The 1st Year of Fiverr.com: An interview with Micha Kaufman

Five dollars goes a long way. We recently had the opportunity to interview Micha Kaufman, co-founder and CEO of Fivver.com, a site that enables people sell things to one another for $5.

Although we don’t like the fact that Fiverr allows members to sell fake testimonials and reviews, we can’t deny that the site has a lot of good things going for it.  Read the whole interview to see what the founders of Fiverr have accomplished in little more than a year.

SINCE FIVERR IS ABOUT A YEAR OLD, MAYBE YOU CAN TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE GROWTH THAT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED IN THE FIRST YEAR.
This has been a truly amazing year. Fiverr has become a go-to place for people to monetize their skills, big or small. You know, we’re living in a new world where 9 to 5 isn’t the obvious career choice for everyone. People are working multiple jobs, working as contractors, consultants, work remotely, use outsourcing often, etc, and – we understood that. We realized that before Fiverr, there wasn’t a place for people who don’t necessarily see themselves as professional freelancers to make money off their skills. And I’m very proud to say that during this year we have created jobs for unemployed people. We’ve helped underpaid people to make additional income. Helped students pay their student loans. Helped people put aside enough money to go on several vacations they always dreamed of. The stories that our users send us are really inspirational.

COULD YOU GIVE ME A SENSE OF YOUR AUDIENCE – HOW MANY TRANSACTIONS ARE TAKING PLACE ON FIVERR.COM, HOW MANY USERS DO YOU HAVE, HOW MANY ACCOUNTS?
We don’t talk about numbers, but just in a general sense, I can tell you that – since our launch, we have been growing double-digits each month. And at this point, we are processing about 1,000 new services – a thousand new gigs – per day.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES FIVERR SUCH A UNIQUE MARKETPLACE?
It’s probably really a combination of things. The most obvious of them is that it is dead simple to use. It takes about two minutes to sign in and set up your service and become a seller. And it takes about 30 seconds to buy something. There’s no bidding involved, and it’s – it really caters to the need of today’s economy. And best of all, it’s fun. It’s social, and it’s very, very addictive.

[Social Meteor] Yeah, you know – I set a budget of $20 for reviewing Fiverr and probably within about four days I had already doubled that. And I think that – some of that has to do with five bucks is a small price to pay, and just the creativity that some people use when they’re – when they’re posting stuff, I’m as curious about what they deliver sometimes as those things that I think I actually need.

SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE STRANGEST, FUNNIEST THINGS THAT YOU’VE WITNESSED IN TERMS OF THE TYPES OF THINGS PEOPLE ARE POSTING ON FIVERR?
Oh, god, I mean the list is endless right now. I came across a number of funny stuff lately. People that will drop anything for you from forty foot lift and video it for you. People that will dance for you in banana costume. People that offer to remove black magic evil eye and protect you from evil. As far as your imagination goes.

I’VE HEARD THAT THERE ARE FULL-TIME FIVERRS. YOU MENTIONED THAT. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE POTENTIAL IS, FOR INCOME, THAT YOU’VE SEEN WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE SERIOUS FULL-TIME FIVERRS?
Alright, so – again, without going into specific numbers – I can confirm that our – that there are sellers that are making thousands of dollars each month on Fiverr. So there are sellers that are full-time Fiverrs.

If you take yourself serious, you have a very, very good chance on – to sell on Fiverr and once orders roll in, you’ll see it grow following that. So, and – I think the same goes for buyers. If you order once there’s a very good chance that you will order again. The experience is fun and you get to meet cool people. I mean, you typically get awesome results for your money. Think of it like this – if you go to a store where everything is for five dollars, you probably won’t come in just to buy one thing, right? We’re seeing a clear trend in multiple orders made by new buyers.

Let’s take an example: Imagine you come in to find a new logo for your blog. I’m sure you can order one and hope for a good match. Or you can order ten, which is still just fifty bucks, right? And pick the one you like most. You get the idea.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE SUCCESS FORMULA IS FOR SOMEONE WHO IS NEW TO FIVERR AND WANTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL? WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GREAT FIVERR LISTING?
I would say that the most obvious one is – putting some effort into creating a service, whether it is doing some research on Fiverr to see what’s already out there, see if you can maybe offer a different service or the same service but from a different angle with something special into it and we’re seeing that people that are putting some effort in bringing some traffic from their social networks to start, their first sales are starting to do very well, and then from then just pick up.

I HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS, AND THEY’RE AGED 11 AND 13. AND THEY’RE CONVINCED THAT THEY CAN GET A BETTER SOURCE OF INCOME FROM FIVERR THAN THEY CAN FROM THEIR ALLOWANCE. WHAT DO YOU THINK FIVERR CAN TEACH YOUNG PARTICIPANTS ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR?
First of all, I think your daughters are right, obviously. We have been seeing a growing trend of kids that work with their parents on some very cool gigs. And, being a father myself, I know that the experience of having someone you don’t know pay for something you do is a life changing even for adults. Not to mention the value of it for kids. I think it gives them a very – a great sense of accomplishment. And at the same time they learn what it takes to make a buck, which is also a very good lesson in life.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU’VE PURCHASED ON FIVERR RECENTLY?
Oh, god, I’m buying – I’m buying like crazy. There’s so many cool stuff. Some of my recent purchases – well, I bought a funny snowboard hat that someone made for me. I’m buying tons of stuff for Fiverr. Videos for Fiverr, things for our blog. Presents for my family, friends. Drawings, birthday greetings, stickers, buttons, you name it, I’m buying each day a couple of stuff.

HOW IMPORTANT HAS WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA BEEN TO THE SUCCESS THAT YOU’VE SEEN AT FIVERR?
Well, obviously, it has been contributing a lot – Fiverr didn’t launch with a huge marketing budget but instead we had a clear vision of organic, viral growth and that is exactly what happened. Ordinary people, like you and I, just saw the service, used it, and dug it instantly, and from there just spread the word all over.

So, we have been seeing the impact that it has on Fiverr and we’re seeing the same for other businesses that are using Fiverr to their benefit.

ARE THERE ANY FIVERR GIGS THAT GET REJECTED OR THAT JUST REALLY AREN’T APPROPRIATE FOR THE MARKETPLACE, OR YOU’RE TRYING TO CREATE A CERTAIN VIBE?
Well, sure, we do reject gigs sometimes. If we come across or if we get a report from a user of a service or a seller, for that matter, that posts something that is against our terms of service or is simply improper or in bad taste, we just delete it.

THERE IS SOME STUFF THAT CONCERNS ME. FOLKS, FOR FIVE BUCKS, WILL GIVE A GLOWING TESTIMONIAL VIDEO. AND YOU KNOW – AS SOMEONE WHO WORKS IN SOCIAL MEDIA, THAT HITS CLOSE TO HOME.
Well, you know – sometimes I think that it is not really that different from commercials where an actor, often looking like an average Joe, recommends something to you, right? And also, sometimes it’s not really that different than asking your friends in your social networks to come and vote for you as a favor. But I agree that it’s a tricky subject and I’m aware of it and I think – usually people that use it in a tasteless way, it doesn’t create value anyway.

[Social Meteor] And I have to say that there are folks who kind of take that and put a really nice spin on it. One of the Fiverrs I bought was someone who just, for a month or ten days, would just come and read your blog and give you honest feedback. And I thought that’s a pretty valuable tool for five bucks.

WE’VE TALKED ABOUT ENTREPRENEURS – ARE THERE WAYS THAT YOU’RE SEEING TRADITIONAL BUSINESSES START TO LEVERAGE FIVERR OR KIND OF MORE BRICK AND MORTAR BUSINESSES?
Oh, no doubt. I mean – Fiverr offers some amazing opportunities for business that before Fiverr never existed or at least not in one place and not at an affordable price. From graphic design to social to social advertising to SEO – writing business material, press releases. People, we’re seeing that people can actually kick off a business just from using Fiverr. And we’ve saw some businesses do exactly that. So, definitely.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR FIVERR? I MEAN, ARE THERE SOME FEATURES AND SOME THINGS THAT, BASED ON A YEAR OF A MARKETPLACE BEING ACTIVE, THAT PEOPLE ARE ASKING FOR OR THAT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT ROLLING OUT SOON?
From our perspective, Fiverr has just started. Our focus in the first year was to validate the concept and scale up the service to a significant size. And we’re now entering what we call the second phase of the product and we’re about to introduce some amazing new features that will service providers to grow their business and, again, from – for all these reasons, we can’t really go into details.

