Voices.com Reviews…MAJOR UPDATE! Why did all the top talent leave?
Nearly two years ago, I wrote an article called “Voices.com vs. Voice123…the BIG secret!.” I wrote it because there are a lot of negative Voices.com and Voice123 reviews online from beginner talent who haven’t booked any work. Sometimes you need to hear from experienced talent. I talk about how to book work through online casting sites, as well as why I think one site is better than the other. However, as of right now, I have to take a step back to an almost neutral position for reasons I’m about to give you. Now, you can find a lot of Voices.com reviews out there with a lot of opinions attached. I’m only going to be reporting facts (quite a lot of them, but do try to stick with me).
First things first…
Before I get into all the bad stuff, I think it’s important for you to know that I was booking a lot of work through Voices.com. I was regularly on the Recently Hired list and could be consistently found on the Top 100 Favorite Voices list. In three years, I made tens of thousands of dollars from the site.
I say this is so you understand that what I’m about to tell you is not coming from someone with no experience and no success on the site. There are already enough of those reviews out there. I learned what I had to do and I put in the work. Unfortunately, due to very unethical business practices by Voices.com, myself and most of the top talent left and made the decision very public. If you’re considering Voices.com, you need to know what they are doing behind the scenes.
So what’s happening?
There’s a chance you’ve already seen some Voices.com reviews detailing some of this, but I’m really going to break it down and give you information that you’ve probably never heard.
If you’re not familiar with Voices.com, there are two types of jobs: self-serve and managed. The self-serve jobs are posted by clients. This allows them to post jobs and receive auditions from talent. The managed jobs are posted by Pro Services, which are employees of Voices.com, who act as the “middle man,” speaking to clients and posting jobs for them. Whether managed or self-serve, every job that’s posted will list the client’s budget. However, since I’ve been on the site (now 3 years), I’ve noticed a major change. There has been a very sharp decline on client budgets, however, the interesting thing is, it’s only on jobs managed by Voices.com employees. Self-serve jobs generally stay about average with budget, although some low-ballers sneak in every now and then.
Why could this be?
Voices.com is proud to offer their “first class” treatment to their clients. That’s where they take care of everything from posting the jobs, hiring the talent…oh wait, that’s it. And for doing all that “heavy lifting” they get to charge the client a pretty significant fee. Well, guess where that significant fee gets taken from? The voice over budget! How significant a fee are they taking? We’re seeing them take sometimes as much as 50% and even higher from the overall budget! So in other words, if the client has $300 for their voice over budget, we’re likely to see that job posted on Voices.com for around $140-$160.
How do we know this?
The reason is because clients will often post jobs on multiple platforms. So, it’s not uncommon for voice talents to see the same jobs posted on different websites, as well as receiving auditions for those jobs from agents. When we see a big difference in budget from one source to the next, it’s hard not to be suspicious. I was recently contacted by an agent that gave me an audition with a budget of $560. In less than an hour, that same job was on Voices.com with a client budget of $330. So right around a 35% decrease. Is it possible that this VIP treatment of the client is worth $230?
Well, let’s take a look at the notorious Harley Davidson job, which was discussed in an Edge Studio interview with the CEO of Voices.com. A voice over job from Harley Davidson with a budget range of $1800-$2500 showed up on one site. Then showed up on Voices.com as a managed job for how much? How about a budget range of $500-$750? Think about it, at best case scenario, they’re taking more than 60%. Does the Voices.com staff sincerely believe that we, as voice talents, are all stupid enough to buy into the idea of them needing $1000+ to give the client first class treatment?
Well, what do they have to say in response?
In short…nothing. If you think I’m joking, listen to the interview with Voices.com CEO, David Ciccarelli. He was nothing more than a textbook representation of a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. With very clear and direct questions asked by Graeme Spicer from Edge Studio, David does his dead level best to dance around these issues. Warning: it’s one of the most awkward interviews I’ve ever heard.
The Phone Call
However, I wasn’t going to let this tell all for me, even though it really did. I decided to ask my own set of questions to the Director of Talent Sales at Voices.com in a recent two hour phone conversation. While she was very polite on the phone, the conversation ended with me ultimately receiving no satisfying answers to any of my questions.
