Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Introducing VoiceMatch Invitations

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

February 10, 2014

Comments (44)

VoiceMatch Invitations

In reviewing results from thousands of community members, a common theme surfaces; while people love the Voices.com marketplace, amount and variety of opportunities, educational content and more, a point of frustration is that of the competition, specifically too many talent auditioning for the same jobs.

This frustrates us as well because our desire is to see more Voices.com members getting work.

What can we do about this?

We've created a solution to address this concern and make it easier for more Voices.com members to be heard and hired.

Learn more in today's VOX Daily.

Revisiting Our Beginnings

When David and I first launched our service, we did so with the hope that people could get work to feed their families.

In those days, there were fewer applicants per job and it was easier to book work.

While there are still a number of talent who consistently book, there are others who used to book regularly who now find it difficult to get heard let alone hired. This reality pains us greatly, so we decided to look deeper into the issue.

At the same time we want to see those who are just getting started with Voices.com have an experience akin to how things used to be. To audition for work, be heard and considered.

Analyzing The Data

In the not so distant past, most voice talent were comfortable with the number of daily email messages notifying them of new job opportunities. This amounted to approximately 20 emails per day, a manageable amount, and these opportunities were pursued more often than not.

More recently, the number of emails being sent to Premium members on a daily basis frequently exceeds 50. That's right, each Premium member is receiving 50 email notifications of job postings on average each day, far more than anyone can handle.

Listening to Your Feedback

In the same breath, we've uncovered common themes in our customer feedback surveys, those being:

  • Not enough time to audition for all jobs sent by email
  • Too much competition
  • Not getting enough work

Don't get us wrong, there are literally thousands of people who experience the opposite. Their investment of time auditioning for select jobs pays off and most are getting more work using Voices.com than any other means.

While this is great, we won't be satisfied until all Voices.com members are experiencing the same degree of success.

Moving Ahead with a Solution

After listening to feedback from hundreds of Voices.com members, past and present, we've decided to make a change to how many talent are invited to audition for a given job.

To paint a picture, if you speak English (North American) and have selected popular categories of work such as TV, Radio and so on, you're likely receiving in the neighbourhood of 50 invitations to audition from our site each day. On average, such a voice talent auditions for only 10 of the opportunities we invite them to on a daily basis.

What happens down the road when we are getting hundreds of jobs a day? What if we post 1000 jobs a day? If we continue on with the present method of inviting talent to jobs, within the next couple years you could be getting 600 auditions a day sent to your inbox. Sounds extreme, doesn't it?

Preparing for growth while at the same time improving our service, fewer emails will be sent out to talent for any given job posting. You may start to notice some positive results toward the end of February.

FAQs

How many auditions will a client be receiving?

Currently, clients receive between 80 and 120 auditions for jobs with the broadcast casting specifications. After VoiceMatch Invitations goes into effect, we expect this number to be around 50, and over time, less than 25.

How are you deciding who gets sent what auditions?

Yes, you've observed correctly, not everyone will be auditioning for the same jobs. We'll be sending out just enough invitations so that the client will receive approximately 50 responses. The determination of who's invited to any given job will follow the same criteria that we've always used, specifically, your Profile needs to match the job's Language, Gender, and Age Range. Soon, we will be randomly selecting a group from those whose profiles match a client's specifications and then invite them to audition.

What happens when my Profile matches a job but I didn't get an invitation?

From time to time, one of your colleagues will receive a job that you were qualified for but not invited to. If this happens, it increases the likelihood that you'll be invited the next time a similar job is posted to Voices.com.

Will Platinum members get more auditions than other members?

No, they won't.

Will Platinum members receive these jobs first?

No, they won't. There is no special treatment for Platinum members so far as jobs and how invitations are sent. The main benefit of the Platinum membership at Voices.com has always been visibility in the search results and visibility on the news website, VoiceOverTimes.com. If you're curious about the Platinum membership, feel free to call us to learn more.

I speak a language other than English. Will VoiceMatch Invitations affect my membership?

No. Jobs posted for voice overs done in languages other than English don't suffer from the "too much competition" issue. On the contrary, our clients would love for more talent outside of North America to be auditioning online.

When will the change to into effect?

By the end of February 2014.

How will I know once it has gone live?

Our intention is to roll this out gently with minimal impact on daily operations. You may not even notice anything. If there was one thing to be observing, it's that the number of other people responding to jobs should be dropping to around the 50 mark. You'll be able to tell by looking at the Audition Indicator found on the right hand side of the job posting.

Thank You!

Thank you for reading this post and for your interest.

We look forward to making Voices.com an even better service for our members!

With warm regards,
Stephanie


Comments


    Hi Stephanie!

    I've gotta tell you...receiving this morning's VOX DAILY blast, regarding the new "Voice Match" invitations
    was GREAT NEWS.

    I've been very frustrated lately regarding booking any work on Voices.com...and feel like I'm totally wasting my time. I've done gobs of auditions and booked NONE in 2013. First. Time. Ever.

    I've never been one of those VO's who've booked zillions of gigs thru pay sites, but can always count on 3 or 4 during the year, which MORE than cover my fees.

    But last year, something went seriously wrong. I can only HOPE that what you're doing 'fixes' this!

    In fact, I've been seriously considering whether it's worth my time & money anymore to even bother auditioning, or renewing my membership. So, your timing couldn't be an more PERFECT.

    I appreciate all you do in thinking of your members. Let us pray. :)

    Best wishes,

    JC

    Posted by:
    • JC Haze
    • February 11, 2014 10:17 AM

      Hmm...this is pretty concerning. This basically makes you just like voice123.com - which people are always complaining about. I'm especially concerned because I book many jobs that your voicematch system says are only an 85% match for me....now I assume I probably won't even see those auditions.

      I do understand the want for producers to have a more succinct group of talent auditioning and I have a simple solution for that. You just need to screen your talent. I'm pretty sure that out of the 150 auditions a producer is getting currently, only 50 or less are actually viable candidates, so if you only had talent on here with good sounding studios and who have studied the art of voice acting and not just picked up a mic to "try", you might achieve the goal you're going for without keeping good talent out of auditions. I think the line "we won't be satisfied until all Voices.com members are experiencing the same degree of success" is troubling when anyone who pays the membership fee can join. I certainly hope that the guy down the street who's speaking into his iphone with no emotional connection to the script doesn't experience the same amount of success as me.

