“Fiverr Fail” may be too strong a description. “Less successful than hoped,” maybe would be more accurate, or “Could have been better, but not a terrible experience,” if we’re feeling charitable. However, “Fiverr Fail” is catchy and alliterative, so I think we’ll keep it.
I tried out a new Fiverr artist last week. I won’t name the artist here, because I didn’t love his or her product, and I’m not really in the business of bashing someone else’s business. This artist had a high approval rating on the platform, which means other people really like his or her work. And to their credit, they finished on time. Early, even. So, very professional. Just not my cup of tea.
The lessons from my Fiverr fail are two-fold:
(1) Be really specific as to the art style desired. I selected this artist based upon other work within their portfolio. I did not, however, explicitly state which of their other artwork I wanted them to emulate. As a result, I ended up paying $120 for something that did not line up with my expectations. Big bummer.
I wonder, in retrospect, whether the Fiverr account I contracted with is staffed by a group of artists instead of an individual. This appears to be a popular business model on the site, especially for artists outside the U.S. Thus, I may have been assigned an artist with an entirely different aesthetic than that featured in the seller’s portfolio. And I wasn’t terribly specific, so how were they to know?
(2) Consider the language barrier: Fiverr artists come from all over the world. The artist from the previous post, for example, is from Russia. While there are a number of native English speakers on the site, there are also artists from Indonesia, and India, and Argentina, and a whole host of other far flung places. Talent is global.
I feel like my experience here may have been complicated by either language barriers or cultural differences in what makes funny. This seller’s English was decent, but I use slang and colloquialisms in my little scripts, which is an added degree of difficulty.
On the subject of outsourcing art:
All manner of think pieces have been written about the gig economy, its disruption and devaluation of industry, and the exploitation of artists in less prosperous areas of the world by its model. I don’t think I can do better on the subject than others have done already. I will say that in addition to the two artists I have hired thus far from other parts of the globe, I have also attempted to hire several artists local to me, using both Fiverr and Upwork as resources. However, I have yet to get an U.S. artist to commit to a project with me or, sometimes, even respond to my query.
The Original Script:
Big Dog: I would like dinner, please.
Me: I know you’ve been locked up a lot today, Big Dog. I do this thing with Little Dog to give her some action on days like this, wherein I give her a puzzle ball with her food in it, and she has to extricate it. Sounds like fun, right?
Little Dog: I LOVE treat balls!
Big Dog: I would like dinner please.
Me: Here, Big Dog. This is the remedial treat ball. I’ve put some food in it. What do you think?
Big Dog: I would like dinner, please.
Me: Look what happens if you roll it.
Big Dog: Food has magically appeared on the floor! I like food! Which reminds me: I would like dinner, please.
Little Dog: Man, I wish I wasn’t afraid of the kitchen.
Me: Here, I’ll do it again. Watch carefully, and see what happens if you roll the ball, Big Dog.
Big Dog: Food has magically appeared on the floor AGAIN! I like food! Which reminds me…
Little Dog: For the love of God…
Me: Let’s try this one more time, Big Dog.
Big Dog: …I would like dinner, please.
Me: Don’t you want to at least try the treat ball?
Little Dog: I want the treat ball. I want it. I waaaaaant it.
Me: Fine, Little Dog. Have at.
Big Dog: Holy smokes! Now food is magically appearing all around Little Dog! What is this crazy magic?
Little Dog: You can have the food. The work is its own reward, you know?
Big Dog: No.
Little Dog: You should feed Big Dog. She’s harshing my zen.
Big Dog: All I know is that I would like dinner, please.
And here is what the Fiverr artist gave me. FYI: I think you are intended to read down the right column of each page first, and then read the left column second:
I will say, the picture of Little Dog with the silly stars over her head is pretty great, and right on the money with its ridiculousness. Little Dog is a doofus. And my kid thinks it is AWESOME, so there’s that.
Note: This post is cross-posted on The Little Dog Big Dog Blog.