Tuesday, 12 August 2014

What would you do for a Fiverr?

I don't generally comment on the goings-on within the voiceover world. I'm normally very much an "each to their own" kind of person. I don't focus on what others do, they leave me alone and everyone ends up happy. However, on this occasion, I would like to talk about a website called Fiverr.

If you've ever had the pleasure of having had a debate about Fiverr you'll know what I mean. For anyone else, this is a website that many in the creative industry despise. They have good reason for doing this, as Fiverr advertises to clients that they believe the value of a creative (be it graphic design, copywriting, or in my case, voiceovers) to be as little as $5. This isn't the only website that makes money by piggybacking on other's talent for little remuneration, but it is easily the most prominent.

Now, this doesn't affect me personally; I know my worth and I steer well clear of places like this - but I worry that for the generation thinking about a move into the creative industry, this will set a dangerous precedent. People who sign up to this service will not only be devaluing themselves but the entire profession to which they purport to be a part of. Leaving aside the sheer amount of work an artist on Fiverr would have to do in order to make ends meet (Marc Scott's blog here puts it much better than I ever could), adopting this kind of mindset creates a downward spiral within the industry; a never-ending race to the bottom, pitting creative against creative, and sacrificing quality for value.

This does not create a healthy industry.

And so that's why I decided to join in.

I thought I'd extend this to see what other professional careers they think should be done for next-to-nothing. I told them I wanted to do open heart surgery.

At the time of writing, the page is still live, however it's probably only a matter of time before they remove it.

So here's a screenshot of the "gig" posting and a link to the video.

Don't think that by me saying this I'm against competition.  Rather, I welcome it. As much as I welcome new talent. The creative industry is a big one and there's more than enough room for everyone. But if we bring talent into a world where they think charging such a pitiful amount is the norm, that's where we have a problem. It is not the norm to have the value of your talent diluted to £5. It is not the norm to expect you to pour your creative heart into a project, simply to be "rewarded" with the pitiful sum of $5, minus commission. You are not being simply paid for a service. You are being paid for your brand, your time, your experience, your knowledge, your equipment, your skills and the licensing of your work.

To all creatives - voiceovers, musicians, artists - Know your value. And if you're not sure of your value, trust me. It's not $5.

19/08/13 - UPDATE - It's taken a week but Fiverr have finally removed the page, citing it was "promoting a service outside of Fiverr". Given the fact it's taken them so long to realise this, one can only surmise that the people paid to monitor the site have themselves been found on Fiverr.