      I'm curious, with this new system, what makes you different from voice123.com? Besides the surepay system, I don't see any differences any more.

      My guess is that you're going to get a lot of pushback on this and I hope that you'll keep an open mind. I book a lot on this site and I will certainly be keeping tabs on my stats to see if this new system helps or hurts me and I'll let you know.

      Posted by:

        Hi Charlotte,

        Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts. I'd like to address some of your points.

        First, about VoiceMatch Score. You'll still see jobs that you are an 85% VoiceMatch for. VoiceMatch Invitations is not the same thing as VoiceMatch Score. VoiceMatch Score tells you how closely matched you are to an opportunity and VoiceMatch Invitations has to do with how talent are invited. On that note, one of our account managers took a look at your profile and she recommends that you add more demos, specifically in the categories of Business, Internet and Educational in order to see more VoiceMatch scores higher than 85%.

        Regarding the calibre of talent, the post was written with professional voice talent in mind. I apologize that this was not clearer in the statement regarding us not being satisfied until all Voices.com members are achieving the same degree of success. I agree, someone starting out in voice over will not be attaining the same level of professionalism or success as someone who has been trained and working full time as a voice artist for years.

        The reason for sending less invitations is to do with the fact that only a certain percentage of people answer each job. That, and many talent are intimidated to see that more than 50 auditions have already been submitted. So far as screening talent goes, clients rarely cite quality of responses as being an issue when casting. The number of responses, however, can be overwhelming.

        Just as you have requested that we keep an open mind to feedback, I ask the same from you in terms of how this improvement to the site affects you. Please keep in touch and let me know what you are experiencing or any changes you've observed in early March.

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.

        Take care,
        Stephanie

        Posted by:

          Hi JC,

          Thank you for your support and affirmation that we're on the right track! We have heard too many talented people say that they aren't getting work and this is upsetting to say the least. We are making it easier for you to be heard and giving each talent who responds a better chance of getting hired.

          Timing is everything. Thank you for hanging in there :)

          Take care,
          Stephanie

          Posted by:

            Good day, all my friends at Voices.com! I read today's Vox Daily with great interest. I believe your thoughts are valid and should help all of us to whittle down the long list of audition invitations. Let me know if I can help you in any way with stats, observations, etc. It's always my pleasure to assist those who intend to make positive changes for the benefit of all.

            Susan

            Posted by:
            • Susan Manhire
            • February 11, 2014 2:52 PM

              Hi Susan,

              Thank you for sharing your thoughts and kind words. Thank you also for your offer to track your stats and provide observations to us as this feature rolls out. That would be very helpful!

              Take care,
              Stephanie

              Posted by:

                I agree that if voices.com's new system turns out to be just like voices 123 I will use the service much less. What I'd like about voices.com in the past is the freedom with which the talent has the choice as opposed to the corporation deciding what I get to audition for. I hope you're taking these comments into consideration

                Posted by:
                • Jen Wydra
                • February 11, 2014 5:50 PM

                  Hi Jen,

                  Thank you for your comment. We are indeed considering all feedback provided to us.

                  It would be helpful if you could describe a day in the life using Voices.com from your perspective.

                  1) How many job invitation emails do you receive from Voices.com in a day?
                  2) How many of those invitations do you look at?
                  3) How many Voices.com auditions do you do each day?

                  Best wishes,
                  Stephanie

                  Posted by:

                    Hi Stephanie,

                    I have been with you for around four years now and, I have to say, I have no problem keeping up with the number of auditions you send out, and am always among the first 20 to respond to those I choose to respond to. In fact, in addition to submitting upward of 30 audition per day with you (I have a British accent, or it would be even more), I also submit to dozens more from various other sources. PLUS I also keep up with all my paid jobs every day.

                    Perhaps that is because I choose to make this my full-time occupation and devote the necessary time to respond to auditions promptly. Not wanting to sound harsh, but I couldn't care less about anyone who is doing this as a part-time or side job. I feel that I earn every one of my jobs, and if someone is not getting the same (or better) results as me, than that is likely because they are not working it as hard as me.

                    I do not believe that you, as the premier voice-over site, have any responsibility to coddle the talent who are complaining about getting too many auditions or those who don't work this full-time so that by the time they get around to responding to an audition, there are already 50+ submitted. Them's the breaks, no?

                    Now, I do agree that for clients, getting too many auditions can be overwhelming but, as Charlotte pointed out, randomly disqualifying talent from submitting to an audition puts you in the same category as Voice123.com, which means that clients may not be hearing the right/best voice for their jobs. I, too, am very uncomfortable with the long-term ramifications of this. Voice123 has been running a poll on their site this month that hints that they may be closing their doors. That would not surprise me in the least, as their system sucks as much as their customer service. Neither clients nor talent get what they want from a system that stops qualified people from submitting to auditions.

                    Charlotte is 100% RIGHT when she states that you could easily reduce the number of auditions clients receive by being more selective in the voice talent you allow on the site. Despite what you say, "quality of auditions" is a huge issue for clients. They just accept it as part of the online audition process. Check some of the blogs and you'll see I am speaking the truth. I post the occasional job too and, without fail, at least 50% of the submission are wholly unsuitable either due to audio quality or the fact that the person has no business being in front of a microphone (sorry, but it had to be said).

                    Of course, I realize that your income comes from subscribers, so you have a vested interest in having as many as possible. But looking at this long term, if we all want the online industry to grow and flourish (which we do), I believe it would serve everyone's best interests - yours, clients' and talents' - to restrict the talent pool to those who have the necessary technical and verbal skills. That, I believe, is a better solution to the problem you have outlined than stopping those of us who work hard to make a living at this business from auditioning for jobs that could make the difference between success and failure that month.

                    I know you have a difficult balance to achieve and have to do what is best for your business, and I am willing to try anything you think is a good idea, as you have always been the best company in this business. But if your goal of spreading the work among your subscribers means I lose work, then I will have to do what is best for my business, too, which means leaving your site. I suspect many others will do the same, if their worst fears are realized.

