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Buyer Incentives - Suggestion Pt. 1 of 2


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I have been thinking about the whole issue surrounding feedback for Sellers vs. Buyers. This is a bit long since I wanted to offer some background for my suggestion so that Fiverr might consider it and users might offer their ideas, but if you don’t want to read all of it I’m going to post it in 2 parts. The first part will have the background on my idea and part 2 will be a reply to myself with specifics on the idea. I would really love to hear feedback from buyers and sellers who like/dislike this idea or have suggestions on how to improve it.

Most of us noticed quickly when Buyer reviews started to appear on their profiles. I think many sellers were excited at the prospect of being able to at least prepare for the differing personalities and expectations that buyers have. One thing is for sure, buyer and seller are in a relationship of sorts whether it is temporary or long term due to repeat orders.

We all have real life relationships from colleague to peer to boss/employee to friend and more. Just like those relationships, there is probably a seller out there to match nearly every buyer and visa versa, but the match isn’t easy to discern when we have little information. Buyers learn a lot about sellers by reading profiles, gig descriptions, reviews, etc. Sellers don’t have as much opportunity so the buyer/seller match has one-sided input.

When buyer feedback first appeared on profiles, the next thing that was noticeable was that a viewer could see every rating that sellers received, but negatives were not displayed for buyers. That lessened the usefulness of the feature although it didn’t ruin it entirely. Even so, they were removed altogether soon. Even if I disagree, I can see Fiverr’s problem if people make decision based on negative reinforcement. Sellers are already in that position in many ways and that part of Fiverr puts a ton of pressure on sellers. Sellers do get incentives to raise the bar, though. The Levels system offers seller rewards for near perfect feedback, low cancellation ratios, helpfulness and personal customer service, etc. For buyers, there are two basic incentives. Their incentives are getting a product or service cheap and getting a quality delivery. Sometimes getting both at the same time is really tough.

See reply to myself for Part 2 and the suggestion itself.

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@fonthaunt (myself!) Part 2

My Suggestion:

Buyers AND Sellers - Please Offer Ideas to Improve it!

My own idea is to offer something like Buyer Levels which I’ve suggested before but not with particular developed incentives. Buyer Levels could have their own badges and come with goodies and I would love to hear buyer and seller ideas for what could be offered to buyers. It doesn’t matter if the levels come with fancy names or Level 1, 2, etc. except to make it more interesting. Badges could look different from sellers and for people who are both buyers and sellers, both badges could be earned. This could also be done at first without all these features (like the coupon codes that would require more development) but anything would be better than nothing!

Here’s an example of what could be done with buyer levels:

Buyer Level 0: Just like a buyer profile is now with nothing special on it. No bonuses and no penalties.

Buyer Level 1: Bonuses (theoretical): Badge displaying your buyer status, Processing fee reduced by half when not using revenues or credits, 5% discount on select items in Fiverr store, access to once a month coupon codes coupon code offers created by sellers who choose to participate. (Coupon codes would expire after 30 days perhaps.)

How to Earn Buyer Level 1:

-Put up and maintain a profile picture of yourself or logo

-Put up and maintain a profile description with simple info about individual or business

-maintain a 90% or better seller rating but the rating/reviews still invisible, just used in level algorithm

-maintain a low cancellation ratio on all non-mutual cancellations (ratio chosen by Fiverr)

Buyer Level 2: Bonuses (theoretical): Badge displaying your buyer status, Processing fee reduced by half when not using revenues or credits, expedited Fiverr Customer Service tickets, 7% discount on select items in Fiverr store, access to twice a month coupon code offers created by sellers who choose to participate. (Coupon codes would expire after 30 days perhaps.)

How to Earn Buyer Level 2:

-Continue to maintain profile picture/logo and profile description

-maintain a 95% or better seller rating but the rating/reviews still invisible, just used in level algorithm

-maintain an extra-low cancellation ratio on all non-mutual cancellations (ratio chosen by Fiverr)

-maintain a strong record for professional inbox message exchanges. If reported or flagged repeated by sellers for profanity, abusive wording or feedback threats this level would be lost for 60 days.

VIP Buyer: (sort of like TRS for sellers) Bonuses (theoretical): Badge displaying your buyer status, no processing fee on any purchases, expedited Fiverr Customer Service tickets, 10% discounts on select items in Fiverr store, access to same coupon codes available to Level 2 Buyers, expedited approval for the buyer requests page.

How to Earn VIP Buyer:

Chosen indivually by Fiverr staff for excellent buyer/seller relationships based on at least 6 months as Level 2 Buyer plus:

-Verification of Buyer account (perhaps through social media accounts or phone verification - up to Fiverr and would not need to be visible to other users)

-Maintaining a professional account appearance if posting in Fiverr forums or other public areas that require use of Fiverr Buyer account

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I think this is a very interesting idea and that it’s important to put buyers and sellers on as equal footing as possible. It could even encourage buyers to stick around and continue spending their money here (where they earn perks), rather than going to other micro-job sites (where they don’t). Especially for companies that do a lot of their outsourcing through Fiverr, it would be a great way to really inject some legitimacy into the system.

