This series documents my adventures in ultra low-budget, grass roots marketing attempts to drive traffic to my game portal sites, with the hopes of breaking even at $33 a month. For other articles in the series, visit the Pimp My Portal special feature page.
Five dollars and a dream.
(Note to my international readers: Wikipedia informs me that that is a portrait of Sir Wilfred Laurier, our seventh Prime Minister – NOT a kookaburra.)
What would you do for five dollars? My grandfather told me that when he was a little boy, five dollars would have bought a year’s supply of candy. In the Wild West, it would have bought a house. (Or a horse …? Grandpa had a speech impediment.) In the Wild West of the Internatz, five bucks spent most places will buy you a hardy handshake and a kick in the ass.
Section Two: The World’s Most Meager Marketing Budget
Then there’s Fiverr.com. This is one of those sites where, when you sign up, you must answer one simple question. On Twitter, it’s “What are you doing right now?” On Facebook, it’s “What’s your social insurance number and bank PIN?” On Fiverr, it’s “what would you do for five bucks?”
Here’s how it works: you sign up for Fiverr and post a “gig”. A gig fills in the blank in this statement:
I will ___________ for five dollars.
There are gigs ranging from people who will watch a movie and send you a review for five bucks, to people who will help you decide what to eat for dinner for five bucks, to people who will send you bendy straws in the shapes of shrimps for five bucks. Really. i didn’t make any of these up. Simply by telling you about Fiverr, i’ve lost you. i guarantee you’re going to spend the next 10-15 minutes or more looking through various gigs on the site and cackling like a hyena.
Go ahead. i’ll wait.
Are you back? Alright. Let’s continue.
Spending the Monays
As a buyer, when you order a gig on Fiverr, your money gets put in escrow with the site until the seller finishes the gig to your satisfaction. When the gig gets delivered, you can leave positive or negative feedback, much like on eBay. If you don’t like the result or the person is taking too long to complete your gig, there’s a resolution system that helps you get your money back. Fiverr pockets a dollar, and the seller pockets the remaining four.
Please keep that in mind as you read this next series of posts, friends: the seller makes four dollars for completing a gig.
Fiverrers earn the equivalent of these two Canadian toonies. (that hairy fellow on the front is the Queen)
Where on Earth Am I Going to Get Five Dollars?
i had spent twenty dollars on ZombieGameWorld.com, and that master strategy had netted me five visitors. i could see a lot more value in Fiverr – especially in the people who would shoot a video testimonial for your site, from your script, and sometimes POST IT TO THEIR OWN YOUTUBE ACCOUNT. (i’m glad that’s the extent of it … i was about to go into underlined font there)
When i first saw Fiverr a few years ago, i had a good laugh like you just did, and then pretty much forgot about it like any other crazy thing i’ve seen on the Internatz, like cats that look like Hitler and erotic fiction featuring Roy Orbison wrapped in cling film. But Fiverr kinda stuck in the back of my mind, and i would visit it every half a year or so to see what was going on.
“I will make a video of myself punching my boyfriend in the face and saying whatever you want me to.”
Meanwhile, over in Mochiland, my two weekend game jam games Two By Two and Bloat. were raking in the bucks at the rate of an Antarctic fry cook at a seasonal luau. It took nearly 1.5 years for me to earn my first hundred dollars in MochiAds rev share, which i promptly blew on a cocaine-fueled celebration party that ran me $5000 into the red.
A year and a half after that, the games had pulled in another cool hunny dollas, around the time i was thinking very hard about how to promote ZombieGameWorld.com without spending any actual money.
Hmm. $100 in Mochimedia ad rev share isn’t real money. i wonder how many Meetup groups i could sponsor with that? Or …
… OR ….
Somewhere in the back of my brain, it clicked. Fiverr.com. By my math, one hundred dollars would buy me no fewer than TWENTY Fiverr gigs. Video is all the rage with search engines, i’ve heard, and while i slowly work out a “real” video strategy for the site that’ll eat up a lot more of my precious time here on Earth, what’s the harm in dropping some fun-money to go fishing on Fiverr to see what i could get?
