Ohayou gozaimasu おはようございます,
I got this piece of news today through one of my Voice Over Industry Sentinels. And I gotta say its a doozy… Apparently Voice 123 dot com would like to expand their Voice Over Casting Empire into other languages and locales by creating localized versions of their website… so that not only the english speaking part of the world can suffer through their ridiculous Dumbcast system but they can make other members of the human race suffer in their own respective languages.
I’ll let you read through their proposal … and at the risk of getting some of my less informed readers excited that this is a fair offer… wait until the end of the post to read my comments:
Looking for entrepreneurs to partner with
Voice123, the largest network of voice talent and production professionals in the world, is looking for entrepreneurs with a track record of diligence and success to partner with us. These individuals will help create localized versions of our voice casting system, one for each of several languages. Each of these localized versions will be its own startup Internet business, and partners may each receive up to a 50% ownership stake, depending on the resources they bring to the project.
Voice123 is expanding into new markets, and seeks partners, who will take an active hand in the setup and operations of new, localized versions of its service. There is a growing demand in currently under-served countries, and we believe that these new partnerships will lead to thriving businesses around the world.
Voice123’s network currently includes over 100,000 (mostly English-speaking) voice industry professionals, and we have processed over 2 million auditions to date. In studying the activity of our service, we have realized that a large percentage of the projects that are accepting these auditions require voice talent in multiple languages. For this reason, we are launching a pilot plan that will expand our business into the following languages/markets:
We need partners who are native speakers in the languages listed above. If you are a driven Internet entrepreneur who has the proper skills, the desire to succeed, and the ability to invest considerable time and effort in the potential for a thriving business many months down the line, then we want to hear from you.
We will support each new partner with Voice123’s technology, expertise, and knowledge of the voice talent industry.
Please read the requirements below carefully.
Successful candidates must possess all of these skills and attributes, without exception:
Extensive background in and knowledge of high-level web technology.
Native speaker of the local language, and bilingual in English.
Tremendous drive, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication.
To further explain this last point: You should only apply for this partnership program if you will have the ability to work at least 8 hours per day for a full year with no salary, which is the period before we estimated time frame for these businesses to achieve profitability.
While not required, these skills are considered highly valuable in selecting our partners:
Documented web programming experience, with references.
Previous knowledge of and involvement in the entertainment industry.
Previous experience in building and running web-based businesses.
Ability to bring additional resources, above and beyond the requirements listed above, to the project.
Location in New York, NY, or Bogota, Colombia.
Co-own and run your own startup business.
Potential for significant, on-going revenue based on the success of the business.
Learn from and share experiences with our team of professionals.
Attractive business and entrepreneurial environment.
How to apply?
Send an email message to email@example.com including the following information:
Phone number, including country code.
An explanation of why you wish to partner with us, and what makes you uniquely suited to our needs.
What resources, other than basic requirements, you will be able to bring to the project.
Send your resume, or a link to your complete profile on LinkedIn.
Voice123 is the world’s largest online voice over talent database, with over 100,000 voice industry professionals registered. Voice123 is a marketplace that connects “voice seekers” (the job poster) with the voice over talents of Voice123. Learn more at http://voice123.com/
Wow! what an amazing offer… you (the entrepreneur) will be working on Localizing the Voice123 website (redoing it in your language). So you do all of this work (and believe me its a huge amount of work… I mean they actually need their PR department to conduct courses to teach people how to navigate their bloated website) and what do you get in return? Up to 50% ownership stake.
So to make things a little clearer…
- You will have to relocate to New York so you can work on this project.
- You will need to have web coding skills,
- be a native speaker of the language of localization (obviously)
- And here is the kicker…. You should only apply for this partnership program if you will have the ability to work at least 8 hours per day for a full year with no salary, which is the period before we estimated time frame for these businesses to achieve profitability.
Seriously? Work for 8 hours a day for a whole year for nothing? So that I can get a 50% stake in voice123 China?!
Are you frikkin Kidding me?? WHY would anyone do that? Why wouldn’t that person just frikkin build a new system from the ground up and learn from your many, many, many mistakes. This sounds to me like the biggest insult to anyone’s intelligence. Because of your existing roster of 100,000 (mostly english speaking) voice over talent? or your claimed 2 million auditions. Does that translate to 2 million jobs? or 2 million times your 100,000 talent sent in auditions for jobs? seems to me like all your 100,000 members have to do is send out 20 auditions each for you to reach your 2 million audition mark. And if you mean you processed 2 million jobs then are we including the pro bono stuff? the stuff people are doing for free?
So the guy slaves for a year for no money.. relocates to New York to use your resources…. what resources will he be using exactly? your servers? Or your bloated back end (technologically speaking).
As an advertising professional (I make most of my money from my day job) I’ve worked on affiliation programs before… I’ve also worked on partnership deals. In fact just a few months ago I was a key player in getting my advertising company an affiliation deal with one of the biggest advertising companies in the US. Yes we are building on our existing resources and we are adding their name to ours … but we aren’t moving to frikkin New York and slaving for 8 hours a day for a year for nothing.
That’s not even how these things work anyway… does the entrepreneur of choice punch in and punch out at the v123 premises? Back in Canada I had my own design business… I used to work allot more than 8 hours a day to get it off the ground… and even then I wouldn’t have survived if I worked 8 hours a day for a year for nothing.
Come to think of it… how much does it take to live for a year without having a proper job or an income… in New York.
