I would like to get your input on the best site for leads. I have done well with Voice123, but lately they are getting a little weird on me, and giving fewer audition opportunities in order to "be fair". Voices.com is about to pass Voice123 in the number of jobs I get, and the auditions are easier there (no multiple screens asking if "I'm really sure about auditioning for this job") But are there others that fair even better?

George

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You are not alone. Voice 123 is getting weird for many I'm sure - including me. Voices.com has passed Voice 123 in my eyes. I am wondering if I am even going to make enough through Voice 123 to even cover the dues. I belong to VO Planet. They are fair, but not as many auditions and I have yet to land anything through them. I am weighing my options with them and leaning towards Bodalgo. But still have not made up my mind.
Diane, I will admit that V123 has been a good investment, and is worth the dues. But, it seems like, for 4 years, I could do unlimited auditions until about 6 months ago. Then fewer and fewer auditions, almost like, "now that we got this guy hooked, we'll cut him way back on auditions". I had not read the fine print about the fairness thing, or the fact that what you audition for is what auditions you will (maybe) get in the future. Example: I want to do a low paying job because it's a cause I believe in, so then I start getting the low pay auditions - that's crazy! BTW, I did not know that VO Planet even had an audition service, thought it was just a place to meet other VO people and share ideas. Also, never heard of "Bodalgo", keep us posted on that one. Do you have an agent? I don't, but have been told I should.
A letter I recieved today from Voice123.com and my reply...

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Lowell
To: DianeMerritt@MerrittMediaProductions.com
Sent: Wed, 8 Apr 2009 5:10 am
Subject: Re: Voice123 Follow Up (sent to DianeMerritt@MerrittMediaProductions.com)


Hello Diane,

I am Steven Lowell from Voice123. You have been using our system for a while as
a Premium Subscriber. Would you mind sharing with us how you feel about our
service? Have you found a positive return on your investment? Is there something
you think we can do to improve your experience with us?

I know that your time is very valuable. When you have the chance, will you
please let us know what we can do to make our service more pleasing to use?

Thank you Diane!

Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
Voice123


Hello Steven.

Voice 123 helped me get a jump start into the voice over industry beyond my local market. I have gotten repeat clients on board because of it - in the beginning. But that right now it's the only good thing I can say about Voice 123. I was always to believe Voice123 was above the other pay to play services. But with all the changes, the others have bypassed Voice 123 with flying colors. I am even wondering if I will get enough jobs through Voice 123 to even cover my dues. When I have friends who want to join, I tell them the good and the bad about the sites and that it's their call, but in the end I always wrap up the conversation with, I would join Voices.com first. We pay for your service. We should not be penalized for auditioning to much - we want to work! And because we pay you, we should be able to use what we pay you for! And just the opposite, If a talent pays you and only wants to audition once a year - that's their right. We shouldn't be penalized for how much or how little we use the site.

Now, I don't use the word "hate" very often. It is a terrible word. I usually say I dislike something very much. But I will say - I hate the rating system verbiage you use. I do not feel it helps us at all. The star system was fine. I remember when you started using verbiage and the worst one was "Bad". Then the company changed the verbiage to "not likely" or "You won't be considered". When I got my first bad - I was fairly new to Voice 123. I was so shocked to get "bad" my then 12 year old daughter came running into my studio asking why I was crying. I was devastated. Telling my Daughter - OMG - I suck - I should just get out of the business. If it weren't for my daughter I would have. I had to learn "you can't please them all" and now when I see the "not likely" or "you won't be considered" I laugh at the ridiculous rating system and yet another way for Voice 123 to use the bad ratings to penalize us with percentiles. I was remarking to another talent the other day as she was so excited to see "Likely Hiring" that I laugh at those too. They mean nothing. How many have I gotten and never hear from the seeker.

Voice 123 has gone downhill big time. I am not the only one who questions 123, just look around at the voice over forum sites and see what they are saying about your company. I am on the fence about rejoining. I might give it another year - I still don't know. I know one thing - I do not even question about rejoining Voices.com - they do not penalize us when we pay them to help us find jobs.

Let's see - what is your verbiage? Likely Hiring...Maybe...Considering...Not Likely...You wont be considered... - because I am on the fence - Voice 123 get's a Not Likely for me. Now what are you going to do with this letter? Are you going to look at my opinions and consider changes? Or are you going to penalize me even more?

