Fiverr is one of the most popular websites in the world, and a network that sees a lot of money changing hands. The entire concept behind Fiverr is that for five bucks, you can sell … anything. Whether it’s your social media prowess, writing talents, or voice acting skills, you can auction it off for $5. And with the site and number of gigs it’s hosting growing, Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman is relaunching the platform and shaking things up a bit.
Fiverr’s gig discovery dashboard
Starting today, you’ll get acquainted with a brand new landing page. Categories and featured gigs make up the brunt of the new changes and the dashboard is now tiled, instead of listed without much organization, as it previously was.
Right away, it’s obvious this is going to kickstart discovery. “You have this serendipitous huge treasure of services to discover including something you didn’t think of,” Kaufman explains.
Gig pages are also getting a facelift with an attention to minimalism and letting the accompanying media do all the talking for its users – sellers can add images or videos to introduce themselves and their services.
Shaping the new workforce
Fiverr is also introducing a new gamification layer that rewards loyalty and highly-rated services to encourage entrepreneurship and its freelance workforce. Fiverr is ever-so-slightly shifting gears to grab a better foothold into the freelancing platform, something Kaufman always intended for the network.
Fiverr was first introduced to reinvision a simpler take on freelancer platforms like ODesk, which Kaufman claims were far too complex. Instead, with Fiverr, he intended to embrace the “gig economy” – people who take short term projects as “freelancers” – and by launching Fiverr, he wanted to “fix what was broken in the [freelancer] space by creating a marketplace that was simple, intuitive, and fun.”
He transformed his idea into an economy revolving around finding global talent for just $5. But some of Fiverr’s top users have actually made a career for themselves using the site. Kaufman claims that some top-tiers users have even grossed between $10,000 and $15,000 in one month.
Encouraging future entrepreneurs and freelancers
To encourage serious Fiverrs that actually want to develop a business or make a freelance career using the platform, the new tier system – five tiers in total – rewards loyal and quality sellers. For instance, to be accepted into the first tier, sellers are required to have at least 10 orders with very high ratings, and be a member of Fiverr for longer than 30 days. The second tier would require sellers to have completed 50 orders in the past two months. But with an encouraging hand, Fiverr will “unlock” perks and services the higher the tiers the sellers have reached.
Fiverr benefits include priority support from Fiverr, free business cards, and even a Fiverr-branded credit card. And Fiverr doesn’t take any fees for these services. Seeing as how the credit card is something of perk for elite Fiverr sellers, I asked Kaufman if Fiverr would introduce additional perks like business discounts in the near future. He wouldn’t confirm my suspicions, but he did let me know that I was “getting warm.”
Adding to this, Fiverr will introduce a revamped seller dashboard with robust analytics and task management tools.
The real kick in all of this? The $5 max charge is no more. With the new Fiverr, the maximum amount sellers can charge for their services will depend on what tier they’re in. Some sellers during the beta testing phase have sold their services for a few thousands of dollars.
Fiverr won’t police its “underbelly”
Clearly, Fiverr is getting a little more serious – which begs the question, what’s going to happen to its well-publicized black market? There’s an “underground” economy (a term Kaufman doesn’t appreciate) thriving on Fiverr that’s extremely profitable. It’s so profitable that the New York Times wrote up a feature on the multi-million dollar business that’s sprung up from selling Twitter accounts and spambots.
You can find all sorts of “social media services,” including adding new Facebook Page followers and email addresses, buying Twitter “slaves” (Artificially intelligent fake Twitter accounts) or selling accounts, and even offering Yelp reviews for a price. We’ve purchased email addresses and Twitter bots before, but Fiverr isn’t exactly condoning these services.
“I get this question a lot, and it’s so boring,” Kaufman says when asked about the Fiverr underbelly.
Of what he was willing to answer directly, he defends Fiverr by highlighting the fact that it’s nearly impossible to police every piece of illicit or questionable content on a popular site and used YouTube and eBay as examples. While Fiverr does provide the tools to report gigs and users, he says its 80-man team is stretched thin enough as is and doesn’t have the resources to monitor every piece of content that springs up, especially when there are 4,000 new gigs posted every day (that’s a total of 1.7 million gigs to date in an economy of 1.5 million buyers and sellers). He’s leaving it up to the users to decide what stays and what doesn’t, adding that he isn’t shy about removing reported content either.
While Fiverr might have have grown up a little with its redesign and new freelancer-friendly features, rest-assured: Not everything’s changing.