I Love It When a Plan Comes Together
So that, friends, is exactly what i did. i scoured Fiverr for the craziest, most inventive, and most worth-WAY-more-than-five-bucks-even-if-it’s-terrible gigs i could discover. My original plan was to spend $70 on video testimonials and the remaining $30 on people who “guarnateed” xty thousand hits to my YouTube video. i figured i could pay someone on Fiverr to make the video, and then pay someone on Fiverr to promote the video.
As it turned out, it was so much fun buying video gigs that to date, i’ve spent $80 on video/audio stuff, and $5 on “other” (get excited for that one – it’s awesome). i have $15 remaining in my budget, but that might jump back up to $25 because two sellers are “Very Late” on their delivery – that’s the point at which Fiverr allows you to cancel a gig order if you’re tired of waiting.
What Are They Thinking??
What sort of quality do you get when you purchase gigs on Fiverr? Terrible quality, that’s what. You have to figure that anyone who’d shoot a whole video ranging anywhere from 15 seconds to two minutes (!!) for four dollars, isn’t going to put primo effort into it. Mostly, you get bored attention-seeking Americans with no sense of lighting, sound quality, timing, intonation, speed, diction, or the ability to deliver content sincerely without blatantly obviously reading a script propped up next to their webcams. When they flub a line, they leave it in. When they hit a word they don’t know, they guess at the pronunciation, and often, the video you get is their first attempt at going through the material. And very occasionally, you get some real kooks.
Yes – crackers.
On the flip side, it’s five bucks. And it’s to promote a zombie video game site. i can’t imagine a more perfect pairing than shoddy free-to-play zombie Flash games built by 14-year-olds, and dull Yanks with no acting talent woodenly reading zombie scripts from their computer monitors. Two great tastes that taste great together.
Is This Making Anyone Else Uncomfortable?
There’s also a strangely seedy underbelly to Fiverr.com. Here are people who, for five bucks, will shoot an obviously phony but glowing testimonial on any skeevy product or service that foots the bill. i’ve looked up sample videos for the people hosting testimonial gigs, and i’ve found them saying stuff like
i’ve tried other diet pills before, but they all made me vomit cheese curds out my nostrils. THIS diet pill helped me drop 95 pounds in a week, and i’ve never felt better!
other SAT prep courses made me flunk out of high school and get thrown in prison. But with THIS prep course, not only did i pass with flying colours, but i scored FOUR scholarships to YALE! Thanks, ABC Prep Course. *WINK*
What … what sort of person does that? For four dollars? i know a lot of people were hit hard by the recent recession, but come on. Letting someone put his man-stick into your lady-crevice has to be less degrading than this, right? And at least when you’re done, the act isn’t broadcast to an International audience. (Unless he’s into that, and pays extra.)
(… but not four dollars extra.)
The other kind of grody thing on Fiverr are sellers who make videos using their very young children. i’m not sure how i feel about that. i have young kids of my own, and i don’t know that it’s fair for me to pimp them out to … well, i was gonna say “the highest bidder”, but it’s not even the highest bidder, is it? It’s the FOUR DOLLAR bidder. i dunno. That said, i WOULD use my daughters to pimp out ZombieGameWorld, cuz that’s just family bidness.
So what you get are odd people oddly taping testimonials for odd reasons, and earning an odd amount of money at it. But it’s not all odd. They are few and far between, but there are some absolutely top-notch hilarious pieces of content that have come out of my Fiverr experiment.
And So Our Course is Set
For this next run of articles, i am going to discuss the Fiverr gigs that i purchased with Mochi’s $100 in funnymunny. i’ll show you what i asked the sellers to do, what i got in return, and how i tried to hammer that into a usable piece of content to promote my game portal – the idea behind it being that search loves video.
(and Missouri loves company)
These upcoming articles will feature bikinis, puppets, kids, rednecks, beefcake models, and the most bizarre assortment of oddballs five dollars will buy. By the time we’re through, if you haven’t spent your own five bucks on Fiverr just to see what’ll happen, you clearly don’t understand the value of a dollar.
For real: this Fiverr experiment is the most fun i’ve had on the Internet since i discovered decorative needlepoint porn. The day i began this experiment, i was grinning from ear to ear, and couldn’t WAIT to bore my friends with the details. Five dollars can’t buy much in this day and age. It certainly can’t buy a horse (or a house?), but it CAN buy a person dressed up as a horse, freestyle rapping about your website that features cats with Hitler moustaches.
And there’s something so right about that.