Oh No She Di'int! Donna Summers from VOPlanet Throws the Smackdown on Voice123

Oh No She Di’int! Donna Summers from VOPlanet Throws the Smackdown on Voice123

March 24, 2009  |  Articles, Casting Sites

voplanetsmackdown

As you guys might have noticed Voiceover-casting.com is starting to attract alot of the producers and owners of Voice Casting websites. Very recently Steven lowell from Voice123.com joined us and a short while after that Michelle Summers from VOplanet.com did so as well.

It looks like Michelle has been smarter about her membership than the other  Casting site producers and has read through the Voice over Talent forums where we’ve been bitching about one thing or another… one thing has stood out  the SmartCast….not so smart system that Voice123 is using … here is a post from Rich Brennan:

“On March 11, 2009 Rich Brennan said:

Voice123….ohhhh boy, where do I begin. I WAS a premium member for a number of years; I’ve since let my subscription expire, resulting in a free membership. When I first signed up the membership was $99/yr. The jobs that resulted were few and far between; I consider myself aggressive when it comes to auditioning. I currently maintain 5 demos, and as such, I received notices for the categories my demos fit. I’ll admit I auditioned for just about every notice that came by….slowing down as time went by. When Voice123 brought on their ’SMART CAST’ system I grew leary of the term….’…making it fair for everyone…’ (or somewhere thereabout); nevermind that the membership fee JUMPED from $99/yr to $299/yr.
Needless to say, my aggressive nature towards auditioning was restrained by ’Smart Cast’. I gave it a try for 2-3 yrs with ’Smart Cast’, but now I’ve had it. When questioned about the sudden LACK of audtion notices the response was that my aggressive nature made it UNFAIR to those people in my category, and thereby, I’d have to WAIT for the others in my category ”…to CATCH up”. Basically speaking; you pay $300/yr for a premium membership; but you’re LIMITED on the number of auditions you can read for.

I’ve made my complete DISSATISFACTION known to the Voice123 people and have stated that I will not renew my subscription until they revamp their system.

Time to climb down from my soapbox….lol
my $0.02″

Yesterday I got this email from VOplanet:

Voplanet logo vertical
Submit Unlimited Auditions.

DON’T BE PENALIZED FOR WHAT YOU DO BEST!
We have had several talent tell us lately that, to their dismay, some of the sites they are listed with actually penalize talent for auditioning too much. In my opinion, dear VO gurus, that is insane!

We here at www.voplanet.com WANT you to audition, audition, audition! Not only does it give our clients a chance to hear the BEST VO on the Planet, but it gives you the opportunity to do what you do best…get work in the VO industry!
Here is WHY we can do this. We don’t represent everyone who wants to be a VO talent. We rep folks who are qualified, professional, and eager to book jobs. A good demo is a pre-requisite. If you don’t have one, we are happy to help you get the tools you need to get one. Then, the more you audition, the better you get at it! Doesn’t that seem to make more sense than asking you to join us and then shutting you out of auditions? We think so and so do our clients.

Our job is to market you to voice-over buyers and that is what we do best. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, Plaxo, and many of the other social networks where people go to find what they need today. We spend lots of time telling clients about how awesome our VOplanet talent are and how they can easily find and book you. And when they come to our site, they can actually HEAR you audition instead of hearing folks who might have auditioned less times than you. Sorry folks, I just don’t get the reason why GOOD QUALIFIED TALENT are prevented from auditioning on other sites after PAYING to audition!

If you are tired of being penalized for being a GREAT TALENT, come on over to www.voplanet.com and work with the professionals who know how to market your voice without penalizing you or our clients who WANT to hear you audition!

Donna Summers
VOplanet

(I’m guessing Donna is related to Michelle?)
Hey I’m all for casting sites duking it out… but VOplanet… before you start putting the smackdown on Voice123… how about you allow people to setup free accounts with you guys? Voices.com does it… voice123.com does it… bodalgo.com does it… did I miss something here? when will you start offering it… and hey if you do offer free accounts… show me where!

Thats if for now.



10 Comments


  1. Very well put Taji, always a joy to see your blogging prowess at work…

    Brian

  2. We are wating the Stephanie Ciccarelli and Laurynda from Voices.com. 🙂

  3. Yes, I had the opportunity to read that message.

    Quite frankly, I found it classless, ignorant, and without foundation.

    In a day and age that screams for transparency and work opportunity, she took the opinions of 10% of Voice123 dissatisfied customers to spin it for profit.

