Buying our own logo on Fiverr. For five bucks (and change.)
Disruption, the “Shared Economy,” the “Collaborative Economy,” the “Gig Economy,” Crowdsourcing – they all refer to the same thing. Lots of people doing something at a rate much less than previously (sometimes even free,) for the enrichment of a few, often at the expense of previously established safeguards and standards. Case in point – the time we bought our own logo, for $5 (plus .50 processing fee) from Fiverr. And when we say our own logo, we literally mean our own damn logo.
The problem with $5 logos.
It’s no secret that designers, myself included, aren’t huge fans of so-called “gig” platforms like Fiverr. Not going to rehash all the reasons why (you can check out our Fiverr is awful post if you’re so inclined) but one of the main beefs is that these services are rife with knocked-off logos and plagiarized artwork. Here’s one example:
Claims of being “Exclusive on Fiverr” notwithstanding, that particular image is a copied version of an old factory logo that I worked up – about 5 years ago – for our technical manuals and how-to’s. You can see it here. Problem is, and despite this happening frequently, Fiverr are generally pretty unresponsive about copyright issues. They require you to open up an account in order to report infringements, a general pain in the ass when you have no interest in a Fiverr account and simply want to report something that’s slam-dunk obvious. Fiverr also requires any new sign-ups to accept their relentless email notices, and will spam your addy without mercy until you unsubscribe from their list, something I had to do several times before my deluge ceased. This wasn’t my first rodeo with Fiverr either, so rather than mess around with their support department yet again, I contacted this ‘Design Hut‘ fellah, the seller who was using our art, and told him to knock it off. To his credit, he did PDQ.
Fair enough I suppose. Nature of the beast. This isn’t about whiny bellyaching and whinging about copied artwork. Nobody has time to troll all these platforms playing whack-a-mole, and while I imagine many instances go unnoticed, when it’s brought to a designer’s attention they’re pretty well duty-bound to get this bootleg stuff removed. Often it’s our internal artwork. Many times it’s our client’s logos that have been lifted from our site and reverse engineered into different companies entirely. And then there’s the times when someone sets up shop as The Logo Factory and uses our own logo and when that happens, we have no choice. These are our registered trademarks and in order to protect them, we have to go after unauthorized usage or our protections get diluted and tougher to enforce. Which begins our little tale:
We embrace the “Gig Economy.”
We received notice that someone had, once again, knocked us off on Fiverr from designer Jeff Fisher via our Twitter feed:
Woah. Someone from Sri Lanka had knocked off a 3D variant of our studio logo proper – created during our rebrand back in 2009 – and had set up shop on Fiverr selling $5 logos under our name, or in a way that could be construed as under our name. All-in-all this one should have been a no-brainer. Let Fiverr know and they remove it, right? I sent their main and support accounts a message through my (slightly salty) personal Twitter account:
Nothing back. I also let them know via the official TLF Twitter account so that there was no confusion as to who was saying what:
Still no response. Maybe through their official Facebook page? Nope. Nothing there either (at time of writing, that comment is still on their Facebook page and still without a response
The $5 logo purchase.
First thing was creating a Fiverr account. I’d forgotten the original I’d opened to bitch at Fiverr, so my wife Sue set up a new one under her name and went to the ‘gig’ featuring our logo (I don’t know if the guy uses his real name or not, so I blurred it out.) She got right to the point:
Sue: “I really like the logo on your page. I was planning on starting a company and calling it The Logo Factory. I want to have your logo. How much?”
The only real answer here is a variation of a) it’s not my logo to sell, b) somebody called The Logo Factory is already using it, or..
Fiverr Guy: “Thanks. Give me five dollar.”
And there you have it. We could buy our own logo for a cold five beans on Fiverr. Best to make sure this puppy is original though. Wouldn’t want to be knocking anyone off:
Sue: “That sounds good. How do I pay? Does that include copyright? Because I want to make sure it is original.”
Fair question no?
Fiverr Guy: “It is original. You order my gig.”
Yep. Totally original. Time to pay up – a quick PayPal transaction: Not to be a nit-picker or anything but it seems Fiverr tacks on a .50 processing fee (amounting to 10%) on their $5 gigs, so perhaps they should refer to themselves as Fiverrish or something. In any case, the gig was listed as completed: The gig artwork was delivered as promised: This, by the way, was the final deliverable. A badly pixelated version of our own logo, covered ass to stern in ‘TRIAL’ watermarks. Yep, adding insult to injury, our Fiverr designer was using a free demo version of some software that was defacing the graphics he delivered. Anyhoo, we exchanged reviews (big time currency on gig sites:)
This exercise was certainly worth 5 stars for the lulz alone, but you would think that someone, anyone, would have clued in that the review also contained the words “Est. 1996.” As in ESTABLISHED 1996 – part of the logo itself and somewhat odd for a new company. Alas, nobody did. Then this happened: On the way out, an ever so helpful pop-up window invited us to print our newly minted, heavily pixelated and water-marked logo on all sorts of Vistaprint merchandise – business cards, T-shirts, letterheads, banners and the like – no doubt via some kickback or affiliate program. We respectfully declined (what a disaster that would have been) and clicked on the close ‘X’ but not before using the ‘Share MY work’ link for Twitter:
This tale isn’t without a happy ending mind you. As part of our $5.50 transaction, our Fiverr designer made this concession:
Fiverr guy: “Thanks sir. I delete my logo because you use your factory that have good business.”
Huzzah! We finally got somebody to take our logo off Fiverr. And it only cost us $5.50.
This post hadn’t been published an hour when I received another Tweet, about another instance of our artwork getting nicked by yet another seller on Fiverr:
And away we go again..
Should probably point out that this article was originally published on our (now) legacy blog last November. As part of our recent site rebuild, we’re moving over some old posts into a ICYMI category in the new location and this one was always good for a few laughs. Besides, in the almost 300 days that have transpired, and after numerous Facebook comments, email requests, Twitter mentions and that original posting all asking Fiverr to take it down, our logo is still there.
Fair game I think.