Diane Merritt
Small world, Diane! I just got the very same letter from our friend Steve... and wrote back a strikingly similar response. Although in my case, it was 'You won't be considered' that was like a slap across the face. A short time later when Voice123 added the detail of how many share the same (miserable) rating, I was somewhat consoled but stunned to see that 50 other voice talents had recieved the same slap/rating. Really, doesn't that just seem wrong, especially given that we're advised that the ratings factor in to the auditions we are ultimately offered? I sure think so.

And oddly, I haven't heard back from Steve in response to any of my comments and concerns. Have you?

Cindy
And in all fairness - their response

Diane,

Honestly, if you think that we make it a daily practice to penalize people, when what you deal with are safeguards to protect the 4000 auditioning talents, I think this system has truly gotten to you without you understanding why things are done.

I always listen to what people tell me, but to say something like this: "Or are you going to penalize me even more?"...means that you believe more in conspiracy than truth.

I am sorry it has worked out this way. I do free system trainings on how to better use Voice123, because it has changed since you started here, and is now more competitive.

When something stops working for you, it is time to investigate why. Even Voices says that too.




In case this message does not fully answer your question, or if you have further comments, simply reply to it, please.

Please remember that your return of investment is our highest priority. Feel free to contact our Customer Service with your questions, comments or ideas. We will be pleased to hear from you and will work hard to ensure your satisfaction.

Voice123's goal is to provide you with the best customer service experience possible, we value your opinion. Please use this link to rate the response you received in this email.

Sincerely,


Steven Lowell
Toll Free US & Canada: 1.877.275.8642
New York & International: (+1) 212.461.1873
P.O.BOX 1167, Secaucus NJ 07094
http://voice123.com
Diane, You certainly spoke for many of us in your letter. Unfortunately, their response tells me that they still don't get it. I wrote a letter giving V123 many options to help them become a win/win service. I said "if you don't change you will go from number 1 to obscurity". With the competition that will come, sadly, it looks like it will be the latter.

Thanks so much for sharing with us!
I agree with both of you! I have been a member of Voice123 for at least three years, and I have not only seen the quality of the jobs degrade tremendously...along with the pricing, but I am tired of being penalized because I respond to a demo request! I often am notified that I am the client's #1 choice, but just because I don't "lowball" the price for the session at $25, I never hear from them again! The next opportunity to submit a demo may come to me at 2:00 AM, and by the time I can get to it, it has already passed the "half way" threshold, and it's not even worth submitting at that point. I also received the survey invitation from Steven, but thus far I have been too angry to even respond. My membership is up for renewal, but I may switch to Voices.com for a year and see what happens. VOPlanet? True...not as many opportunities, but the price the client is willing to pay is much higher. Regards to all, Dennis
I too received the bogus form letter a while back as well, and was also too angry to reply. I thought to myself, "You don't really want to know what I think about Voice123." Frankly, I believe the letter was just another method for the P.R. dept. to glean positive comments for promotional use. Professional voice talents' concerns about V123 are well known, and they haven't listened yet.

The fundamental problem with Voice123 is that it was founded by a guy who is strictly a computer programmer/entrepreneur. He knows nothing, and cares nothing, about the VO business or its realities. No matter what the P.R. dept. may tell you, we are no more than a database and never will be. The only goal is to sucker as many wannabees into paying for a premium subscription as possible. That's why V123 continues to offer free, worthless subscriptions. The vast majority of free-subscription "talent" will have no chance at being hired by any legitimate producer, ever, but there will be a percentage who at least think they might if they pay the yearly $300 to dabble at the business.

I'm not here to dabble.

Steven Lowell likes to dwell on his "4000 subscribers" in an effort to impress you, and/or make you feel like a very small cog in his large wheel. Sorry, Steve, I am unimpressed.

I find about 50% of the "talent" on the site an embarrassment to hear as a VO professional.

I'd be more impressed if the service were limited to the 2000 or so legitimate talents who are serious about making at least part of their living from voiceover work, rather than the 2000 more who are trying out the plastic Labtec mic on the old EMachine in the dining room.

I'd be much more impressed if the service were limited to those who exclusively make their living from voiceover. I'd be willing to pay considerably more than $300/yr if that were the case, provided that audition invitations were only sorted by gender and age range desired. And -- if the owner of the company could remember who his clients are.

Clearly, that is not going to happen with Alex Torrenegra. He is what I call an "entremanure," one who enters an industry without knowing or caring jack about it. It's clear that he thinks of V123 as a matchmaking service, when the reality is that it should be only slightly more intrusive into the process than the phone company.

