A while back I heard about this interesting startup called “Fiverr“.  The concept is simple – people post services they are willing to accomplish in return for $5. Some are silly -“I’ll write your company name on my hand!” – and others seem to be more practical, “I’ll write a 500 word blogpost on your topic of choice.” As we like to test things out here, I thought it a good experiment to see if any of the marketing services offered on Fiverr were worth the – well – fiver. 

Here is what got purchased: 

TWITTER: “Get you over 600 high quality twitter followers”- Purchased twitter followers from various different suppliers. (Update: Heard Fiverr is phasing this out, but some providers are still up.)

MARKETING: “Do your online marketing and get traffic for your business”- In a promotional email received from Fiverr, they recommended a marketing kit that I was very leery about. I didn’t want any of my personal sites or work sites to have their SEO score lowered, so I opted to use a blog post and asked for marketing to focus on just the one specific blog post. I purchased the full package at $35.

WRITING: “Write you a 500 word blog post on your topic”- I purchased several blog posts with clear and simple instructions on what to write and how to write it. I asked them to create “a short top 5 list” to make the format easier.

Did the Fiverr experiment work?

Marketing: The blog post received a few back-links from a few sites. This, with what we assume other “too good to be true”  marketing services on Fiverr are hokey and potentially dangerous to your SEO. The services are mainly targeted to uninformed laymen attempting to market cheaply. You’re throwing away money. Spend a few thousand and get actual ROIWith the package I purchased we did see a bump in traffic, but it all came from bots, not real people. Though we did see an increase in spam comments! Mmm, spam.

Blog posts: Some were mediocre and some were quite juvenile. This example is the second paragraph in a 3 paragraph writeup. Again, I asked for a top five list, instead I got this drivel about Techcrunch:

“It is because Techcrunch doesn’t fail in the main thing that people care about and that is content. Not only is it really well designed, but it has important stuff worth reading in its various pages. Forgive me for saying this, but I would rather waste my surfing the net hours on reading Techcrunch’s numerous, intelligently-written articles, than sit through another cat video or a video of animals singing Merry Christmas. “

The service provider uses the term “stuff” to describe content, and begins their paragraph with “It is because…” (What is because? The previous paragraph did not solve this mystery.) The content was trite, poorly thought out, and a waste of $5. “Forgive me for saying this..” What are we forgiving them for saying, and why? That they don’t like cat videos, and believe Techcrunch content to be superior? Not to mention that cat videos are marketing gold. Plus, cats are awesome. Mew.

I only found two decent (and I use that term loosely) writers out of the sample group, and if I would work with either of them again, aside from paying a decent wage, I would need to train them on how to properly conduct research and write informed articles in tech. It isn’t worth the investment for our team, but it is a potential solution for others (i.e. if they don’t have office space for paid interns). Surprisingly, the better of this group was an overseas writer from India.

Twitter: I had the most success with this. I tried it on two separate accounts and found very different results. One set of followers was low quality, obviously fake profiles, who began to drop off very quickly after purchase, and two months later, are almost completely gone. The other service provider, pchop87, had higher quality follower accounts who are still around. Many of the accounts he added look very real.

What is the benefit of twitter followers?  The account we used for a follower bump was projecting approximately 1 follower a day. A short time after pursuing this strategy and purchasing followers, the account began to increase by 5 real followers a day. Perception matters. At early glance, this appears to be an effective strategy for a new twitter account interested in more followers.

Bottom line/ TL;DR – Fiverr is fun, and it’s a great service to spend a few bucks on something funny. What it’s not for is marketing ‘help’, a significant amount of  research and experimentation needs to occur before using written content from Fiverr, and buying twitter followers is more fun than anything else, but can have value depending on how you use it.

Here at SWARM we <3 Fiverr, they have some great providers, and we actually work in the same office floor, but we wouldn’t recommend using them for marketing. However, if you want to troll your friends with fake pregnancies, or have flyers posted around manhattan, then this is the service for you. Plus, for five bucks,  it’s just fun.