This is something that everyone needs to read about the Voices scam.
- There's a very old phrase....
There’s a very old phrase….
I can’t remember exactly how it goes, but the meaning tells us that we shouldn’t contaminate our food…? I’m sure I’ll remember the wording eventually…..for some reason I feel it’s important in this case.
A couple of years ago, we started seeing leads for jobs being posted on Voices.com by their “Professional Services” (PS) division. Basically, a client has asked (via their quote form) Voices.com to cast and ultimately hire talent on their behalf.
The weird thing is…..almost all these Voices.com “Professional Services” leads submitted by staff showed up in the $100-$250 price range; budgets certainly not large enough to warrant professional services of any kind. I mean, why would Voices.com waste their time assigning staff and resources for a piddly $100 gig?
What has been revealed is that the client budgets for these gigs are much larger than $100-$250…..a lot larger…..and it appears that Voices.com has been trolling their own membership for low-budget talent, pocketing the lions share of the client’s budget.
The nasty part is, neither the client nor talent are aware of what’s going on.
Here is a link to a letter detailing how Voices.com is seemingly ripping off clients and voice talent via their Professional (Full) Services division. This letter, which I received a short time ago is the impetus of this article – the experience of one gentleman in the UK by the name of Andrew Randall and his business dealings with Voices.com.
Keep in mind that you do need to read the letter to fully understand the following.
- ``Don't pee on your sushi....?``
“Don’t pee on your sushi….?”
No…that’s not it. Damn! For some reason I just can’t remember how that phrase goes. I’m sure the light bulb will go off eventually.
For the record, I had a hunch this was going on and wrote about Voices.com’s suspected unethical business practices a long time ago. The problem was, I could only speculate and here….we have actual proof.
Consider that – both Grant and Stephanie – did not deny the fact that the fee Andrew is talking about was wholly intended to be collected and that they both scrambled to (poorly) explain it’s purpose and subsequent value to client.
Further – upon Andrew’s insistance – they awarded the full fee back to him, obviously to keep him quiet. Thank the heavens he came forward to let us all know what was going on.
Golly-gosh-darn-gee-whiz…..do you think the client was aware of the fact that they were paying $254.00 for someone to answer a phone call?
- Just what are ``Holistic`` fees?
Just what are “Holistic” fees?
Oh! I can tell you what that is….at least, I think I know….
Basically, when a client comes to Voices.com for Professional Services, the staff request that the client…er….figuratively…. reach down and touch their toes…..where at such a time, the Voices.com staff look for anything “holistic”.
As soon as they find what they’re looking for…..well, let’s just assume that staff are told that the use of lubricants are prohibited.
It’s a big word, isn’t it? Look at the size of that font.
It means everything to everyone. Without it, a relationship – any relationship – cannot survive. Business, personal, marriages….even families, whole countries have been destroyed when Trust has been compromised.
I’m not sure what Andrew’s letter means to you, but I can tell you that upon reading it, I completely lost what trust I had in this company….which was very little to begin with.
Fundamentally, we like to think that we can trust others with respect to the normal course of day-to-day business. However, we are all painfully (and constantly) reminded of the fact that this is not always the case. Ultimately, we have to decide for ourselves what action we take when our trust in an individual or entity is abused.
As trust is a very personal thing, so is the reaction people have when Trust has been lost. After all, there’s a lot of people out there who rely on Voices.com to put food on the table, including myself.
Wait! “Remove fecal matter from your dinner table…?”
No…..that’s not it either. Hmmmm….keep thinking, Todd.
- What can we do about this.....?
What can we do about this…..?
Well my thinking in general is, no amount of posts or nasty e-mails or articles like this will stop the folks at Voices.com from continuing their greedy, unethical and immoral business practices. They’ve been operating this way for years now and it’s only going to get worse.
I’m surprised that they haven’t been slapped with a class-action lawsuit.
One thing I can say for sure is that if they don’t have talent responding to these PS leads specifically, then they won’t have a Professional Service to offer clients……that, or it’s value will diminish dramatically.