    Well, I was a member of VO Planet, prior to working for Voice123. I was invited to approx. 20 jobs in 1 year. She took my money, never screened me, and I never knew exactly what was happening to my auditions.

    You see, I wont attack anyone, because it is selfish & arrogant for one website to say, ‘Use this and no other’.

    Voice123 offers technology that has led to a large increase in the amount of jobs booked since I started here.

    I hope she makes money from her classless stunt.

    Just so everyone knows, I started in this business in 1992. I know every single thing a ‘talent wants to hear’, and I also know that talents are emotional, eager, and willing to please, making them extremely easy to take advantage of.

    I was upset by that email of hers simply because it fails to mention the following:

    1. Voice123 does system training every Thursday at 1pm, where we explain every minute detail of the website.

    2. We have longer customer service hours than any other site.

    3. We know talents need work, and that they paid, so we do our best to make sure all paying customers can find work.

    4. We dont believe in attacking other sites that may offer work.

    5. We are fully aware that most of the jobs on her site are left overs from Voicebank, they had no problem taking our slogan, or copying our parameters for matching.

    Well…I hope she profits by preying on people’s insecurities. I promised myself I would never do that to anyone when I started here, because for years, it always happened to me.

    So…yeah…Pardon me for saying so in my NYC fashion, but ‘Before you open your mouth, at least have some clue as to what you are talking about.’

    At least you know I will never lie to you. This business needs a lot more truth, and in my quest to find the truth, I chose a team that seemed to know what they were doing.

    So…is my ‘spin’ one of ‘the guy who tells the truth’. Maybe so, but I would never prey on someone’s insecurity or lack of knowledge, to make our site look better. We have better things to do.

    Yes, I took that personally.

    ~Steven
    Voice123.com

  4. I had a free account for years with voice123 and never got anything from them. They filter the emails from clients to talent. If your not a paid member your emails do not get through to the client. I had several potential clients contact me when about jobs, I responded through the voice 123 email and never would hear back from them. I learned later that they have someone overseeing all communication from clients to talent. It is up to them if your return messages get through. All my work comes from other sources. I can’t imagine these pay sites would give any jobs away for free.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Jim Lueck
    Celebrity Voice Impressionist

  5. Been there done that… I told 123 how crapy their system was and they asked me to leave. Even refunded my coin. I am a current member of voices.com and voplanet.com. I have been with voices.com and seem to only be getting the people that want to pay $100 to 250 dollars a wack for their projects, or something way out of wack like $750 for 4500 vocab words, pronounced, defined and used in a sentance. Come on, you kidding me? I think that’s great and all automating the process for auditioning, however when you totally take the human element out (i.e. real live agents working for you) you just become a number and you better be the first one it or your not going to get heard. I have done a few projects with voices.com and 0 with voplanet.com. However with my agents that are set up around the country, I have landed and booked Netflix, Geraldo At Large, Amtrak, Kreg Tool (SAG gig), Stripes Convenience Stores (AFTRA), MMI, Okalahoma Tourism and a thousand others over the years. And these arn’t dollar a holler gigs either. There’s something to be said about a real live human saying, “hey.. I have this guy Jimbo, he’s crazy and does some pretty big suff…. he also has his own ISDN post studio and production company, let me get you two hooked up….” The agent get’s their cut, I get my contact and gig and we all win. That is work paying for.

    Paying and auditioning with thousands of others like someone that just got their first Pro-tools or Adobe Audition rig and always wanted to get into voice over…. well, I think someone “casting” using an automated service gets listener fatigue and doesn’t even listen to the fist 20 before they are sick of hearing crap! Hey just because I may have a steady hand, doesn’t mean I am going to be “getting into” open heart surgury!

    I’m just sayin!

    That’s my .02 cents too.

    Cheers

    Jimbo
    212-748-9476.

  6. Hello, Dear VO Friends,

    Donna Summers here. I am the owner of VoiceCasting and a managing partner of VOplanet. Michelle Summers is my daughter-in-law and a principal in both businesses.

    I’d like to answer the allegations made by Steven Lowell at Voice123. I never identified any other site or agency in my email. By writing your blog, Steven, you revealed and confirmed the business practices of Voice123. It was certainly not my intention to hurt you or your employer. I am just stating fact as I hear them from a plethora of talent who are flocking to us for legitimate auditions.

