By Cory Doctorow at 1:36 am Sun, Mar 18, 2012
Fiverr, an online "gig" marketplace offering Mechanical Turk-style piecework, has a thriving market for cheap offers to write positive reviews of your self-published Kindle books. Caveat emptor.
Displaying Gig 1 - 30 of 107 best matches
(via Making Light)
I will like this post for $5, Cory.
Looks like 11+ people missed out on their five bucks to like your comment.
I use VWorker for more complex tasks, but I love fiverr.
For $5, I have:
purchased a complete voice-over for our phone tree,
solved graphing issues in Excel,
received complete business card designs,
made basic modifications to existing logos,
received high-quality video download of a video I could only find in low res on YT
It’s some of the best value I’ve found on the internet and FAST.
received high-quality video download of a video I could only find in low res on YT
It’s off to the camps for you, I’m afraid
Sweatshops are cheap, exploiting people is nothing new.
Incidentally were you paid $5 to leave that comment?
I don’t think it’s exploiting some one when you pay them what they ask for a service.
Interestingly enough, the several Excel questions I’ve had addressed are by a CPA in the US who likes tricky Excel challenges, and the voice over by someone in the biz looking to build their own portfolio. In that case I asked her for her contact info so I could find her again for additions/revisions as she builds out her voice over biz. I expect it to cost more next time, and I actually paid her more than she asked the first time.
(and it didn’t occur to me till I read your comment that someone might think I am shilling for the site, but I am not. I regularly suggest that friends try out Fiverr and VWorker as they can quickly find talented people in specialized areas, any time, night or day.)
Actually my comment more specifically referred to the creative services you were paying for – as although there is a definite market for quick and cheap logo’s (your average plumber doesn’t need an expensive branding campaign), $5 is barely enough to cover opening Photoshop for anyone that actually wants to pay any bills.
It creates an environment where a certain level of creative is forced to grossly undersell themselves to compete.
I work in the creative industry so these things touch me a little more closely; not to say I compete with $5 designers, but they can distort the value of creative services. See: http://www.logodesignlove.com/cheap-logo-services for an industry perspective, if you’re interested.
There are worse offenders though, at least this isn’t crowdsourcing or speculative; it may be a low wage, but at least they’re actually getting paid for their time.
That said, I’ve seen some great ideas on fiverr; and assuming what they’re doing doesn’t take more than 15 minutes or so (which may have been the case for your logo anyway) then it’s a good deal for everyone – as it was never intended as a way to make a living.
Incidentally people also choose to work in sweatshops, but that doesn’t mean there’s no exploitation going on :)
As someone who also works in the creative industry, $5 for 15 minutes of work isn’t all that bad. I have friends who make considerably less than $20/hour on contract work.
Not that that’s exactly a good thing, but in the current environment that’s a rather healthy wage.
They only net $4 per review.
I think my reply was removed?
tl;dr see: http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2012/january/what-kind-of-logo-does-25-buy-you with reference to your $5 logo.
I think it was? I received it in my email at least…. Maybe just a temporary glitch and it will be back.
It was in the spam bin.
This is fascinating. Especially the reviews for the gigs. Example: http://fiverr.com/jamesreynolds/provide-a-review-package-for-your-amazon-kindle-book-specifically-for-the-united-kingdom-market
But of course, that got me thinking – are the reviews of the review service rigged as well? Is it turtles all the way down??
Could one use Fiverr to find all these astroturfer’s personal information and “encourage” them to behave in an ethical manner? And the authors who use their services for astroturfing?
And then sell the aggrated information to Amazon for thousands of dollars to help them clean up their ratings system and to ban users for violation of their TOS.
Hnn.. for $4 i will NOT buy your book and will NOT write a scathing 1-start review.
Then, for any publisher that ignores your kind offer, a follow-up product!
I, for free, reviewed each service offered and discovered that not one of these shillbags has offered to read your book prior to review.
Do you know I think they may be unscrupulous?
OTOH, for 5$ I will wash your car the next time it rains. Paypal accepted.
Counter offer: for a free copy of the Kindle book in any price range I will read it (time permitting) and write an honest review. Please send the copy of the Kindle book to
P.O. Box 306
Uptown Bus Station
Port Arthur, Nigeria
New business idea.
Buy crappy Kindle books for 99 cents or less only if you can see reviews are astro-turfed and find an email for the author.
Then offer to not post your scathing and true one-star review for $25.
I believe that business model is referred to as ‘extortion’.
I’m so tired of online reviews now anyway, they’ve become untrustworthy in many different ways, not just with astro turfing. You can’t leave an honest middle-of-the-road review without inviting harassment, sometimes from very reputable companies. I think we’ve really ruined the online review idea.
Hah. 5rr. Cool. Reminds me of the time I (and many others) were scammed by a (since NARUd) eBay user, using the e-mail address of the owner of 5rr. Was probably a hack, or an over-eagre friend / colleague, but I did notice the owner had a somewhat interesting, much more “adult oriented” website related past. Hopefully the e-mail’s a little more secure these days :) (although, amazing they wouldn’t notice all those PayPal receipts flooding their inbox…)
I like this one:
For only 5 bucks I will buy your .99 Kindle ebook, provide a 1 star rating and write a negative review that may demotivate customers from buying your book. This will allow you as the author to help further alienate potential readers by taking the unfounded criticism way too personally. I may also click the “Yes” helful button on other negative reviews of your book to dramatically decrease your books credibility, sales and exposure.
Fiverr is also full of offers for astroturf Yelp reviews, Amazon reviews of other products (not just e-books), video reviews for your product or service on youtube, “views” and “likes” of your content on various sites, etc, etc, etc. I think anyone who values web literacy should spend an hour or so browsing their boards. And Fiverr is not the only source for this kind of internet “work”.
The web in general, and review sites in particular, have a lot more astroturf mixed in than the average user is aware of. Everyone is jumping aboard “social media marketing” these days, and for a lot of people, astroturf can be a big part of a social media marketing campaign.
So, buyer beware.
As for the self published e-book market on Amazon, I’ve personally had pretty bad luck with what I’ve bought there, but I think that whole concept is still pretty much in its infancy. I’m a theoretical believer in self-publishing and e-books to open up the market to a healthy diversity of writers that would otherwise not succeed in traditional publishing. With that in mind, and with a new Kindle in hand, I recently bought a half dozen “top rated” self published titles. Unfortunately, I found them all to be quite bad–stories that belonged in the slush pile, stories that had probably been rejected by traditional markets for reasons that were pretty obvious when I started reading them.
So I’m going to have to give the self-published Kindle market another few years, and hope Amazon or someone comes up with some really good methods of filtering the slush.
On the other hand, I have had pretty good luck with 99c Kindle books. Sure, some of them have been stinkers, but then so have some of the “traditionally” published books I have read.
There’s a big problem with democratising reviews, which is that the reviews aren’t backed up with any form of reputation. A negative or positive unknown reviewer has nothing to lose by inaccuracy. If you’re a well known critic, then by definition you have a reputation to protect, and while people won’t agree with you all the time, if they consistently disagree with you they’ll soon stop listening.
I tend to think the opposite. The more reviews you can get people to leave, the more people you have to bribe to offset those reviews.
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