Before getting into my conversation with her, I should point out that because of the interview, Voices.com knew that changes needed to be made and did nothing.
Asking About Changes
I point blank asked if any changes were being made. This employee told me that a lot of “internal changes” had been made to better the company. My question to her was, “When do think the rest of us will see them?” Her response was all about how “important these changes are”, with no mention of what they are or why the talent isn’t seeing them. Internal changes can be fine, but the problem is, Voices.com has yet to admit to making any mistakes. So how can talents expect to see the right kind of changes when the company won’t admit those specific changes need to be made? I can understand some budget discrepancies here and there, but there comes a time when there are just too many coincidences happening to seem accidental.
What About Budgets?
Next, I asked about the massive difference seen in client budgets from one platform to another. This Voices.com employee stated that there have been times when clients will post the same job on different sites with different usage. For example, maybe one was listed as strictly for internet and then right before posting to another site, they find out that the usage will actually be for National TV. Obviously, there’s a major difference in budget. I responded that it would be very understandable if we saw these discrepancies going more than one way. However, I have yet to run across a talent that has seen a Voices.com budget be higher than a budget for the same job on another platform.
Since expressing my concerns over the phone about the increasing number of low budget jobs, the budgets took an even sharper decline. It’s to the point of being insulting. I emailed the same employee, telling her that the budgets had decreased even further. She replied, and I quote, “Pro Serv jobs pay almost 20% more than self-serve jobs.” I immediately told her if that’s true, please tell me how she arrived at that conclusion. She said she would email me some updated numbers. I told her not to give me the dollar average per job. Show me the quantity of low budget jobs versus high budget jobs. If Pro Services jobs significantly outnumber self service job, of course the dollar average will be higher. Just an FYI, I have yet to receive those numbers.
The Rate Sheet Joke
I should also point out that in our conversation, she did say that Voices.com has a rate sheet that they stick to. The truth is, it is one of the most convoluted rate sheets I have ever seen. Compare that to an actual non-union rate sheet and you’ll get sick to your stomach over the difference in talent fees. The best and most accurate I’ve seen so far is the one found here at the Global Voice Acting Academy. This is definitely a great source!
The Call Overall
So overall, I was very unsatisfied with my conversation with this Voices.com employee. No matter what logical questions I could ask and what evidence I had to support things I was saying, I never got what I considered to be legitimate answers. It just seemed to be a lot of empty responses that she was possibly given to say. I assume that because they were very characteristic of the responses that the CEO said in his very awkward interview.
So what can you do?
Just audition for jobs that aren’t Pro Services
To tell the difference, most of the time, jobs posted by Voices will have the word ‘Voices’ in the title. An example would be “Voices: 30-40 year old Male needed for Online Promo”. You can also scroll all the way down to the bottom of the posting to see who’s posting the job.
Use the correct rate sheet!
Use the rate guide at Global Voice Acting Academy and stay far from Voices’ rate sheet. Keep in mind that if you quote higher than the listed budget, there’s a chance you won’t get heard. All of our auditions are screened by Pro Services and only a fraction are sent to the client.
Proceed with caution…
Be alert and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I had an interesting situation with someone from Pro Services regarding a job I was hired for. They not only “conveniently” left out information, but also gave me incorrect information. When I caught this Voices.com employee, I practically backed them into a corner. They immediately handed over another $869 as if I was holding them at gunpoint. Didn’t need to check with the client…just handed the money over. Now class, can anyone tell me where that money came from? Well, I doubt the client was standing next to him, listening on our phone call. The fact is, I provided a question that couldn’t easily be “answered.” The only place the money could come from was the very large cut they were taking for themselves.
Let me be clear. I gave this employee several chances to check and recheck the information. I was told my spot would air one time on Saturday. Not only did it air on a different day, but it ran six times. When I spoke to the Voices employee first thing on Monday morning, I asked them to confirm with the client when the spot aired. They told me that the client confirmed “Saturday at 3:00.” I asked them to confirm again…same answer. Then I went for the kill. I told them point blank that I watched the commercial air multiple times on Sunday. They instantly came back and suddenly said they “confirmed with the client” that I was right. Did they really miss the information throughout multiple confirmations? That instantly got me $869. It was a question they couldn’t easily lie their way out of.