But it’s going to be a very, very interesting year for Fiverr and for this market and we’re sure that there’s really a tremendous room to grow this business and that Fiverr will continue to lead it.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT FIVERR AND ITS USERS?
Well, as I said, I mean, we’re getting some amazing stories of people that actually – people in between jobs that were kind of worried about how to pay the monthly bills and stumbled and found Fiverr by, just by accident, and made enough money to do that and be back on their feet. We’re seeing great stories and we’re seeing a growing number of people that are actually using Fiverr as their full-time job, working under their conditions, on their time, from wherever they want, and this is exactly what we’re here for. And so – the idea is pretty simple. It’s really easy to use. And I really – I encourage your listeners and viewers to come in and try it. It’s really a great experience.

About Troy Janisch

Troy Janisch, Publisher of Social Meteor, is a digital marketing professional and social media beatnik. He is a contributor to SmartBrief on Social Media. Like a good social media program, SocialMeteor.com is all about content. It’s not a consulting company or marketing agency.
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  • http://www.bestoffiverr.com Charleen Larson

    Great interview with Micha. As an early adopter of Fiverr, I’m pleased as can be it’s come this far this fast. Fiverr’s potential is enormous. I see it supplanting Etsy in another year as the primary source for inexpensive handcrafted gifts. And that’s just one of so many directions it could go.

    If I had a Fiverr wish list, the top item would be more ways for sellers to promote themselves outside of the usual social media universe. I’m working on some ideas about that, but in the meantime ambitious Fiverr sellers can contact me through my BestOfFiverr blog.

    Lastly, thank you, Troy, for buying my earring gig!

  • http://www.bestoffiverr.com/ Charleen Larson

    Hey Troy,

    It’s been 11 months since this interview…  Have you taken a look at Fiver lately?

  • http://www.facebook.com/arjun.porwal Arjun Porwal

    awesome interview by micha sir..
    i am seller there, conveying thanks to him for delivering happiness to our homes in form of daily life d=stability and extra income of good money..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=591052728 Ethan Murray

    I found Fiverr is good also… I now use TenBux.com as well… Making double the amount of money…

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  • JonBoy

    Great idea….. Shit service… Fiverr is a flop! They don’t value their customers and take $1 dollar for every $5

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  • shiftypop!

    Fiverr is FANTASTIC. i’m glad they take $1 … awesome idea’s deserve praise. ;D i’ve recently finished uni and i’m jobless, but fiverr’s making me want to get up in the morning! i can now pay my mother rent !

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.marker19 Steve Marker

    Fiverr’s gonna loose lots of customers since you can get anything
    SEO-related on SEOClerks. That’s my honest opinion. Fiverr has to make
    some great changes fast, if they wanna stay in business. SEOClerks even
    has a better support, they have freebies, and a lot of other features
    Fiverr wouldn’t even dream of.

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  • Raul Caro

    Dont buy here. Poor Customer service. Scamm artists.! Buyer be aware!

  • Raul Caro

    Author Troy Janisch should have checked out this scam of a company prior to writting a PR piece for them. I would say this reflects on your investigative skills, no!

  • Jacky

    Micha, he is no doubt Jewish, is just another puppet for elitists that want to manipulate people mostly in the US to provide cheap service. They had 20 million to play with in April 2012, but wonder where it went because the service is horrible these days, completely saturate with garbage with sellers who don’t have much experience of doing anything. Fiverr favors young ladies with big boobs and bikinis which you will see often on the front page. If you Jewish, no problem to help a fellow Jew and make money while others make nothing. This is fiverr and what goes up will always come down and when it does a lot of sellers will be angry. Oh, did I mention, fiverr is skimming funds from sellers without them even knowing! Anyhow, I’ve said too much, the choice is yours. Watch out for the rise in the amount of fraud.

  • Djslash Djsh

    Great idea we love to work on fiverr. $4 is enough for us “srilankans”

  • Jacky

    Micha is simply a puppet in the Jewish elitist Illuminati. Not only is the website 70% fraud, fiverr is skimming funds from sellers without them realizing it. We have been selling on fiverr for three years and discovered in 2013 that revenues were going missing for no reason. We hired an auditor to investigate and he too confirmed problems. We have the evidence and we confronted Micha, but he couldn’t care less, neither does support. We have since stopped selling and are warning others to be careful because one day fiverr will simply disappear. Remember fiverr is based in Tel Aviv Israel and simply operating an office in the US as a front. So, you can take advantage of bargains now while they last or better yet shop on better quality sites that have more responsible people sellers and support.

  • powerlabels

    Fiverr is definitively scam! Please have a look on this thread in fiverr forum:

    http://forum.fiverr.com/discussion/31899/fiverr-fraud-money-stolen-no-answer-of-any-ticked-i-opened/p1

    It’s a shame!