie Two-Chins sells his off-brand merch" than "Prada store".

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Posted (edited)

May I ask what was wrong with my post about the DSA and why it was removed? It literally takes information from the help center and talks about it. 
EDIT: nvm its back 
image.png.b627819c19edcb3905b19bff1acbe0ae.png

Edited by emmaki
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