Other Sources and Voices.com Reviews
There are a lot of Voices.com reviews on the internet that you can read. Here are a few other sources for you that might provide some interesting information.
- The wonderful voice talent, Debbie Grattan, wrote an outstanding article that gives even more insight into budget discrepancies and what Voices.com’s “reasons” are behind all of it. You can read this article here.
- Some former Voices.com employees have decided to write about their experiences working there. Notice how some of them mention having to work in a “moral grey area” and how employees are educated in how to “dance around the truth.” All of this can be found here.
- Again, the interview with Voices.com CEO, David Ciccarelli can be listened to here. The awkwardness begins about 30 minutes in.
- And finally, here again is the link to the rate sheet on the Global Voice Acting Academy. They have event put together a collection of reviews and experiences about Voices.com from many talent.
So what’s my conclusion?
I will continue to stay on the site and audition for self-serve jobs. I’ve made a lot of money that way. I should point this out. Most repeat clients from Voices.com now contact me directly, nearly all of them telling me how much they dislike working through site and, interestingly enough, with the people. One major Pro about the site is their escrow service, SurePay, which guarantees that the talent gets paid. However, if that’s not important to you, my advice would be to stay far away from Voices. Of course, feel free to do more research. Find other Voices.com reviews. You’ll see there is no shortage. As always, I wish you the best with your voice over career!
Voices.com Reviews: Further Updates
There are plenty of Voices.com Reviews out there that are giving a lot of information that you’ve seen here, but feel free to bookmark this page, as I will be updating this section with new information as it comes in.
October 7, 2016
Voices.com is removing their Platinum Unlimited membership. This allowed talent to receive every audition that comes through the site. They are only offering Platinum Standard, which they only claim increases your visibility in their search engines. Cost: $2500. However, talents who have paid the $4000 for Unlimited, that fee doesn’t transfer over to Standard, so a lot of them are going to have to pay AGAIN! Why are they making this switch? They want to make sure all the new talent get booked. It doesn’t matter how much work the talent put in when they started. What matters to Voices is that everyone gets an equal share. Doesn’t matter if they’re not doing their equal share of the work. And because brand new talents don’t know what to charge, they’ll accept these $100 jobs. Makes it much easier for Voices to take a cut.
October 17, 2016
Voices.com has increased their escrow services, SurePay, from 10% to 20% for all self-serve jobs. That’s what happens all major talent stop audition for Pro Services.
November 23, 2016
I’ve received an email from Voices.com stating that for Black Friday, they are taking $150 off of there Premium Membership and stating that it’s for the weekend only! My guess is, we’ll see an extension.
November 29, 2016
Well, after receiving an email yesterday claiming “Just hours left…” on their special Black Friday deal, I received an email today stating that the special has been “extended 48 hours!” They need all the memberships they can get.
December 6, 2016
After nearly two months of being away from Voices.com, I logged back in and looked at the jobs. Out of the 136 jobs that are open for auditioning, more than 50 of them are managed by Voices.com. Budgets are at an all time low. One is titled “Local Superbowl TV Spot” with a budget of only $300!! Even after losing their most booked talent, they still make no effort to switch to ethical business practices.
January 13, 2017
THE WORST LISTING THAT I KNOW OF TO DATE! A top talent on Voices has just informed me that managed job has been posted on the site for 5 National spots with 5 cut-downs. The lowest a top talent should charge is $8,000 which is the very bottom line for this kind of job. Professional Services at Voices.com listed a budget of $3,000. For any newbies to voice over work, that rate is just slightly higher than the non-union rate for ONE National spot. However, they want to you to do 5 with 5 cut-downs for a total of 10 spots. This is hands down the worst job posting that I know of in the history of Voices.com. And this now confirms that they’re not even adhering to there own, very inaccurate Rate Sheet, which they claim they always do.
