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For some reason, I clicked on a link in a spam email today. As with about 20 other emails I receive each day, the offer promised to guarantee me thousands of backlinks and top rankings in Google. When the site opened, I saw a video and recognised a familiar face. Clicking play revealed a woman giving a glowing review on the services the website offered. The site suddenly seemed far more legitimate.
Her face was familiar, because I had just paid her $5 to say the exact words “Only the coolest people use ViperChill.com” on video. In fact, I got about 10 other women to do the same thing. $5 was also enough to convince a 20-something male in the States to tell the world that his name was Barbara Streisand and that Glen Allsopp is the coolest guy in the world. Welcome to the world of Fiverr.
I’ve known about Fiverr for a few months now, but only recently did I decide to give the service a try. The site allows people to share what they are willing to do for $5, and then visitors pay those people to do exactly that. A vast majority of the offers are skewed towards internet marketers, which should appeal to most readers of this blog.
On the homepage right now, I’m seeing people willing to do the following:
I’ve seen a few discussions about Fiverr on Cloud Living, with a few members there taking advantage of link building and other offerings. As a service I think it’s a fantastic idea, and with an Alexa rank in the 400 range, I’m certainly not the only person. The last bullet point on my list worries me a little though.
Going back to the example I gave in the introduction, I have to wonder whether some of these offerings are actually legal. By far the most common type of service I’ve seen on Fiverr is people offering video testimonials. As I have found in my testing, people will literally say anything you want. A dozen people happily sent me a video saying how awesome ViperChill.com is, yet I’m sure none of them have actually visited the website.
You can check out GetBlogLinks.com (they don’t deserve a live link) to see the video in question.
I know it will be next to impossible for the likes of the FTC to police this kind of activity, but it does worry me that the trust associated with testimonials online is going to decline rapidly. If I can get someone to talk about my service on video and it’s a lie, why would anyone believe text?
In total, I paid for about 15 people to do different things on Fiverr. In the video below I have mashed a few of them together, with one of them even including a 5-year old girl (again, legal?).
(If you can’t see the video, click here to watch it on Youtube)
As you can see, the quality of the videos changes quite a lot, especially when it comes to sound. I simply wrote out a small script that I wanted people to read, and every person did so. In addition to these videos, I also had one person write me an original song (link) and a Happy Birthday video made for one of my friends.
One project on the site I really did like was a girl who offered to go to Times Square and hold up a picture saying anything you want. I decided to come up with the following idea, which I thought was pretty cool.
I posted this on the ViperChill fan page, and received some great replies. Nobody was any wiser that I had actually paid for this. Fake social proof is here.
As mentioned, I think the service is a great idea. The downside of the site, in my opinion, is that video testimonials are now going to be worth next to nothing, especially in the internet marketing niche. You can generate some fun forms of social proof (like my picture above), get some cheap (but poor quality) backlinks and even have someone create an SEO strategy for you. I really don’t think these things are worth paying for in most cases though. I would, however, happily pay $5 for:
All of which are available on the site.
As a service, it’s very easy to use. In fact, it’s probably too easy, as I quickly spent $100 in about 15 minutes. I was having a lot of fun to come up with what I wanted people to say for me on video. As someone who is selling services, you make $4 for every person who buys what you have to offer. I did see one person selling a very basic SEO eBook for $5 and they had well over 100 sales, so there is definitely some money to be made as a producer as well.
Do you use Fiverr? Had you heard of it before? I would love to hear your thoughts on the service.