                    Andrew Randall


                    Posted by:

                      This I find is indeed disconcerting as you are now doing the Voice 123 algorithm and yet the voice match is largely based on what tags you put on your demos not how well suited you actually are for the jobs.

                      Also you still do not allow us to see male casting notices especially when they may be for teenage boys or boy kids. Clients who are not aware that these are best done by females may not be posting those jobs so we females can see them.

                      Part of the problem with all the pay to play sites is that many of us pros who are busy, may not be able to sit like a vulture and click immediately on a job before we are beat out by 30 or more applicants. Sure, many of those just send generic demos and don't record the script, but we don't know that, and if we "good talents" take the time and effort to record something, clean it up and send, only to A. Not be heard at all even if we are #4 or B. See that there are already too many people ahead of us, the client is the one losing out along with us who are paying for the privilege to answer what we can. Yet it should be our choice how to deal with the submissions. They should not be whittled down to limit how many we receive.

                      At this time, I would also like to comment on the use of concierge's and how often there is no pronunciation guide in the posting, and most of us don't have time to waste trying to locate the names on youtube or the internet so we pronounce things correctly. This is something a concierge should be doing for that extra pay. Also I've noted in a few cases, that a client has complained they haven't received auditions back as fast as they've liked from a concierge, but that said....I know you are charging a client extra money for that privilege as well as $ to "promote the job."
                      If this extra money boils down to the actual job being $100 including escrow, when the client might have had $150-$200 for the job, again, you might experience some talents not wanting to bother auditioning for the lower paying jobs.

                      It's very disconcerting to spend all day trying to do auditions only to find so many not even heard when you're in the first 20 submissions or so. If you concentrated on following up more with your clients to see why this is happening, this, IMHO would serve everyone better in the long run.
                      Thanks for your time and attention and I really am not happy hearing about the latest decision to limit auditions. That is not something we signed up to pay for.
                      All the best,
                      Lani

                      Posted by:

                        And there's more ...

                        I just discussed this with my wife, who is rather smart when it comes to these things, and explained that you are in this quandary, stuck between pleasing your clients, pleasing your talent, and getting as many subscribers as possible, as that is your profit model, and she came up with a few ideas:

                        1) If "part-time" talent don't want to receive so many auditions, offer a "Lite" subscription at a reduced rate that provides a limited number of auditions per day. Leave the full-time pros who can handle the number of daily auditions on the full rate and let them get on with it.

                        2) To reduce the number of auditions clients receive, be more selective in the talent you allow on the site BUT make up the loss in subscription income by CHARGING CLIENTS a subscription to use the site (or a fee for each job posted). After all, you are as indispensable to them as you are to the talent.

                        And my personal favorite ...

                        3) The subscription model cannot work successfully long term in everyone's interest. It is doomed to be a compromise. If you want the online voice casting business to grow, you have to prove to the big clients who have so far resisted coming on board that they won't have to sift through a ton of unsuitable auditions, and the only way to do that is to eliminate the talent who do not have the appropriate skills. In order to do that, you need to make up for their lost subscription revenue, which may be a challenge. A better long-term solution would be to operate like an agency, taking a percentage of every job FROM THE CLIENT and, perhaps, from the talent, too. That way, you don't have to worry about having as many subscribers as possible, as your revenue will grow in line with the online casting industry as a whole.

                        Just a few ideas. I am sure there are many more out there.

                        Andrew Randall

                        Posted by:

                          Hi Andrew,

                          Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for adding your voice to the conversation. I also appreciate seeing how often you use the site and what our service means to you.

                          While some of what you cited rings true, other areas deserve clarification. Let me walk through a few themes that stood out to me.

                          The primary reason for why we feel it is necessary to change how talent are invited to auditions is because one day, there will be more auditions posted to the site than even you can answer in one day. We're just trying to get ahead of the curve. Allow me to acknowledge that you are most certainly considered a power user of Voices.com and we value your feedback.

                          As you mentioned, when you posted as a client there was a feeling of being overwhelmed by the quantity of auditions. Quality is a factor to be certain, however, some clients are struggling to listen to auditions between the 50 and 100 mark. I appreciate your suggestion about being more selective with the talent on the site but how does one screen the talent? What's the process and who's paying for this work to be done?

                          We've thought about this but it's addressing the wrong issue. The most pressing issue is too many people auditioning for any given job. Even if everyone was a pro and screened as per your suggestion, clients would still feel overwhelmed because there would still be more talent than necessary auditioning to meet the clients' needs.

                          Allow me to clarify our business model and our goals. Our mission is to connect voices with brands the world over. When we first started, voice talent subscriptions were the primary revenue stream. Then, we introduced SurePay in 2007. SurePay's gross revenues quickly eclipsed talent subscription fees. More recently, we introduced Professional Services, a third revenue stream which is doing very well. All of this said, we are more focused than ever on bringing in great clients and less focused on expanding our talent base.

                          David and I are grateful that you trust us to make good decisions and we'll work hard to show you how this can be an effective solution in the long run.

                          Thank you for your confidence,
                          Stephanie

                          Posted by:

                            Thank you for your follow up comment, Andrew! Your wife is a smart lady. We reviewed all of the ideas presented and can see how we are already doing part of what was suggested. My previous response mentions the two revenue streams directly related to clients (SurePay and Professional Services). All good ideas.

                            Just to put this out there, a large number of Fortune 500 companies are using Voices.com already. We're striving to earn more of their business each day.

                            Thank you again for sharing your ideas.

                            Take care,
                            Stephanie

                            Posted by:

                              Hi Lani,

                              Thank you for your comment and for sharing your concerns. There seems to be some misunderstanding around VoiceMatch; what it is and how it works.

                              It's hard to compare VoiceMatch with technologies developed by other companies because we really don't have the experience to comment on specifically how they are different. What we can say though is what VoiceMatch is.

                              VoiceMatch is first and foremost a recommendation engine. It recommends the suitability of a job for you the talent based upon your profile, and then when you reply, it recommends you as a qualified voice talent for the client's job. Let's break this down a bit further. The first part, which we're now officially calling VoiceMatch Invitations, is our way of recommending a manageable number of daily job opportunities to you.

