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Fiverr's Proposed "Extended Review" Feature: Yay or Nay?

Fiverr is considering a new button for buyers that lets them extend the amount of time they're given before they have to accept a seller's delivery. How does that affect us as sellers, and where do I come down on it? That's what I'm talking about this time.

On October 3rd, Fiverr put up a trial balloon post in their user forums that suggests a solution to buyer complaints that the three days after delivery of their order doesn't always give them enough time to go over its contents and approve it. The original post isn't long, so I'm going to include the entire thing here:

"At Fiverr, we’re continually listening to feedback from members of our community. One of the frustrations for buyers has been when an order automatically completes before they’ve had a chance to review their delivery. As a seller, you might have seen revision requests that are not for actual revisions, but just asking for more time to review deliveries.

"We’ve learned that these requests are often due to weekends, the need for approval from co-workers, or…just busy schedules. To help ease this frustration, we’re running a test to allow buyers to request more time to review their order before it automatically completes.

"Of course, we want to ensure a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers, so we will only roll out this feature after closely monitoring the implications of this test: he number of orders completed, cancellations, disputes, tickets with Customer Service, and other quality metrics."

OK, let's start with the why. Apparently Fiverr is hearing from a certain percentage of their buyers who say they aren't given enough time to approve delivered orders. Using my own area as an example, that means occasionally, after I deliver my voiceover recording, it takes them more than three days to approve what i did for them. I can see how that could happen. Let's say I deliver late on.a Friday, and the buyer doesn't see it until Monday morning. Unless they happen to be able to get it approved that same-day, the three days will have passed.

And sticking with the voiceover example, what if the person who hired me is a video producer who doing a job for some manufacturing firm; maybe a large company where everything is done by committee. I send the video producer the recording on Monday, he or she checks it over, and sends it along to the manufacturer...and there it sits for awhile before they finally get back to him and he can approve, or request revisions. Meanwhile, the poor video producer who ordered from me is stuck in the middle.

Stuff like that happens. The question isn't whether it occurs, it's just a matter of whether it's something that needs to be addressed, and if so, by some sort of new feature. Depends on what they do, I guess. Here are some possibilities they could be considering:

  1. Based on the data they're able to gather, they might determine that an extra day or two might take care of most of the problems sellers are having. So they might just decide to make it four days, or five days, instead of three. That would probably be the simplest, most painless approach. An extra day or two isn't going to kill us as sellers. If that, statistically, is enough to solve most of the issue, I don't see that as much of a problem, really.

  2. Simply add a couple days across the board to all orders whose approval times span the weekend. Again there, I don't really have any problem with the idea...though if that were implemented, it would seem reasonable to do the same for seller delivery times that fall on weekends.

  3. Here's one other interesting possibility. Now don't laugh, but what about making the approval time extension an extra? So standard approval time stays three days as it is now, but the seller can order an extra if they suspect they'll need more time.$5 per additional day for time extension, for example. But let the seller charge whatever they like for that privilege. Or to opt to give it away as a premium...set the extra two or three days at $0. Let's say that 10% of buyers feel they may need more than three days for approval. And let's say that, on average, the orders with extensions add $10 to the sale. Well that would mean a little bit more income for the seller (who should be compensated for their inconvenience), and it would mean a pretty enormous sum for Fiverr, with its hundreds of thousands of buyers.

  4. Fiverr provides a button they can click on that instantly GIVES them more time to approve delivery. It'd be very convenient for the buyer. Painless time extension. And depending on how Fiverr sets it up, they might even be able to click the button again to get yet-more time. If that's their idea, that one is less comfortable to me. It's not mainly that it would make me suspicious of the buyer, especially if they got multiple time extensions, but it would send a bad signal to sellers.

Let me stick with #4 for a bit: the time extension button approach, which frankly, I suspect is what they actually have in mind. Suppose Fiverr was to do that for buyers. Buyers are now able to grant themselves additional time, maybe more than once, with the click of a button. Again, very convenient for the buyers, but sellers are going to be asking why, for them, the only way to get a time extension is by appealing for one from the buyer. in the Resolution Center. The request requires the seller to fill out a form, propose a time extension, and explain why they feel they need it. And the buyer has the freedom to refuse the request, or to simply ignore it. Meanwhile, the timer continues to tick, and if the seller isn't careful, the gig can run itself out of time while the seller waits for the buyer to respond.

Equity Schmequity

Personally, I'm not someone who feels that everything always has to be perfectly even-Stephen in every situation. I'm not constantly fighting for my rights or screaming "unfair unfair" about things. Life isn't always fair, and winners don't spend much time worrying about stuff like that, at least far as how it affects their own efforts. They just fight forward and make things happen. But I do think Fiverr will be overstepping things if they decide on a solution to this problem that doesn't take both buyers and sellers into consideration.

I know human nature enough to think sellers might get up in arms if this issue isn't addressed fairly. If Fiverr requires buyer approval for a delivery extension, they should require seller approval when the buyer needs more time to get an OK on a delivery. Or, they should make automatic time extensions available to both buyers and sellers.

My Take

I've handled thousands of orders on Fiverr, and it is not all that often that anyone (less than 10% of the time) requests a revision just to bide time ,while they get approval from a client, for example. But when they do so, it doesn't have to turn into a big deal, I just write back graciously and give them a few days. If more than a couple days go by, I politely prod them. If it stretches longer, without explanation, I just deliver again. That simple approach handles 99.99% of all situations I run across. So in the final analysis, I think this whole thing is a solution in search of a problem. But if Fiverr is going to take measures to address it "officially," I just hope they make it equitable. Otherwise, they'll just be swapping an empty buyer complaint box with a full one from sellers.

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