A couple of weekends ago, I posted my thoughts about Steven Lowell's attitude and V123's way of treating its clients (that's us, Alex) to Lowell's own blog. It not being what Steven wanted to hear, it was promptly deleted. He sent me an email explaining that they didn't need or want my business, and that I had an unprofessional attitude, and he offered a prorated refund of my recent re-subscription. Well, I'm not going to waste my time responding to a P.R. peon. I've been doing commercials for 34 years. I'll keep my name on V123 for the remainder of my subscription, and in the meantime I'll find a better service to which to subscribe.

While I respect Phillip Banks' opinion that they're all worthless -- and possibly even bad for the business -- I'm not quite at his level yet. Someday I hope to be. But I don't think it's going to be Voice123 that gets me there.
I'm really relieved to hear that I'm not the only one with these EXACT same experiences, THOUGHTS and FEELINGS about Voice123. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. It really helps when you're standing in the rubber room all by yourself talking into that mic, that there is a HUGE, SUPPORTIVE community of people to turn to!

Warm regards,
Wayne Pyle
Since I last wrote Voices.com has far surpassed V123 as my number one on-line source of income. I am averaging 4-5 good jobs a week. Now I'm lucky if I get one from V123. At first I did not like the "SurePay™ escrow" thing. But when I realized it allowed me to audition for ALL the clients wanting voices similar to mine, I changed my mind and love it! It's a win/win situation - they're helping me make money and I'm helping them. I have also become a subscriber to VO Planet. Only had 4 opportunities to audition in 3 days, no takers. But, as with V123, just 1-3 jobs pays for the service - so the jury's still out on that one. I still don't know what changed at V123, don't really like the system there, but I can't complain, even if I just get a job a week. I love research and appreciate all of your input!
Steven,

With all due respect, I think your answer to my last input demonstrates the problem. I expressed a practical problem, and you responded with a technical solution (e.g. demos 7, 8, & 9 are missing information). That's almost like saying "the reason your car doesn't start is because you did not spray Quick Start in the carburetor" I'll just go buy a car with fuel injection and not have to worry about the carburetor. This is (maybe for a little longer) a free market system. People are seeking ways to get the most results with the least technical effort. Voices.com is not always telling me I must dot my i's and cross my t's. They are simply allowing me to audition for lots of jobs. And I am working hard and getting some of them. "Those who makes it simple, win"

On the other hand, I have managed an ad agency with offices in 4 cities. I was very involved in the creative process. I still hire talent occasionally. I want all the people qualified to audition for my project within a fair amount of time. If I find out there is company (like V123) with a quota system to "make it fair" I probably will not use that company. Eventually as other producers begin to get wind of how you operate, they will, like me, begin to look for other sources of talent. Sources where they can get the best possible talent for the investment. It's just good business.

Again, I thank you for your service, and will probably use it as long as it pays for it's self. I just wish you were more user friendly, and would consider making some needed changes.

George McNerlin
7 Voices Media
Dear Steven.....this is an open letter to you......I am posting on this blog post as it is the most recent and you seem to be following it.

On one of the blogs, you have just written 'If you ever wish to ask me any questions, please do so. I will always give you my best'.

A few months ago, I wrote to you about the Smartcast system and how to keep within the average and get the best opportunity for jobs you could only do one audition every 4 days. I confirmed this applied to Americans, Australians and Brits and gave you detailed figures. I had the usual fob off from you and I asked to have a telephone conversation with you at a time that would be convenient. You agreed, but of course nothing happened. Two emails and a few weeks later, you told me that you would definitely call me, that you were snowed under with work and that there was some personal drama within your company. Since then nothing. That summed up the culture of Voice123 and I could not be bothered to take the crusade any further as I had better things to do.

Over here in the UK, we are in the middle of a big scandal over members' of parliament's expenses claims. The public is outraged, but the MPs just don't get it. There is obviously a feeling building up about Voice123, the SmartCast system and the lack of respect for the voices who provide your living. And from your replies and attitude, I don't think you get it either. Perhaps you could all sit round a table and have a good discussion about this.

I get plenty of work from Voice123 which doesn't seem to come much from the Smartcast system and I consider my subscription to be worthwhile, but it doesn't make for anything but an irritating environment to work in. I just wish you would listen more carefully to comments, do what you say you will do and not dole out the stock answers.

David Seys

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