                              So far as how the VoiceMatch score breaks down, the tags on your demos only account for 10 points of the overall score out of 100. Here's a link to where you can view the chart and how the points add up to generate your VoiceMatch score:

                              http://www.voices.com/company/technology/voicematch

                              Lani, I hear what you're saying regarding women voicing male roles, particularly for child and teen roles. At this point though, we have a number of child and teenage voice actors on the site who are able to voice these roles. As you pointed out, some clients may not know to post their job to female talent if they're casting for a young male voice role, but many do.

                              Now, to generic demos and auditions. Last year, we addressed the issue of talent submitting generic demos when they ought to have been sending in reads from a client's script. When a script is attached to a job posting, voice talent have to upload a file to the site in order to submit their audition. This has been working well. Should a client not have a script attached to their job posting, talent have the option of either uploading a file from their computer or attaching a demo from their Profile.

                              Something you may not be aware of is how the auditions are presented to the client. Said plainly, auditions are ordered from highest VoiceMatch score to lowest. This means that although you were the 30th person to submit your audition, if your VoiceMatch score is high you may very well be in the top 10 auditions presented to the client.

                              What we've always presented to voice talent is an online marketplace with plenty of opportunity. From what you've shared and also based upon looking into your account, we're providing you with far more opportunities than you're currently responding to.

                              I appreciate hearing your thoughts and ask that you keep an open mind as these improvements roll out.

                              Take care,
                              Stephanie

                              Posted by:

                                Hi Stephanie,

                                I am a professional, full time voice talent that has dedicated a lot of time and energy turning my passion into a career. I have to say, I actually enjoy getting all the audition notices in my inbox on a daily basis. I have spent quite a bit of time updating my profile with tags and demos to make sure I get noticed for the projects I feel I am perfect for. As I work through my day, I will take the time to look at every audition that comes in and make the decision on my own to whether or not I'm good for the job. My agents would never send me out on an audition if it's not right for me nor will I take the time to audition for something that I feel isn't right for me as well. But I like having the choice. I would say out of 50 auditions I get on a daily basis, I will audition for around 30. So far, I have had great success booking jobs that are perfect for me and the client. While I understand the position you are in, I hope the decision you make is the correct one. I feel Voices.com and your staff are the best out there and I wouldn't want that to change.

                                Thank you,
                                Mark Holcomb

                                Posted by:
                                • Mark Holcomb
                                • February 12, 2014 12:11 AM

                                  Interesting.

                                  So, I rarely respond directly to the email notices. I generally view them simply as a point of interest and a gauge of currently available jobs. Instead, I go directly to the "Hiring" page and choose the 3 - 10 jobs in any given day for which I want to audition. And I delete those that don't interest me - or that have too many auditions prior to mine.

                                  How will this feature change? Will the "Hiring" page disappear? Will it only feature fewer than 25 postings? Or will all the 85% + VoiceMatch postings continue to be listed?

                                  And, one final question... Will we only be able to submit auditions to those postings for which we receive an invitation?

                                  Thanks, Stephanie!

                                  Looking forward to your reply.

                                  Warm regards,
                                  Dani

                                  Posted by:
                                  • Dani States
                                  • February 12, 2014 1:03 AM

                                    It's really hard to comment on this because I can understand your predicament in finding a balance between clients and voice talent. On one hand you have to satisfy the needs of your clients to ensure that they continue to use your service, which in turn provides ample jobs to the voice talent. On the other hand, it also will provide less potential voice opportunities for voice talent who use this site and apply to almost every job they receive, such as myself.

                                    I was slightly disappointed after reading this article, because while you bring up a good point of having less competition, at the end of the day, the amount of competition there is shouldn't matter, at least in my opinion. If the client listens to my audition and does not pick me for the job, it means they found someone better suited for their needs, and makes me want to strive harder to improve my auditions to make myself stand out more than anyone else. Having less jobs to apply for means that I have less opportunities to put myself out there for a potential project.

                                    I still think your service is the best out there that I have seen, but I hope that you guys can find a better way to handle this situation other than the one proposed in this article.

                                    Posted by:

                                      Hi Stephanie,

                                      I see a lot of merit in the changes you're making and I'm certainly willing to give them a proper chance before coming to definite conclusions.

                                      But I am concerned about the reference to a level playing field. Many of us have been doing voice-work for a long time and I believe we deserve to have our experience and professionalism create potentially better rewards than those picking up a mic for a lark or firing off substandard auditions in the hope they'll make some quick cash. While there's plenty of work for everyone, and I fully support others' success, I am not on board with the wish for "everyone experiencing the same degree of success" just for its own sake. I've been doing very well on voices.com and, naturally, I don't want that to change!

                                      If the changes create a better experience for those who are being unfairly shut out of jobs and therefore a better site for all, then you've got my vote. But I just caution you that many of us put a lot of effort and time into the rewards we reap here and that's got to count for something, too.

                                      Thanks,
                                      Lisa

                                      Posted by:

                                        Stephanie,

                                        I believe you're on the right track. I get frustrated spending time putting together a great audition and not even having it listened to. The other frustration is not getting any feedback on auditions that I don't get selected for. When a client has fewer auditions to listen to, hopefully they will have time to give feedback. This could take care of the "non qualified" auditions. Clients should be encouraged to send feed back to auditions that are not up to the Voices.com standard, this feedback should also go to Voices.com. It would then be up to voices.com to decide what to do. Just a thought. How do you know if your auditions are sub-par unless someone tells you.

                                        TH

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Thomas
                                        • February 12, 2014 9:15 AM

                                          Here's how I audition for jobs.

                                          I look at the script first and decide if its something I can or want to record. Some jobs are just not appealing to me due to style of writing or subject matter. Then I look at how many people have already auditioned. So any job invitation that I was on the fence about get tossed if the number is over 60.

                                          If the job invitation was one that I really felt that I could do better than anyone else I audition despite the number of other people trying for it, even if I'm number 119. Another thing that limits the amount of auditioning I do is when the job invitations come in clumps especially at the end of the day around 5pm. then I really have to "triage."

                                          I much prefer the emails spread out throughout the day. In my mind, it's like the job approver got out of a meeting, checked all the jobs coming in from voice seekers and spits them all out at the same time to the voice talent.

