I’ve had a few friends, colleagues and acquaintances tell me that they had their media template/logo/book cover designed by someone at Fiverr and I find myself SMH (that’s “shaking my head” for the uninitiated). In my opinion, this is a bad idea. Before I dig into five reasons to avoid Fiverr, though, let me preempt a few replies to avoid unnecessary rabbit-trails. First, I’m a fan of the so-called “gig economy” and freelancing in general. Second, I don’t think all communities are the same, I’m not talking about E-lance (UpWork), oDesk, or any of the countless other similar communities. I’m talking about Fiverr and the range of hard-work-is-now-a-commodity freelance sites.
If you’re not familiar with Fiverr, it started out as a way to hire somebody, for $5, to do all kinds of things, like amping up your Twitter followers, to buying Amazon Reviews, to SEO Spam. All things that upstanding netizens should avoid. So, since I consider myself an upstanding netizen, I ignored this corner of the Internet, but, then came the $5 logo and $5 graphic design. Suddenly, things near and dear to my heart became “commoditized” by the “gig economy”… except it didn’t.
Here are five reason to avoid Fiverr, which should come with a Surgeon General’s warning:
1) You Get What You Pay For.
The first should be the most obvious, but I must say it. You Get What You Pay For. I mean, really, a logo for less than a combo meal at the McGreasy burger place? If you listen to the sage wisdom of folk like Ramit Sethi, Pat Flynn, and Chris Ducker, you’ll know that good design is essential for online success. I mean, seriously, can you imagine someone like Michael Hyatt or John Grisham using a Fiverr book cover design? If you want to succeed, you’ll need to spend more than $5 on your graphic design.
2) You Risk Legal Trouble.
With little effort, you can find examples of Fiverr designs using stolen images. Or, at best, they use stock images or clip art. (You aren’t using clip art anymore, are you?) But, this process could put you in the position of copyright infringement, or worse, trademark infringement. This is a risk too high. Look at it from a risk-to-reward ratio kind of thing, the risk: thousands in legal fees and damages; the reward: a $5 logo (see above).
3) You Won’t Know How Bad it is
Logos and brand identity can be powerful things. But a logo has all kinds of unconscious psychology at play. You could be conveying ideas to your customers that even they aren’t aware of. If you’re lucky, your customers will speak up. But, chances are good, that you are sending the wrong message with your logo… if you get it from Fiverr. Experienced logo designers have difficulties with this, do you really think that a Fiverr designer will think more than twenty milliseconds about it for $5? If you’ve ever considered using Fiverr, I’m willing to bet that you don’t have a lot of graphic design experience, because, well, you wouldn’t be considering using Fiverr if you did; you’d do the design yourself. This means, you don’t have the experience and aesthetic eye to judge good from bad. Listen to Nathan Chan and let the designers do their thing.
4) You are Devaluing a High Skill Industry
Becoming a good graphic designer takes years of practice and some specialized skill. Some might say that the true greats are born with a gift (e.g. Inge Druckrey). These people need to compete in an economy with customers that would have difficulty knowing bad from good (see above). Now, with $5 designs, these designers are struggling to compete, because $900 for a logo (which is still relatively inexpensive) can’t compete with $5. The people with skill and experience are struggling for work, while the folks with arguably no skill are raking in $5 a pop for hack jobs and passing the risk off to the customer.
5) Bad Karma
If you’re in the market for freelance graphic design, it’s very likely that you’re “in business” of some kind; you’re seeking customers and income. So, if you don’t plan on paying for valuable work from somebody else (see above), why should anyone pay value for your work/product/service/business? At some point, taking this cheap route will ultimately cost you more than you realize. Sure, you’ll get your graphic design work done on the cheap, but then you’ll attract cheap customers. Is that what you really want?
Fiverr is Hazardous to Your Health.
You’ve been warned.
In case you think this is just Michael on a rant, let me provide you with some further reading:
- Fiverr removes negative feedback:
“You can wait for delivery and then leave negative feedback explaining that the seller provided stolen work. But Fiverr likes to keep buyers happy and they may remove your legitimate negative feedback, so you wont likely prevent any future buyers from getting ripped off”
3 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Avoid Fiverr – Using Fiverr is Hazardous to Your Health”
Nice article…I like the way you included links to others that share the same idea….
Touche – I have to say I’ve used Fiverr for all kinds of random gigs, and even tried them for logos. I haven’t found it helpful for that for the reasons you address here, and I have to say, you’ve given me some food for thought. There are some things I think fiverr is great for – like when you need something little done (like creating an editable PDF) and you don’t have the software. Instead of paying $200 for a software program, you just pay $5 to someone who has it, it’s super simple for them, and you saved yourself a learning curve as well as some money.
That being said, though, I feel you on all these aspects, and believe in paying for quality work, investing in others (especially when you want people to invest in your work), and also in being legit – stealing designs is not something I want to get involved in!
Thanks for the food for thought.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Ashley. You are pretty much in the same boat as most people I know. This is part of the reason that I decided to write this post. I agree, there is potential upside to Fiverr, but there’s too much dragging it down at the moment. I keep wondering if there’s a way for Fiverr to “clean up its act,” but I don’t see a way forward for that community other than their current trajectory.