At least 12 of the 24 participants used each service discussed one or more times, as well as 44 similar services for a total of 53 services. What follows is a summary of results gathered between June 2014 and February 2015. In the interest of full disclosure, I gave each participant $20 of fun money to start them off.
The participants tried many other blog promotion services as well.
fanni121 (https://www.fiverr.com/fanni121) promises to promote your business / product / ebook to 4 million Facebook fans and said a refund is guaranteed if unsatisfied. The problem is no one who used this service saw any results. Recently, in a follow up test of the service, we also saw no results and contacted fanni121 after he/she stated the gig was delivered. Our lengthy message explaining our test of the service for our research report, also suggesting ways the service could be improved, and making a request for an order modification was met with a rejection of the modification request and no follow up message whatsoever. We followed up again and stated that the gig was supposed to have a money back guarantee and that we were trying to help them give actual value. The response was a single word: Refund. And, we did get a refund.
But does the Fb_dami promotion work for surely it must if actually reaching 5 million? Do the extras work any better? Some limited results were seen for the $5 gig, but it’s a resounding no on the extras. For $20, $50 or $100 you are not getting 4X, 10X or 20X value or results. You’re getting less extra value than if you simply purchased the original $5 gig again at a different date.
UPDATE: 2/24/15. We tested Fb_dami's service again just recently. He now says if you agree to give him a good rating when you sign up for the gig, he'll throw in some free extras worth $30, including pictures with posts and twitter promotion. What you actually get though seems to be the $10 Silver package or part of it. At any rate, if you mention "ReadIndies" when you get the gig, you are supposed to get the same whether you give him a rating or not.
The participants tried many other facebook promotion services as well.
Indie Book Value (https://www.fiverr.com/indiebookvalue) will tweet your book to his/her 75,000 followers for $5 and says he/she is a #1 bestselling Amazon author in his/her category. For $10 extra, you can get four tweets per day for a month. For $20 extra, you can get 12 tweets a day for a month. For $40 extra, you can get twelve tweets for two months. Not a good value, not even for $5.
Although George was friendly, very responsive to questions and helpful, his service doesn't have the following suggested. In fact, the tweets from his accounts have little actual following. For example, the account used for .99 books has only 150 or so followers. The 665,000 ebook lovers the tweets are supposed to reach is based on using hash tags in tweets, such as #kindle #ebook, etc.
George did craft great tweets, but were they worth $5 each? Not in our opinion. It's also worth noting that George is the only one who took me up on the second chance offer I discuss later under Disclosure and seemed to be one of the few who actually, genuinely wanted to help authors succeed.
The participants tried many other twitter promotion services as well.
DisclosureThough I tracked and compiled the results with the participating authors, I myself did not participate. Before writing this report, I tried to give every seller listed a second chance. I posted a private message to each explaining I was researching book promotion services. I explained the research and asked them to give a free test run of their service, the results of which I would also include in the report. There was only one taker, though plenty of complaints, and that should tell you everything you ever needed to know about these services from Fiverr. We will continue this research throughout 2015 hoping against the odds to find services of actual value.
Therefore, it was extremely disappointing to find that nearly every one of these services treat your gig as if it has no value to them, often using automated means to perform the actual work required or simply copying and pasting something over and over -- and always doing as little as possible. Worse, the same remained true even when we bought gigs extras that added up to a lot of money.
The participants and I didn't expect a lot for $5 or even $20. However, we did expect that when we worked with parties in countries where this represents a good wage, we would actually get good, earnest efforts on our behalf -- and that rarely, if ever, happened.
Wanted to update this special report based on feedback from Fiverr sellers. It's important to note that Fiverr takes a 20% commission on all monies received and also holds funds for at least two weeks (18 or more days typically). This lengthy payment process makes some sellers reluctant to give 100% efforts, especially with new members or those they haven't previously worked with.
When working with international sellers, it's important to keep in mind that $5 can represent a lot of money and your cancellation of an order or request for a refund could cause serious harm. Rather than canceling an order or requesting a refund, try working with the seller to see if you can come to a mutually agreeable resolution.