                                          The dollar amount is not always what I look at, as some of my best repeat clients have come from $100-250 jobs. However, that being said, I will fly to the microphone if I see a $1000+ job invite.

                                          One last note, I would pay extra to get every single job invitation. It should be included in the platinum membership. (I am not a platinum member - yet)

                                          Posted by:

                                            Hi Stephanie!

                                            I too was initially concerned about this turning into Voices123. As much like a person who commented before me some of the jobs I booked I was 85% matched for. How many invitations do you think we will get a week? A day? Or is that all still sort of up in the air depending on how many come in for the day. I did the trial at Voices123 and hated it as I got like 2 auditions every other day. And I just encouraged a group of friends to join Voices because of the ability to do as many as you can. (Great practice auditioning as well)

                                            Last year I did about 1000 auditions and booked about 6 jobs. Which was okay as it covered my fees and made me a bit of money. This year I decided to go all out. I did over 300+ from Jan 1 til now. I wanted to see if more spaghetti against a wall will help. Ive booked one so far. Im curious to see if more auditioning (like doing 20 a day) helps. But now if we are limited in our auditions this wont work. BUT that being said 6 out of 1000 wasn't a huge return and I would check each day just to see if my auditions were being listened to, so Im willing to give the new system a chance! And you all seem like you will totally work with us if for some reason this doesn't work for the bulk of us?

                                            Thanks for letting us know about the change. Lets see what March brings!!!

                                            Best,
                                            Cathy

                                            Posted by:
                                            • Cathy
                                            • February 12, 2014 9:56 AM

                                              Hi Lisa,

                                              Thank you for commenting and for sharing your thoughts! I'm grateful for your feedback.

                                              Charlotte had similar concerns around the everyone experiencing the same degree of success. In my response to her, I apologized for lack of clarification. What was meant was that we wanted all professional talent to experience the same degree of success, not that our expectation or desire was that all talent, regardless of experience level or dedication to voice-over, experience the same results.

                                              Here's what I said in a previous comment response:

                                              Regarding the calibre of talent, the post was written with professional voice talent in mind. I apologize that this was not clearer in the statement regarding us not being satisfied until all Voices.com members are achieving the same degree of success. I agree, someone starting out in voice over will not be attaining the same level of professionalism or success as someone who has been trained and working full time as a voice artist for years.

                                              ###

                                              We know that there are amazing talent on the site who used to book and are struggling to do so now. The site worked well for them at one point, and they, like you, enjoyed a significant amount of success. We want to see them thriving again as well as exceeding their goals. There are more than enough jobs out there, and the way things are going, there will be an overabundance of opportunity. We're posting on average 100 jobs a day to the site right now and expect to see that figure steadily increase over the next year or two.

                                              All of this said, I am encouraged to hear that you see a lot of merit in the changes and that you're willing to give them a proper chance before drawing conclusions.

                                              Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

                                              Take care,
                                              Stephanie

                                              Posted by:

                                                Dear Stephanie,

                                                Having been with you since 2009, I do understand that Voices.com has grown exponentially. I am very happy for you and David. I understand from some of my male counterparts that they are actually the talents who get 50 audition opportunities a day.

                                                I certainly don't, getting 25 a day is a good day and I can audition for every single one. So I have never been overwhelmed by too many opportunities. I would actually like more to choose from. So, this does concern me a bit as the others mentioned this looks like a "Voice123" model.

                                                You had made excellent points and I have to tell you, the one GREAT thing you did was stopping people from sending generic demos. That was a brilliant decision. Right now, I agree with Andrew who commented....he had some great ideas. My husband and I also thought about the problem of the time of day some auditions are released.

                                                Just a suggestion: I am not ready to audition at 5 or 6 am or at 1 am when I see that jobs have been posted. But, I think that if you all posted job opportunities at certain times of the day, all of us in different time zones might benefit.

                                                For example, unless it's a RUSH, maybe you all can release at say 9 am for EST and CST, then again, release again at noon, then again at 3 pm etc. What I am seeing is a lot of audition opportunities come in early in the morning, then it seems to die at noon then.... just a few audition opportunities will trickle in until about 6-9 pm and then I get a ton of posts which makes it difficult to audition for. So I find myself sitting in front of the computer on a normal day from noon to 3 with only a couple of audition opportunities coming in...so I don't know if there is a solution to that or not. I am concerned, as the others are that this is a Voice123 model and that concerns me as a Platinum member.

                                                To be honest, as a FULL TIME voice talent, I have clients who use me exclusively BECAUSE of Voices.com, so I love that. Also, as a busy voice over talent -- I don't audition every day, so you have a good point about those of us who can't audition every day, because we are already busy on other projects.

                                                However, it is important that I have an opportunity to be heard on the auditions I take the time to do and I usually get my auditions sent in the first ten or fifteen candidates, so I try to be sure I am heard. This model will drop the chances of being heard.
                                                All of my hires have come directly from clients. If you look at my success rate in 2013 compared to 2011 and 2012, I did not get a ROI -- so I am both concerned, BUT hopeful that maybe this change will help, as I have had great success with Voices.com and I don't plan on going anywhere. I just wanted to put in my 2 cents :-)
                                                Maybe this is the answer and I am hoping it will get me more hires when I audition.

                                                The thing I loved about Voices.com was that you all were "all about the talent"-- but I guess since you have so many subscribers, it's probably more difficult these days. I think Andrew's comment about taking a percentage of every job FROM THE CLIENT was a great idea too.

                                                You all are the best there is out there and I would like to see it stay that way.

                                                Thank you for taking the time to address our concerns Stephanie, that's a tough thing to have to do and I really appreciate it.

                                                My very best to you and bless you!

                                                Lauren

                                                Posted by:

                                                  Hi Mark,

                                                  Thank you very much for sharing how you use the site and your experiences. I'm pleased to hear that you are doing well and enjoy your membership to Voices.com.

                                                  We are doing what is best for the site and our customers from a longterm view, and in that view, introducing VoiceMatch Invitations is the correct decision.

