Plagiarized Content on Fiverr from SEO Writers
Welcome to the World of Plagiarism & Fraud on Fiverr
by Dr. William Sen
You may or may not heard about it: SEOs telling you that you can get content written through Fiverr for only 5 bucks. Sounds great as we all know that SEO is mostly about content. And content writing can be a tough, costly, and time-consuming job.
Most SEO probably tried out already to see if it’s true. As much as we’d like to believe that Fiverr is a great source for buying content, I can only repeat what most good SEOs already know: It’s too good to be true — and the reason for this is:
Most of the content you will receive from Fiverr is plagiarized.
I know what you’re thinking — and that’s the first thing came to my mind as well when I read about Fiverr Plagiarism: Check the content using plagiarism tools, or even copy paste some of the sentences to Google, right?
Because Fiverr SEO article writers nowadays use techniques to confuse plagiarize checks. So, you wouldn’t know. I will tell you in a second how they do it.
But first things first:
How does Fiverr Work?
Ordering a gig, let’s say a content worth of 500 words, couldn’t be easier. Once you have signed up as a buyer, you can order gigs from several sellers. Usually 200-500 words are being sold for $5.
The main problem with Fiver is that the first result pages are filled with highly reviewed and recommended content writers. But what you don’t know when you use Fiverr the first time is that around 80% of these results are the same person — more accurate the same organization. Throughout my research and testing I was able to find out that almost all of them originate from African countries such as Nigeria. And don’t be fooled by their profile section where they pretend to be from all different places including United States. It’s all fake.
How Writers Hack Fiverr
Mostly using VPNs and other techniques these small posses create hundreds of accounts on Fiverr. By offering extremely cheap gigs they get a high number of gigs by different buyers within a short time period. This high activity usually results in them being shown on the top positions of Fiverr — because Fiverr’s algorithm works pretty much like Google. If you as a seller have lots of gigs and activity, then Fiverr will favor your ranking position when people are searching for terms such as “Content Writing”.
Estimated 70% of them receive bad reviews, and only the ones with good reviews prevail. Usually the first 20-100 gigs offered are the ones who have prevailed, and that’s what you as a buyer see when you search for gigs. As these scammers constantly create new accounts, the ones get lost in the shuffle are considered accepted losses for them — that’s what you don’t see.
When you start working with “these guys”, you start getting a feel for it. They mainly use same communication phrases.
Once you think you gotten familiar with your content writer and built up a relationship, you tend to order bigger gigs above $50. This is when things can get ugly. The thing is, not all the content they provide is plagiarized. That’s one of the reasons they are hard to trace. Once a while you will receive tons of texts that have been copied from places such as Wikipedia and hundreds of other URLs. That’s how they scam you with illegal content.
It gets worse:
One of the groups I was able to encounter I call the “Nigerian Gang”. They kind of have all similar user names, and similar reviews. They have hundreds of accounts on Fiverr, all look different it’s hard to see the pattern.
They use special characters in their word documents making it impossible to trace their texts. When you open the word document it looks legit, but all fonts are actually special characters, and it’s impossible to see it through programs such as Word. Even if you copy paste the document to WordPress, it looks like common text. But the truth is, neither Google nor any other software can read it. Thus, if you copy paste sentences to Google or plagiarism checkers, you won’t get any results — making you believe that it’s unique content. Smart but totally illegal.
Below is is the famous quote from Shakespeare’s McBeth. The first one can’t be tracked and is being used by Fiverr delinquents where Google will show you that they are no matches. The second one is the original quote and it’s not hacked. While both look exactly the same, the first one is untraceable:
1) Hacked Content:
?t?r?, hid? y?ur fir??; l?t n?t light ??? my bl??k and d??? d??ir??
2) Legit Content:
stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires
Go ahead and copy the first sentence a s a phrase to Google. You will get no results. As for the second, you will get around 100K of results.
It’s not magic. That’s Fiverr, folks!
Also: Not only your text will be plagiarized, if you use things like this on your website, you most likely be punished by Google as this is actually what we as SEOs consider ghost content and black hat. Imagine a content written all in that scrambled text. Because that first McBeth sentence will look like this to Google:
?t?r?, hid? y?ur fir??; l?t n?t light ??? my bl??k and d??? d??ir??
Can you Detect Fiverr Scammers?
The Fiverr delinquents are becoming extremely skilled. One of the reason is, Fiverr doesn’t care and that’s why it’s considered a playground for criminals like this ones. Most of them don’t even use stock images for their portfolio pictures anymore as SEOs know exactly how to use the “Search for Google Image” feature. It shouldn’t be a problem for organized fraudsters from Nigeria to find unique pictures. They are getting better and better.
Unfortunately, Fiverr doesn’t do anything about this — nothing that I was able to witness. If you receive plagiarized content, you can open a dispute, but Fiverr won’t respond. One of the things you want to avoid is to order larger gigs to avoid losing money.