    We have been in the voice-over business for 31 years now and our client and talent roster will attest to our legitimacy and longevity as a premiere force in the voice-over industry. In 1992 when you started, Steven, we had a very large clientele and had enjoyed many years in the voice-over business. And yes, I too was a talent long before I was an agent, so I am fully aware of both ends of the business. We were around years before any other online voice-over site existed and we don’t consider ourselves a pay-to-play site. We offer membership to talent and match them with real clients for real auditions. Our business is to get jobs for our talent and to make sure our clients are happy.

    I would never state that anyone should use any agency exclusively, including VOplanet. There are sites for everyone. We don’t accept all talent and we must assume that all talent will not fit with us. I believe that there is an abundance of work and no lack for any of us. Each talent and each agent will find his own match.

    You stated, Steven, “Just so everyone knows, I started in this business in 1992. I know every single thing a ‘talent wants to hear’, and I also know that talents are emotional, eager, and willing to please, making them extremely easy to take advantage of.” I say, Steven, it never occurred to me to take advantage of the “mouth and hand that feeds me”, which is our talent. We are nothing without them and my business is based on it. And by the way, our talent are strong, smart businesspeople who make wise choices based on fact, not emotion.

    Let me address the following:

    LS: 1. Voice123 does system training every Thursday at 1pm, where we explain every minute detail of the website.

    DS: At VOplanet we have no need to “train”. Our system is intuitive and self-explanatory. Our tech support who is my business partner, Robert Simmons, is available ALL the time to help any talent or client who has a problem on a one-on-one basis.

    LS: 2. We (Voice 123) have longer customer service hours than any other site.

    DS: As I stated above, our tech support expert at VOplanet is also my business partner, so he has 100% interest in making sure all tech questions are answered quickly and thoroughly. We never farm out tech support to independent contractors with no vested interest in our company. Check the time stamps on emails from VOplanet.

    LS: 3. We know talents need work, and that they paid, so we do our best to make sure all paying customers can find work.

    DS: Except the part about penalizing talent for auditioning too much….

    LS: 4. We don’t believe in attacking other sites that may offer work.

    DS: No one attacked you. What did you do in this blog? You attacked me personally and attacked VOplanet.

    LS: 5. We are fully aware that most of the jobs on her (Donna’s) site are left overs from Voicebank, they had no problem taking our slogan, or copying our parameters for matching.

    DS: Voicebank, a premiere source for better paying auditions, can only be accessed by legitimate talent agencies. We also get premiere and high paying legit auditions from our legacy clients, new clients we get through our marketing efforts, and from several other sources daily. That’s what we are in business to do and of course we use all of our resources and our reputation as a top talent agency to get work for our amazing team of voice-over talent.

    DS: Leftovers? Look at our list of clients such as Hasbro, Disney, Discovery Channel, Ford, Army, Sony, Equifax, etc. Are these leftovers? My talent and I will take them any day and we get repeat business from all of them. We consistently go to bat for our talent and pay our VO’s more than any other agency while keeping the client’s best interest in mind.

    DS: Your slogan and matching parameters? We developed our parameters years before you were in the business! And slogans? Voice 123 “The Voice Marketplace”. “VOplanet, A Better Way to Search Talent”. They are hardly the same. Do you own the search parameters of gender, language and voice age? They are now universal search parameters and are in fact even used on this site and all sites who rep talent.

    SL: Well…I hope she profits by preying on people’s insecurities. I promised myself I would never do that to anyone when I started here, because for years, it always happened to me.

    DS: I am sorry, Steven, that you are wounded. I do appreciate your loyalty to your employer. It is admirable.

    SL: So…yeah…Pardon me for saying so in my NYC fashion, but ‘Before you open your mouth, at least have some clue as to what you are talking about.’

    DS: And Pardon me for saying in my “sweet little smart-ass” Southern girl fashion, “Bless your heart!”

    SL: At least you know I will never lie to you. This business needs a lot more truth, and in my quest to find the truth, I chose a team that seemed to know what they were doing.

    DS: The TRUTH??? Our records show that Steven Lowell paid for a membership with VOplanet.com in May 2008 while employed with Voice123. Steven never created an account under Steven Lowell and never auditioned as Steven Lowell, so maybe that’s why he never heard from us. My question is, who did the 20 auditions? Steven, do you have a stage name and if so, what is it and what were you doing on my site? If you have been with Voice123 since 2007, why did you pay for a membership at VOplanet in 2008?

    SL: So…is my ’spin’ one of ‘the guy who tells the truth’. Maybe so, but I would never prey on someone’s insecurity or lack of knowledge, to make our site look better. We have better things to do.