                                                  If you are at all concerned that there won't be as many jobs to audition for, meaning less than the 50 or so opportunities you are invited to each day, 30 of which you're currently auditioning for, we expect that the number of invites won't decrease much if at all because we are constantly pursuing new business from clients who need to work with voice talent just like you.

                                                  Thank you for your kind words about our staff and service. I appreciate them and will pass your sentiments along to the team.

                                                  Take care,
                                                  Stephanie

                                                  Posted by:

                                                    Hi Dani,

                                                    Thank you for your comment and questions! I'm happy to answer them for you.

                                                    The "Hiring" page will not change and will present only the opportunities you were invited to audition for, just as it does now. You're correct to say that you will be able to audition for postings for which you receive an invitation.

                                                    You likely won't notice a decrease in the number of job invitations, and if you do, it will be minimal. Please note though that this number, in time, will return to what you're used to, or even increase, because clients, both new and existing, are in need of voice-overs requiring voices and skills like yours.

                                                    You'll still see your VoiceMatch score as you always have.

                                                    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and for reaching out!

                                                    Take care,
                                                    Stephanie

                                                    Posted by:

                                                      Hi Thomas,

                                                      Thank you for your support and also for suggesting that there be a mechanism for clients to help provide feedback to talent for why they might not have got the job.

                                                      Right now, clients do have the ability to email talent through the site straight from the auditions page via the "Ask a Question" link accompanying each talent audition. They can also "Send a Thank You" and provide insight as to why they hired the voice talent they did.

                                                      You're right to say that if there were fewer respondents, a client might be more inclined to give feedback for why they did not hire someone.

                                                      To show support, a client can also "Like" an audition which provides some feedback so far as their general impression of a particular audition. Clients can also save a talent to their Favorites list.

                                                      Giving clients the ability to rate an audition is not something we have tried, mainly because we feel that the rating could be interpreted out of context and not give you accurate or helpful information. What I mean by this is that a client rating could represent two different things:

                                                      1) Whether they felt you were the right voice for this particular job, or
                                                      2) Whether or not they liked your audition.

                                                      This is something we will consider again as it could be a helpful resource.

                                                      Thank you again for your support.

                                                      Take care,
                                                      Stephanie

                                                      Posted by:

                                                        Hi Stephanie,
                                                        I, for one, applaud these changes. If I'm doing more than 10 auditions a day off one site, I'm probably not being selective enough. I found my booking ratio increase when I can focus on the jobs that I'm honestly a good match for, and it's rather tedious deleting tons of auditions that a) I don't fit b) I have a low voice match for (but I need to update tags and demos, and c) the postings with more than 70 responses that you probably don't a chance in Hades of getting your audition heard. People complain about your competitor's "algorithms" but the way it forces you to be more selective and limits response helps ensure quality control, reduce client fatigue, and for me, led to increased bookings.
                                                        I'm excited to see how this pans out.
                                                        Also, I have noted more jobs as of late with specific budgets being posted, and I think that's great. The ranges just leave to much ambiguity and can lead to wasted effort. If a client posts a range of 100-250 and they're thinking 100ish then odds are they won't bother listening to my audition with the 225 quote. I would suggest the default be for a blank field and then perhaps a checkbox that opens up a drop down for price ranges. Maybe even a note suggesting that an accurate budget will ensure better talent matching.
                                                        Best,
                                                        Alex

                                                        Posted by:

                                                          Hi Kim,

                                                          Thank you for sharing your thoughts and about how you use Voices.com on a daily basis. I appreciate the "day in the life" approach and how you explained your strategies for auditioning.

                                                          I think it would be helpful from our end to describe the typical flow of a day at Voices.com and how our clients and their behaviours influence when jobs are approved.

                                                          Clients based in Asia and Europe tend to post overnight or in the early morning EST. Between 8am and 9am, there are a flurry of jobs approved, those being jobs posted overnight and at the start of the day.

                                                          Then, between 9am and 12pm, clients themselves are getting into the office, reviewing and answering emails, likely having a meeting of some sort and then posting their voice-over jobs.

                                                          At 12pm EST, clients on the east coast are on lunch and the west coast clients are just getting settled in. Many of these clients, just like the east coast clients, may take some time to settle in before they start posting jobs.

                                                          Over the course of the afternoon, everyone is firing on all cylinders, including our team, which is why there are a significant number of jobs being posted toward the end of the East Coast work day around 5pm EST.

                                                          Our team is here until 8pm EST approving jobs and providing coverage for our west coast customers.

                                                          The next day, the routine repeats itself. To help speed up the approval process of jobs, with the goal of having more spread throughout the day, we have implemented two solutions:

                                                          1) Private jobs are automatically approved.
                                                          2) Longstanding clients with good track records using Voices.com receive automatic job posting approval.

                                                          Thank you for letting me know of your interest in the Platinum membership. Just to confirm, Platinum members will be included in VoiceMatch Invitations just like Premium members.

                                                          Thanks for sharing how you use the site and for taking the time to go into so much detail about your process. I appreciate it!

                                                          Take care,
                                                          Stephanie

                                                          Posted by:

                                                            Hi Lauren,

                                                            Thank you for commenting and for joining this conversation! I appreciate it and hope all is well with you and Mark.

                                                            Thank you also for your kind words and for having confidence in what we are doing, even if at present it takes a leap of faith. Change is never easy but in this case, it is absolutely necessary. As you pointed out, this could turn things around for you in terms of your expected ROI in 2014 from Voices.com.

                                                            Thank you also for acknowledging the decision we made to not allow generic demos to be sent in with auditions when scripts have been provided. This has been received well by clients and talent alike.

                                                            Kim Somers had a concern around when jobs were being approved as well and I've addressed her in a previous comment, breaking down what an average day looks like for us and also for the clients who are posting the jobs. Our schedule for approving jobs, in most cases, is dictated by clients and their job posting needs. Let me know, if after reading my response to Kim, if this explanation is helpful to you.

                                                            Thank you again for your loyalty and also for giving this improvement a chance. We're blessed to have customers like you, Lauren. Thank you for your support and for trusting us to make the right choice.

                                                            With warm regards,
                                                            Stephanie

                                                            Posted by:

                                                              Hi Cathy,

                                                              Thank you for your comment! I'm pleased to hear that you are referring lots of your friends to experience what you have enjoyed at Voices.com. Thank you also for your questions.

