Fighting Feedback Terrorism
Has the rise of a self entitled culture created a problem of feedback terrorism on fiverr?
In a previous article I discussed a growing problem on Fiverr known as feedback terrorism. With the recent changes in fiverr customer service’s attitude toward removing blatant feedback extortion I thought it was time to discuss what we can do as a community to combat this ever present threat.
If you have been selling on fiverr for any amount of time you have likely come across a difficult buyer from time to time ( welcome to retail reality! ). Ever since around the 1950’s the western world’s model of dealing with consumers has held up the axiom that “the customer is always right“. As a shop owner and on line marketer I know better… and so do you. We all have our own stories to easily refute this pop culture meme, yet with increased completion in the marketplace and shrinking profit margins retailers collectively hold on to this age old dogma with a near religious fervor and savvy consumers know it!
Identifying the enemy and their motivations
With the aforementioned pieces of this puzzle in place it should come as no surprise to see the situation give rise to a new type of predatory consumer, hell bent on exploiting the cracks in the system and the good will of retailers if only to satisfy their own greed and warped sense of entitlement. Harsh words, I know but, look at any major retailer and you’ll find huge returns departments filled to the rafters with items that have been used and returned, brought back missing pieces (either innocently or intentionally) as well as any other number of unacceptable issues. On a personal note I can recall clear back in the 1990’s when Sam’s club (Wal-Mart) would fully refund your money for computers as old as ONE YEAR, all you had to do is show them your receipt!
I won’t get political with this article but I will say that this country has raised up more than it’s fair share of crybaby, self entitled sociopaths who walk through life as if everyone owes them something and they show little if any remorse for using whatever means they can to get what they feel they deserve…. lying, cheating, swindling, scamming even outright stealing if given the opportunity. it’s at epidemic levels.
As things currently are, a predatory fiverr buyer (PFB for short) can enter the market with nothing more than $5 and literally go NUTS! He can churn that $5 over and over, hitting seller after seller and there is no system in place to stop it.
There are two main types of PFBs:
1) Digital Pirates: Just like the pirates of old, digital pirates raid unsuspecting merchants and make off with their bounty scott-free. He ( or she – let’s be fair) can make a purchase, receive his item, make any number of claims as to why it is not to his liking and within a short time he can have that $5 back in his account ready to hit the next unsuspecting seller. as of this writing fiverr has NO CAP on the number of buyer claims that can be made… seems like a recipe for disaster doesn’t it? it gets worse!
2) Feedback extortion: This is the on the hurts the most because you feel the financial and emotional effects long after the crime has been committed. In this variation buyers or outright pirates attempt to bring in even MORE than was initially offered. once a purchase is made they simply keep hitting you for alterations, extras, revisions and freebies and hording your time and resources well beyond any hope of turning a profit all the while doing it with the threat of bad feedback hanging over you.
The sucker punch: Some PFBs are just pure scum. You simply cannot “buy them off” no matter how much you give them or what you do… This “elite” sadistic group gets off on tanking the scores of sellers with 100% feedback and they actually target them specifically. Kinda gives you a cold chill just thinking about it doesn’t it? You’ll never see it coming until you get hit and the effects go straight to your bottom line!
What does Fiverr have to say about all this?
Very little these days. Clearly the problem of predatory fiverr buyers attempting to ( and usually succeeding in ) hijacking sellers for their digital goods and services is now gotten to be more than they can handle. Back a few short years ago a simple email to fiverr customer service along with an explanation of the problem would sort it all out or even get wrongly deserved feedback expunged from your good name and make sure you get your money.
Nowadays, this is not the case. Once the damage is done, its done, and the staff at fiverr will do little if anything to rectify it. This is obviously a symptom of a company in way over it’s head with customer/seller complaints that has no solutions other than to suggest you “Just sell more and do the best you can with the rest of your customers and it will all work out fine in the end.” – I’m serious. I was actually told this by a fiverr staff member.
Sorry fiverr, capitulation is not a winning battle plan!
Given the vast number of these predatory consumers in the general populace, it should come as NO surprise to see their tactics extend into the online world (and by extension fiverr) as well, where it’s even easier to hide and rake in a kings ransom in digital goodies.
Fighting Feedback Terrorism along with digital goods hijacking requires an active hands on approach and so I’ve put together this simple check list of ideas to help you make the best of a bad situation. I would encourage every seller currently on fiverr to take a look at the list below and see how it can be used to protect the products/services and reputation for quality you have worked so hard to create.
Combatting the inevitable
1) engage with every buyer – nameless faceless sellers are easier to screw over.
2) Build a positive feedback firewall using rewards – “reciprocity”