Further, when clients get wind of what’s going on, the Voices brand will crash and burn like a Lead Zepplin. Indeed, there’s already a lot of people making noise on social media – a lot of negative backlash about Voices.com. It’s just a matter of time before something gives.
Here’s what you, as a voice talent can do personally:
1) The mouse pointer should hover over the Delete option everytime you see a Voices.com brokered lead.
2) In the unlikely event that you do respond to a Voices lead, be sure to add roughly 40% to your fee and/or ensure that you are in fact, quoting your full rate for the work as described.
3) Everybody you know in the business – Clients and Talent – need to be informed of this revelation. Voices.com cannot be trusted to handle money. The choice to continue to do business with Voices.com will be theirs to make moving forward with this information.
If you are a client, there’s a lot you can do personally.
I would suggest first and foremost that you avoid the use of Voices.com’s “Full Service”; they are clearly a Buyer Beware proposition.
You can still use the site for casting….post the job, cast the talent, select the voices you like. You can contact them directly if you want. If you choose to do so, partake of their escrow service (should you suddenly feel morally obligated to do so after reading this article).
Also, be sure to inform and educate your friends, colleagues, co-workers and anyone else who may hire voice talent about the pitfalls Voices.com brings to the table.
Clearly, it’s not the voice talent you need to be worried about…..it’s the people who provide services to voice talent, such as Voices.com.
Finally, do your homework! Find out about market rates for voiceover, how long people have been in business…..do your research before pulling out your wallet!
Why do you think I’m taking the time to write this stuff…..? So people will use Google, find it and avoid getting ripped off by these scam artists. It’s no different than posting a review on a crappy coffee maker.
I wouldn’t buy anything made by Hamilton Beach BTW. My opinion.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. I have said the same thing – many times – all over this website. Well over 90% of those selling services to voice talent are people who take advantage of those who are ill-informed about the industry and its pitfalls.
I can’t count how many times a customer has come to me in ignorance of the voiceover business with a proposed voice-over budget that was way off the scale.
I remember clearly the first time it happened. A client revealed that they had a $1000.00 budget for a job that I would have only charged $350.00 to complete. I’ll admit that yes, I did think about taking the money for a second…..but ultimately decided to stick to the good ethics I learned from my elders.
That client is still a customer today…and that client has referred my services to many others. You get what you give…..not what you take or steal.
I’ve always been honest and ethical in dealing with my customers, educating and informing them of standard market rates for voice over services. Having invented the business model, I feel both ethically and morally obligated to do nothing less….its a no-brainer.
But some people are devoid of ethics and morals; they simply can’t see the benefit – monetarily or otherwise – to treat others in a fair, ethical manner.
Indeed, I’ve heard personally from former employees at Voices.com who have been threatened….now in fear of coming forward. Those that work there are rumoured to have been told to tow the line or be fired. Further still, talent who make noise about this issue are blacklisted (“Do Not Submit to Client”) and staff are instructed to only submit 5 voices (out of several dozen in most cases); the “short-list” for client review.
I have worked for people like this in the past; early in my radio days. They preyed on the young & inexperienced; those just learning the world of business. Go figure that Voices.com’s staff are all in their early 20’s; easy to mould and manipulate.
What kind of people do this sort of thing? I’ll tell you. People who can’t be trusted.
Consider yourself lucky you’ve read this and be sure to share it with others.
Keep in mind that we all hold in our hands, the power to deal with people like this. To send them a message that if you’re going to treat people like dirt, one day your name will be Mud.
Which begs the question: What message are you going to send them?
In the end, there’s no “Voiceover Police” out there. All one can do is go out in to the world and warn others of the steaming pile of doggie-doo before they step in it.
Oh well. Business is business. I mean, we all need to eat, but this is…..
Wait! That’s it! “Doggie-doo”…..”eat”……
“Don’t s*** where you eat….!”
I knew I would remember….! I think it was my Grandpa who taught me that. Yeah, he was a real trustworthy guy….had all the qualities one would expect from an elder…..like morals…..and ethics.