                                                              We've done analysis and testing that indicates that you'll receive more a less the same number of auditions you're receiving now, which depending on your profile, is between 25 and 50 a day. You may not even notice a difference.

                                                              Also, your VoiceMatch scores will remain the same. No changes there. If you'd like to see your VoiceMatch score be higher for certain jobs, check to see if you have a demo represented in the category the job is posted to. For instance, if you are auditioning for a Telephone job and have a Telephone demo, your VoiceMatch score for that job will be higher than a talent auditioning for that same job who doesn't have a Telephone demo.

                                                              Thank you for giving this improvement a chance!

                                                              Take care,
                                                              Stephanie

                                                              Posted by:

                                                                Limiting the number of submissions to clients is the best news you could send - it's the main reason i don't audition more. I can't sit at the computer all day waiting to 'pounce' and by the time I finish my projects and then see what's out there, there's no point in adding to "183" submissions.

                                                                Very good news. And I LIKE Voice123. Much greater success there so more energy goes to their postings.

                                                                Thanks.

                                                                Posted by:

                                                                  Hi Jaime,

                                                                  Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your concerns. I appreciate it and hope that all is well with you.

                                                                  Thank you for acknowledging the delicate balance we need to maintain. What I'd like to encourage you with is this: the implementation of VoiceMatch Invitations will not ultimately result in less jobs for you to apply for than you are already receiving. At first, you might notice a slight decrease but this will level out to the number of job invitations you are currently receiving from the site as more and more clients post jobs.

                                                                  We've considered multiple solutions to this, trust me! At the end of the day, this solution is the one that makes the most sense. I want you to know that we made this decision for the good of all involved and look forward to providing even better service for our customers.

                                                                  Take care,
                                                                  Stephanie

                                                                  Posted by:

                                                                    I must say I am impressed by your response to every concern Stephanie. I have not read each response completely, but I intend to do just that. There seems to be a lot of concern over "sub-par" talent taking over the market. As a professional actor for nearly 30 years (AEA full-time) and a professional narrator for The Library of Congress, I can attest to the fact that just because some of us are new on the site does not mean we are under par in any sense. Let the clients sort out as they will. I truly appreciate your efforts to streamline and make things flow better. Some months when I have an acting gig going or lots of audio narration on my plate, I don't respond to every audition here.

                                                                    One thing I do intend to do as a result of all these posts is to include more demos on my profile!

                                                                    thanks again, Sara Morsey

                                                                    Posted by:
                                                                    • Sara Morsey
                                                                    • February 12, 2014 9:19 PM

                                                                      Hi there. This is interesting news. I've used both Voices.com and Voice123 and enjoy both a lot. I do wonder about this new system though. I don't mind Smartcast so much on Voice123 because it is based on many things, from my voice description and tags to my previous submission patterns, etc. Being selective about my auditions and submitting great samples to projects that fit my voice/acting profile, production ability and budget effects what comes into my inbox later. I honestly use that mindset when approaching auditions on Voices as well. Just because it is in my inbox does not mean I should audition. It will be fun to see how randomizing works for voice talent and seekers alike.

                                                                      Posted by:

                                                                        Dear Stephanie,

                                                                        I am glad to see that you are working on revamping the way things are done. Not because the old way was necessarily bad, but, it shows that you have our interests, as well as yours in mind. I have always been impressed with how easy it is to get help, live people, on the line when help is needed. They are always courteous and provide the answers to ease my mind (which can at times be ill at ease ). Having said that, I too get frustrated when I have sent many auditions and only get a few responses. Now part of that is I may not be marketing myself properly. Part of that may be the number of people auditioning.( I mean , after all, I am great, why didn't I get the job). I said the last tongue-in-cheek. Well, I am pretty good. Anyway, I am excited to see what the change will bring. Let us wish you and all good luck.

                                                                        Yours truly,
                                                                        John Ihrig in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

                                                                        Posted by:
                                                                        • John Ihrig
                                                                        • February 14, 2014 10:07 AM

                                                                          Stephanie,

                                                                          I know I probably can’t say anymore than what’s already been said, however, I think it’s important for you to hear from as many people as possible.

                                                                          I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Voices.com to date. I have never seen better customer service in my life. I have always believed the team really looks out for the talent and the clients. However, I’ve just read about the “Voice Match Invitations” and I am beyond disappointed. Based on the blog and your responses to comments, if this is what it looks like, I have a feeling that you’re getting ready to lose most of the good press you’ve worked so hard to achieve for many years. And the people you’re going to lose it from, are the top talents on the site…AKA: the ones who have paid their dues and as far as I’m concerned, the ones that really matter. I’ve already spoken with a few people (who will remain nameless at this point) and I will say without question, you’re ticking off the wrong ones. I understand that there are complaints from customers (voice talents) who aren’t booking work and maybe even from talents who book regularly. If 50 auditions come in a day for me, obviously, I won’t audition for all of them, but the reality is, I’ll audition for at least 20 on a normal day and there WILL NOT be a consistent pattern in which ones I audition for, whether it be category, age, voice match or language. What you’re doing by being selective on jobs, is taking talents, like me, who are working hard, and pulling the rug out from under them to allow the people who don’t as work hard to be happy. I worked in voiceovers long before I found Voices.com and I don’t need someone to tell me which jobs I should be allowed to audition for. I am a professional and think that I can make those decisions on my own.

                                                                          I was introduced to Voices.com through a friend who, to this day, has not booked a single job. He’s upset with me because I’m starting to book consistently. He told me in so many words that he’s paid his dues and it’s not fair. I asked him how many job opportunities come in a day for him. He said about 30 to which I asked, how many does he audition for? He said, 2-3 a day and I know for a fact, he has hours of free time. These are the people you’re getting most of your complaints from. Maybe not all of them, but I work hard and don’t think that people deserve a reward for laziness. “Don’t wish it was easier, wish your were better.” Jim Rohn

                                                                          I will say that if this goes through and has the effect that it looks like it’s going to have, you are going to lose me and more importantly, several of your key talents that have been free advertising for you for years.

                                                                          I’m asking you as a hard working talent, as a favor to me and ultimately, I believe a favor to you, don’t do this.

