Why are animators paid so low

Fiverr: 4.82 euros for a computer animation

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The most unusual order came from Russia. A DJ wanted to record a track with calendar wisdom in different languages. For example, "It is better to be normal than to be flawless", or, "We talk about dreams as if they were true." The DJ sent the lines to the user Berlinvoice in Germany, who spoke the sentences in his soundproofed studio corner in his one-room apartment in Berlin-Gesundbrunnen, revised the recordings, and sent them back to Moscow. Half an hour of work, 15 euros. "A nice extra income," says the spokesman.

The 24-year-old works full-time for a Brandenburg radio station, producing short clips and commercials there. Since January he has also been offering his speaking services as a freelancer, speaking voiceovers and producing podcast intros. You can book it through Fiverr, an online platform for creative services, among others.

Freelancers can create their own profile on the site, including the services they offer and the corresponding prices. Customers then book their work directly on the site. A bit like Airbnb - only that instead of renting an apartment, you commission creative jobs. The platform pays a commission fee of 20 percent per service. The price starts at five dollars, hence the company name.

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The spokesman from Berlin charges Fiverr less than usual in his industry due to the low price level on the platform, he says. That's why he only wants to appear in the article with his username. He also fears that he will only be booked as a speaker via the platform - for less money than he normally charges.

One of the first platforms in the gig economy

According to Fiverr, 50 million orders have now been processed on the site, from more than 5.5 million buyers and over 830,000 freelancers, people from a total of 160 countries. The company has its origins in Israel: Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger, two company founders from Tel Aviv, were looking in 2010 for a way to quickly find people who could do small, creative tasks for you: designing business cards, writing a greeting card or serenading film the whole thing. All for a small price.

Nine years later, the Israeli start-up has become an international company. In June of this year, Fiverr went public. It has offices in Israel, the USA, and Great Britain, and for a year now also in Berlin.

In the meantime, the platform has long since ceased to only offer fun jobs. Spokespersons, translators and programmers, for example, offer their services on the website, sometimes at prices that are below the minimum wage in Germany.

In Germany, Fiverr is one of the major platforms on which freelancers can offer their work, alongside Freelancer.de and Gulp. Although new of these platforms are constantly emerging, many of them only last a few months. Gig economy platforms have always been a niche phenomenon in the German job market. "In this country, job placement services via platforms do not account for more than one percent of the work today," estimates Holger Bonin, Research Director at the Institute for the Future of Work (IZA). The model works more where there is no good social security, in the Philippines. Because the platforms rely on being able to offer a variety of services - for little money.

There is the German graphic designer who creates a computer animation on Fiverr for 4.82 euros. The copywriter who researches and writes German-language articles for beauty blogs for the same price. The illustrator who designs book titles for just under five euros. Such providers are - at least in Germany and the USA - the exception. But there is.

That earned the company a lot of criticism. One allegation is that it spoils prices. It promotes precarious employment, another. Fiverr was one of the first platforms of the so-called gig economy, along with the transport service providers Uber and Lyft - a part of the job market in which you move from job to job, from gig to gig.