Fiver Transfers Your Money to Fraudulent Sellers
One of the ways Fiverr works is that you can ask the writer for revisions — for example when you detect plagiarized content. Which is unreasonable, because why would you ask for a revision if you detect fraud? It’s like buying a piece of art from somebody, and it turns out that he forged it. Would you then ask for a revision? But the revision feature is the only option you have on Fiverr.
After asking for revision, the fraudulent sellers deliver the same fake documents a couple times. Because the amount of revisions are limited to one or two, after the last revision, the order will be closed successfully, and your money will be transferred to the seller automatically.
Another ridiculous feature on Fiverr is that you have 3 days to review the content, or the deal will automatically be closed, and again, your money will be transferred to the seller automatically. During these 3 days you have the option to open a dispute, which doesn’t change anything as Fiverr doesn’t respond to disputes. So basically, whatever you do, either ask for a revision or open a dispute, the deal will be closed in a couple of days, and your money will be gone.
The small comfort you get is to leave a negative review. But the seller couldn’t care less as they have hundreds of other accounts. But they will leave you a negative review as well.
Legality or Illegality of Fiverr
Fiverr is a company located in Israel and therefore the Israeli law applies. United States or any other laws from other countries don’t affect them. That also makes Fiverr a safe haven for the company and sellers with criminal intentions. Your laws simply don’t apply to them, unless you live in Israel. On top of that, the sellers are from different other countries such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria and similar. The profiles are anonymous, as as they use pseudonyms, and no real names or addresses.
Fiverr takes no responsibility… for nothing at all
By now it’s obvious that Fiverr takes no responsibility for their platform. But if you’re using Fiverr, prepare even for the worst. Fiverr’s website tends do go down sometimes. It’s when the website is inaccessible. And we’re not talking about a couple minutes. The website crashes down for hours and days. This is what you will see occasionally visiting Fiverr:
Platforms tend to be down, that’s not a big deal usually. But here is the big problem: if you have hired someone through Fiverr, you have a 3-day-period to review their content, otherwise your money will be automatically transferred to that person. However, during the time Fiverr is down, the clock is still running, while you can’t review the work of other people. As you can see above, Fiverr explicitly says that during a downtime, Fiverr will act like as the site was up. So this is what will happen: Let’s say receive work from somebody… you won’t be able to review it while the site is down. By the time Fiverr is up and running again, your time to review the work is up: money gets transferred to the contractor, you will have no chance to request a revision.
And also have a closer look at that sentence: “Will Fiverr compensate me during long outages? Not at this time”. That alone would be illegal in all European countries, countries such as USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and many more. Any platform where transaction of goods and money is involved is responsible by law no matter what. You can’t just say “I’m not responsible, because I say so”. Since Fiverr is located in Isreal, we don’t know the law situation there. It seems like companies like Fiverr can just reject any responsibilities. That means, nothing is safe or guaranteed if you use Fiverr. It’s like trading with bitcoins. You might lose everything, you might not.
Fiverr international ltd headquarters
What is interesting is that as of 2019 and according to Google Streetview, these are the headquarters of fiverr international ltd.
However, this is how Fiverr represents itself in 2017 (contrary what Google Streetview has captured in the year 2019) — it’s the same building with assumable hell of a Photoshop face-lifting:
Not only we see a huge Fiverr logo that is not visible in the original image of Google. A gigantic and modern top section appears almost magically on top of that old building… which by the way also doesn’t exist on any satellite photo of Google or Bing. What does this say about this company?
Lowest Possible Quality Workers
Let’s sum up: a platform that doesn’t check the quality of their workers who provide gigs. Fiverr doesn’t respond to any complaints or whatsoever, they ignore plagiarism, and who knows what else. On top of that, even the workers have no security and no support. As you can see above, Fiverr actually says that it’s just bad luck for every worker, when their platform is down. That means when you work for Fiverr and the platform is down, thus you can’t deliver, your work will be marked as “late”. So ask yourself this question:
Would you provide work on Fiverr under this circumstances if you were a high quality worker?
The answer is: no, you would not. You would seek for more professional platforms to offer your gigs. And that’s exactly what is happening to Fiverr. Good workers leave the platform, leaving nothing but mostly scammers, fraudsters, or just low quality workers who have no other opportunities. Fiverr is like a strip club in a bad neighbordhood with horrible management, where the best dancers have left the stage long time ago. And all you get is… well you get the picture.
As much as we all like to get cheap content, Fiverr is a risk. It’s more like Bitcoins. You might get scammed and lose most of your money, and you might not. There is no guarantee that it will work. And you will spend a lot of money before you can find someone you can trust to. There is no authority behind it that will help you with your case.
But the biggest risk you would take is to publish some of the illegal content from Fiverr on a website, just to get a copyright infringement letter with a large bill, because you’ve been using some third-party content. In the end, that could cost you much more than the pennies you probably have saved on Fiverr.
And by the way — have you ever used Fiverr? You might want to check each content you have received and already published. You might have already been scammed.
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