                                                                          Hoping to be a customer for many years,
                                                                          Bryan

                                                                          Posted by:

                                                                            Hi:

                                                                            This discussion has been fascinating to read, and I really admire your dedication Stephanie to addressing most, if not all of the respondents here. I believe there are many valid concerns, and that the process above is going to find the fairest approach to making it work for all. I'd like to add only one perspective that I did not see really represented above, and that is of the beginner, trying to make it and yes, working at it part time because there are still bills to be paid. I fall into this category. I joined Voices.com perhaps a little too soon, as my goal is to get more training in under my belt with Voice One in San Francisco when I'm able to but, I do feel the experience I get with working through these auditions is quite valuable, and when I do have days I can commit to getting into my recording studio and doing this work, I give it my all. I know I still have a ways to go but, I also know that it is this dedication and "nose to the grindstone" attitude that stands the best chance of landing work, and starting to see some of my sad grey stars turn orange. While I"m not overwhelmed really by the number of auditions in my inbox, I do find it tedious sorting through them to find the ones I've a better chance of landing. (My criteria currently are the lower paying, simple projects, and especially those from fellow clients with sad grey stars.) This leads me to wonder if on our home page, there might not be able to be added to the "Hiring, Answered, Awarded, Completed, Deleted" tabs a tab for "Invitations." I realize this is something of a structural change to the site but, all the data is there just needing to be reconfigured.

                                                                            Lastly: to all the great, hard working talent on here getting jobs know that we who are trying to learn and grow admire you and are envious of what you've achieved. Please remember that you once too were where we are, unless you're one of those prodigies that are just born with a natural talent and gift…..

                                                                            Best,

                                                                            lance shows

                                                                            Posted by:
                                                                            • Lance Shows
                                                                            • February 19, 2014 1:02 PM

                                                                              A quick mea culpa! I'd not gotten that the "Hiring" tab is exactly what I was suggesting in my response earlier… Every time I looked at it I felt I was seeing many jobs that had not shown up in my inbox; now I'm seeing that that likely is not correct.

                                                                              Best

                                                                              lance shows

                                                                              Posted by:
                                                                              • Lance Shows
                                                                              • February 19, 2014 1:23 PM

                                                                                Hi Bryan,

                                                                                Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts here on the blog. Thank you also for your kind words and for sharing about how you have experienced success using Voices.com. I appreciate it and would like to address your concerns.

                                                                                We're sorry to hear that so many people are upset over something that has yet to have any impact whatsoever on their use of Voices.com. Over the years, people have speculated that any innovation we come out with will have negative consequences to the industry as well as on a personal level. Almost without fail, two weeks after a product enhancement or feature goes live on the site, people see the immediate benefit or they recognize that the feature has no bearing on how they use Voices.com. It's with this experience that we derive our confidence for making the right decisions.

                                                                                All I'm asking of you is that you allow for this feature to roll out and then make a judgment on how it is working for you. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

                                                                                Take care,
                                                                                Stephanie

                                                                                Posted by:

                                                                                  Hi Stephanie,
                                                                                  Thank you for taking this initiative. Currently, I don't audition for projects where I am less than a 90% match and/or there have been more than 80 auditions submitted. I would greatly prefer to receive even only a dozen auditions a week where I am submitting with 25-50 other talents rather than a constant flow of auditions with 100-150 or more talents being submitted. I look forward to seeing how the changes affect the auditions, and I will adapt and revise my profile on voices.com appropriately.
                                                                                  All the best,
                                                                                  Lance Blair

                                                                                  Posted by:

                                                                                    Stephanie,

                                                                                    Being a beginner and not even having posted my first demo, I read the plight you're involved in and realized that the chapters I just read in several of the books by VO talents all state that you, as the artist have to take the responsibility of choosing which jobs you audition for. Yes your agent is going to try to book as many as possible, some may be on the edge, but at the end of the day it comes down to what all the books teach. Do your ground work and build a solid foundation. That means keeping your profile updated, and stop using some stale prerecorded, and dated demos. Keep your situation fresh and show the client that you stay ahead of the trends, not respond after they've happened.

                                                                                    Mine may not be what others want to hear, but it is the advice that I'm receiving in my VO training.

                                                                                    Keep up the great job you're doing and as with every audition, we'll see if the client likes it!

                                                                                    Greg

                                                                                    Posted by:
                                                                                    • Greg Ericsson
                                                                                    • March 3, 2014 2:12 PM

                                                                                      I have no problem keeping up with all the auditions that comes in ..What I like about this that I have more options from jobs to chose from..All the jobs I delete is because they were not right for my style..If you decrease the amount or auditions we receive it will remove many jobs sent we may have chosen to do.. On the other hand if its sent to less people the newer may have a chance to book a job ..what I see alot is just the same people booking all the jobs and the newer people cant compete or make money since the more established actors book all the work ..I think alot newer people are seeing this too and will leave voices,com as I am thinking of doing ..so will this new way help in that area too?

                                                                                      Posted by:
                                                                                      • Jim
                                                                                      • March 12, 2014 2:25 AM

                                                                                        Im still not sure about the new way..I see its good and bad.

                                                                                        Is it in place now?
                                                                                        or is it just slow ..I find myself this week just sitting waiting for auditions and hardly any work coming.so Im not sure if its the new way or just so slowwwwwwwww

                                                                                        Posted by:
                                                                                        • JIM
                                                                                        • March 13, 2014 2:23 PM

                                                                                          Hi Jim and others reading this post,

                                                                                          To confirm, VoiceMatch Invitations was announced February 10th, 2014 and the roll out began on March 10th, 2014.

                                                                                          Our implementation plan calls for a very gradual roll out and will take about 12 months for this project to be completed. Rest assured that there will be no dramatic changes. You should be receiving 99% of the jobs you were receiving last month.

                                                                                          Jim, could please reach out to customer service with your question? It seems odd that you are hardly seeing any work coming and I want to make sure your profile is as complete as possible. I'd like for the team to look into your account and provide some tips if you're open to it. You can email us here:

                                                                                          http://www.voices.com/service/customer_care

                                                                                          Thanks,
                                                                                          Stephanie

                                                                                          Posted by:

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