Doesn’t Amazon kind of have something like this? Not just verified purchasers, but a ranking system of reviewers, and some get a little badge next to their name when they post a review? Obviously, the system you’re suggesting is far more sophisticated, but it would lend that same sort of legitimacy when you see a level one, two, or VIP badge next to a review as when you see that little…whatever Amazon gives their top reviewers.

My one concern would be the same as it is right now: would sellers feel comfortable giving honest reviews of buyers, knowing that the buyer can go back in and change his/her review after seeing the seller’s review? I know that on occasion, a buyer has been very difficult to work with (demanding, condescending, rude), but if I bust my butt and give in to their demands, they might still leave four or five stars. On those occasions, right now, there’s not really any point in giving my honest evaluation of that buyer, because all it would do is anger that buyer and give him impetus to lower his score of me.

Right now, buyers that give low scores get low scores and buyers that give high scores get high scores. And while that might generally reflect which buyers are capable of having positive relationships with sellers, I think there are also instances in which buyers that are horrible to work with don’t get the scores they deserve because the seller is afraid of the repercussions (and because there’s no real benefit in being honest, because buyer scores currently mean nothing–which is something your system would fix).

It begs the question: does it really matter? Does it matter if a buyer was difficult to work with, if he left a positive review? Anyway, I didn’t mean to divert the conversation, if I have–it’s just a thought I had.

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@emasonwrites I think you make some valid points. I think Amazon does have a badge system for reviewers. I am not sure since I haven’t done enough reviews to earn any pretties from Amazon. I think an idea like mine could start with something as simple as badges. Even if the only perk a buyer got is the badge and the knowledge that they’ve earned it through (hopefully) better communication would inspire some. Others wouldn’t care.

I agree that it could result in no real change since sellers might be afraid to give honest feedback. I think the system is flat out broken, especially since anything under 95-96% is “bad” even though the seller may have never received a single rating under 3 stars.

I guess to me it doesn’t entirely matter if the buyer was difficult. Part of my idea was based on the idea that we are all different and you might consider one buyer great that I found difficult. It’s that unfortunate small group of buyers who use ratings to manipulate or who are just “haters” I guess. I hardly ever use that word but it’s a short term for that kind of person. If you could see the reviews you might be able to spot them because they would be the ones who rarely ever leave a high rating. Maybe if they had incentive that gave them a feeling of pride or especially a slightly fatter wallet it would matter more to them. Beats me!

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Thank you for such a detailed post. It seems you have put a lot of thought and effort to write it. I don’t know if all what you suggest would be possible but at least the one issue that I think would be easily available, would be for both buyers and sellers reviews to be visible to everyone. That would be an easy step and fair for all I believe 🙂

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I agree with @emasonwrites - there needs to be some protection mechanism in place that protects sellers from getting their feedback changed. I’m not really sure why, when a gig is marked complete, it is possible for the feedback to be changed at all.

I like the idea of buyer rankings though and it would be nice to see some perks for the fantastic buyers out there. A lot of buyers are so straightforward to work with that it does save me significant time on a gig so it would be good to be able to maybe offer special discounts for high level buyers (and perhaps encourage people to buy more here too, which would be good for everyone) as long as it doesn’t push the value of gigs down to the point where they aren’t worth the effort. Thing is, this relies on the rating system actually reflecting the quality of the buyer and I’m not sure I’d really trust that many of the ratings here on Fiverr…

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@happyspace and @academictext : I think the ratings system is terrible and that is a big part of the problem in the first place. Not being able to see negative and positive ratings for all users doesn’t help. I think buyer levels would be interesting to try, even if it began with just badges. People like getting recognized. I know there are flaws in the concept but I’d love to see any step that helps keep things just a little more even.

Thanks for the comments! Hopefully more ideas will come out of the thread, at least to show Fiverr that we are serious about making the process better.

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100% agree. The terms of service surrounding feedback specifically state to communicate with the seller if, as a buyer, you experience any issues. Sadly, a lot of buyers head straight for the negative review button, without considering any kind of mediation.

This sort of system would encourage buyers to reach out with any problems; consequently ensuring they receive the product/service they wanted and the seller’s reputation remains untarnished.

Good post!

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Reply to @fonthaunt: I didn’t mean to compare your system directly to Amazon’s, sorry! I just meant that I think they just award badges, and while I don’t think they have any sort of monetary incentive, but when I shop on Amazon, I do give reviews by these kind of “leveled” reviewers more weight–that’s the parallel I was trying to draw, that maybe it would inject a little bit more legitimacy into the rating system, and that would be a good thing (theoretically, of course, haha).

I totally agree with you–the perception of what constitutes a “bad” score needs to drastically shift, and hopefully will continue to shift as more and more new buyers, who never used Fiverr during the “thumbs” phase, come to the platform.

As I was thinking about this, I did realize that maybe buyers would get a better understanding of how reviews affect sellers. I’ve had buyers leave four star reviews before, and then they’d message me to discuss another order, and when I asked them, not to change their review, but which categories I could improve on, they sometimes remark that they didn’t really see the difference between a four and a five, even though, in my mind, there’s a big difference between an 80% and a 100%.

I think you’re right, the benefits would far outweigh whatever negatives there might be–and they wouldn’t really be negatives of having an incentive program, but negatives of having a five-star rating system in general. It would level the playing field between buyers and sellers in a lot of ways, and there’s no denying that would be a great thing for this platform.

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