February 21, 2017
Within the last 6 days, I have received 3 emails and a phone call from Voices.com, telling me about a $100 off promotion they now have on their Premium membership and asking if I would like to join. Have never seen this promotion take place apart from Black Friday. They just keep looking more and more desperate.
March 20, 2017
After some advice from a couple of fellow voice artists, I’m going to test the waters for one month on Voices.com with non-managed jobs. I really hope I can report some good news. I want these guys to make a change.
April 3, 2017
So far, on this trial month, here’s what I have witnessed. I receive about 15-20 auditions per day…and only about HALF OF THEM fit the incredibly extensive profile and voice characteristics I’ve filled out. Just received an audition for a job that was in another language! Is this really what talent has to deal with, on top of everything else?
August 11, 2017
More Voices.com reviews surface and here’s the worst job I’ve heard of yet. One talent discovered that VOICES.COM TOOK 92.5% OF A $4000 JOB! That’s $3700 they pocketed, giving the client a total of $300. What’s amazing is that this was for a NATIONAL SPOT! Here is the link so you can read it for yourself.
August 13, 2017
After Voices.com bought out Voicebank, it received a lot of negative response and reviews from nearly the entire voice over community. This resulted in the continuing 1 star reviews on Voices’ Facebook page. Since Voices.com clearly tries to remove any and all transparency from their business practices, is it any wonder that they removed all bad reviews, as well as the ability to leave a review? However, I anticipated this would happen, which is why I took a screenshot just hours before the reviews were removed. Here’s a split screen of the before and after, as well as what’s displayed if you have a direct link to the reviews on the Voices.com Facebook page.
March 2, 2018
I COULD NOT be more excited to share this information! For anyone familiar with Voice123’s system, they have just announced that they are completely removing SmartCast and allowing talent to audition for as many jobs as they want. Their exact word was “Limitless”. If Voices.com should have any feelings right now, it should be fear. Voice123 is treating talent and clients with the respect they deserve. This has all come from talent AND clients banding together. As one of the top talent, J Michael Collins, said in a panel with Voice123, “You as the talent have the power…look what YOU did.”
July 13, 2018
It’s official! A top talent files a lawsuit against Voices for “deceptive marketing”. The article can be read here. The negative reviews for Voices.com just keep getting worse.
September 3, 2018:
I have received an email from Voices saying that my profile is being removed due to multiple violations of their Terms of Service. They claim I have accepted work on 5 separate occasions off site with their clients. Of course, they haven’t provided any evidence. The reason is because I can provide evidence that they’re lying in all but one of the cases.Voices’ policy only requires that jobs posted through the website must be completed there.
The ONLY time where work was taken outside the site for the same job was when I was contacted by a client that needed a pickup done immediately. After messages were left by both of us, we never received any calls or emails back. I told the client to simply PayPal the money and I would inform Voices of this once I was contacted. Well, here we are, months later and I never heard from them, so I simply let it go.
So let me ask a question. How does Voices know those jobs were taken if my correspondence with these clients is through private email accounts? Very simply, Voices employees now masquerade as Self Service clients. This is so they can continue taking their 50%+ cut for doing absolutely nothing except thickening the wallet of their lying, stealing coward of a CEO. Until Voices can show me evidence of violations in any of the other 4 cases, or how they obtained information between the clients and myself through private email accounts, Voices is lying. Also, If Voices believed I was violating their policy, why did they wait for 5 “violations” before contacting me?
Emails have now been sent to every Self Service client (assuming they’re legitimate). They can work with me directly, so that everything is kept honest between me and the client.
September 20, 2018
Despite Voices deleting my account, they continued to charge me for membership. Of course, I can’t login to change this, so I reported them to PayPal. Shouldn’t take long to get that money back.
September 21, 2018
I sent a message to Voices last night saying that I would report them to PayPal. The refund showed up first thing this morning. It’s amazing how they move when you show the proof. Wonder if they were just hoping I wouldn’t check my PayPal activity. What’s also interesting is, I tweeted them with all the proper hashtags. This morning I’ve discovered that my tweet has disappeared. Fascinating! I guess Voices is scared the truth will get out more than it already has.
August 29, 2019
I have officially released a new blog talking about the Voice123 update. You can read that here.