    DS: As I said earlier, Steven, I only state the facts as I see them. I believe that most of the posts on this site will attest to that. I apologize if you took my comments personally but if the shoe fits…

    I do wish you and your employer the best.

    Donna Summers
    President, http://www.VoiceCasting.com
    Partner, http://www.VOplanet.com
    dsummers@voplanet.com

    • I was told by every vo coach to never give money upfront to a talent agent, and up until I signed onto voplanet, never have. I was signed onto voplanet to receive emails listing new vo projects. The projects were described as “Blue Chip” and they included the logos of all the clients they represent. Every other email included a coupon for discount talent signups. I was already a paying member on voices, and had a free profiles sitting on voices123, and bodalgo. But, I kept seeing all those high paying jobs offered on voplanet and finally pulled the trigger. I signed up and became a “Kryptonite” member, and was ready to “audition, audition, audition!!” I received 3 auditions right out of the gate. Cool, I’m on my way! But after the 1st month of my one year subscription, only a few jobs per month would show up in my inbox. I kept thinking “where are the jobs?” and “is my voice profile incorrect? Then, I saw it in their own writing.. (Paraphrase) “Voplanet is not a pay to play site. We are a talent booking agency.” That is when I knew I had been taken to the bank. You got my money, Donna. Congratulations! You are really good if you beat this skeptic out of his hard earned money. Being the opportunistic optimist that I am, some things were gained out of your little operation. I used 3 of 8-10 copies I received from your site and incorporated them into a demo that I send to real booking agents that earn 12.5%-15% of the jobs they book for me. Currently, there are 5 agents helping my career.. so thank you for the copies.. and may the bird of paradise fly up your nose.

  7. Takes a look around. Wow.
    This is good stuff people.
    I`m going to get some boxing gloves just in case we have any lawyers out there. hehe brb

  8. I have to say, I have spent time on VoPlanet, as well as voices.com. I have not signed up with 123, and do not intend to, ever. For various reasons, but mainly because, contrary to what Steven says, I don’t believe for a minute is a small amount of people complaining. Look, if we are being honest here, I belong to plenty of other forums, and have met many talented individuals, and read many posts. The common belief is that 123 is a joke. It has gone from a relevant option to a place for beginners. Granted, even beginners need a place to go, but the experienced talent are not interested in the lowball jobs. None of them are willing to do a 100,000 word audio book for under $500. I have been able to view some of the jobs that have come across 123, and that is pretty much it. Lowball jobs, for the newbies. A great way to get experience? Maybe. The reason I am not currently with VoPlanet, has nothing to do with Donna or Michelle, but other reasons we won’t discuss. With that said, in the time I was there, I knew whether or not my audition had been heard. That is all a talent can ask for, the opportunity to be heard. If you don’t get the gig, either you weren’t right for the client, or you blew it. At least you were heard. Yes, there was some voicebank stuff there, so what. There were also tons of other auditions that I didn’t receive via my agents, via voicebank. Every single opportunity that was presented was a good paying gig. Not once was there a 100,000 word narration for $300. Any time I had questions, they were answered within minutes, either by Michelle or Robert.

    I asked questions to 123, and never received an answer at all. There are no options there to allow me to give the site a trial run, ie: monthly payments. You either pay your $299 or forget it. I receive the daily email from 123, filled with advice that simply put, would steer me or any other talent in the wrong direction. The way I view it is, a voice over p2p that is run by techies who know nothing about vo.

    Bottom line, when the situation changes and I am ready to return to any P2P site, 123 will not even be an afterthought. I will gladly pay my fee to VoPlanet. At least I know I will get real, good paying, serious opportunities, along with great customer service and open communication. That is money and time well spent.

  9. Donna,

    I truly appreciate your response and my personal experience aligns with what others are saying about 123. I watched the site for 10 months doing research and did see some interesting auditions come through based on my profile.

    However when I finally bit the bullet and changed to the Premium membership, it was extremely frustrating to be penalized for auditioning too much. To make is worst, the daily and weekly summary showed just rubbed my face in the auditions I was not being allowed to audition for.

    Strangely enought too was the fact of the budgets on these being much higher as well. I did contact their customer service, which was always the same person, and voiced my frustrations and as a result just stopped auditioning until my % compared to others in my profile dropped down. I did get more auditions but not the higher budgeted ones. No one can explain that.

    Another interesting point was after I did complain, I started getting “fresh” audition notices that were already closed.

    Have not bailed out of 123 yet but am starting to consider it.

    Tom.