What Taji Thinks
You know what I think? I think this is a raw deal. I think Voice 123 is doing what their rivals voices.com did a while back when they were choosing their slogan by going ultra cheap and creating a “Competition” that their talent can participate and get awarded “Prizes” instead of hiring a proper advertising company and paying them to come up with something good.
But no matter what voices.com did … you can depend on V123 to go further, think bigger… and come up with a plan so terrible that I can safely call it an “Epic Fail”.
Honestly… if I was an entrepreneur who had enough money to live in New York for a year and work for v123 for free… with the promise of a 50% stake in this new venture … then I would do what Armin Hierstetter from Bodalgo.com did and build the site myself. Why waste my time for a 50% stake in a company like V123 when I can build it myself … possibly get a loan or partners… and effectively retain 100% of the ownership stake and in turn the income myself.
Who knows maybe a few Saps will join forces with V123 and do this. But it seems to me like all they’ll be doing is saving V123 the hassle of going out and localizing their own website themselves and hiring some people who speak the language and keep them on staff.
The idea that they are “Spreading the wealth” is ludicrous really. If I wanted to study the V123 system I’d just get the cheapest membership they had… study it for a month… and go rebuild it but without the bloat. What resources would I possibly need from V123? Their existing clients? With enough affordable web advertising I can launch a localized voice over website in no time… Our community is so small that it wouldn’t take that much to make people aware of its existence.
Yet another facepalm moment for V123… Thank you guys… for keeping us entertained.
nough Said… comments?
(Taji’s additional comments:) A guy by the name of Max Hodges left a comment stating that I had made a mistake regarding the required location of choice that the potential v123 partner should be located in.
Since I have a somewhat over-sized sense of ethics and could have been a paladin in some other age. I went through the posting again and noticed that I did indeed make a mistake… What the post had said was they would PREFER that the candidate be located in New York, NY or Bogota, Colombia. So its not a requirement. Still its a preference that would shift their choice of who to partner with. But it does not imply as Max does with his comment that the potential partner can be located anywhere. The link I got my information from was here: http://about.voice123.com/voice/content/business_development#
So honestly other than Colombia being a second preferred place of residence for the potential partner I don’t see where they say a partner can live and work from anywhere else in the world and still work with them.
Ok I think that’s about all the time I am willing to spare for this post. Now back to my vacation.
Critics of voice123 should rejoice, because this plan seems doomed. If you blow up a balloon too much, it will eventually burst. The question is, at what cost?
Whether you like it or not, voice123 does generate a considerable amount of work for many in this business, and I firmly believe in competition in the market place. It keeps the various voices.coms on their toes, and -hopefully- it will lead to better services for voice-talents at a lower cost. That’s one reason why I hope that voice123 will survive their own ambition.
We as voice-talents have the power. We ultimately determine whether or not a certain site is a success. If we don’t like what they’re offering or how we’re being treated, there’s always the competition!
It does take a lot of guts, stamina and financial resources to get a new site like Bodalgo off the ground and make it profitable. I admire Armin for his efforts and I wish him nothing but the best. I just hope he’s not operating on borrowed time, as he’s waiting for voice-seekers to come up with the jobs we all want and need.
I don’t agree with your remarks on the voices.com “Competition”. How could I… I just won first prize in one of them!
Regardless, I think voices.com is wise to interact with their members and involve them in all sorts of ways. As a trainer I always believed that my students were my best credentials. Their stories of success were much more authentic and powerful than the scripts written by certain advertising agents, read by people who were clearly hired to pretend they knew what they were talking about.
No offense to you, because I don’t know the work of your ad agency or for that matter, your own work. I believe you’re incredibly talented and you obviously care about this industry and its players. I thoroughly enjoy your blogs and I appreciate your help and support.
It beats reading about tooth whiteners any day!
Ah, now come on… admit it! You’re just disappointed they didn’t have Arabic as one of their chosen languages :-).
And who’d work eight hours a day for nothing… hey, wait a minute – I pretty much do that now audtioning for their jobs!!!
Actually the idea of running a website for casting would completely obliterate the fun I have of doing VOs. I hate the whole 9 to 5 thing… Oh and did I mention that I have a family to feed. Relocating to NY or Colombia to work for a year with no pay … I can’t even begin to think how ludicrous this is.
The fact that they didn’t mention Arabic is merely insulting. although I’m pretty sure there are more people who speak Chinese than Arabic… there are still more who speak Arabic than German or dutch.
Whether you run an advertising business or a voice over website, there are always several interested parties that need to be appeased: the employees, the clients, the board of directors and the shareholders. It’s an intricate balancing act to reconcile the different interests. For any for-profit business, the bottom line is the bottom line. Costs need to be kept down. Revenue has to go up… it’s a familiar story.
As a former journalist who has worked for numerous international news outlets, the issue of objectivity is very dear to me. Can one be on an organizations payroll and still be objective about that organization? Can criticism and feedback only come from an outside source in order to be trustworthy and legitimate? Can we assume that comments from an insider are automatically biased? Should we automatically discredit and disregard any remarks coming from people who have been paid by that organization?
First off, I firmly believe that complete objectivity is a myth. Everything is perception and perception is everything (keep that in mind for the confirmation hearings of Sotomayor!). Secondly, just because someone has received payment from an organization, doesn’t mean that their opinion has been bought. Third, I believe that there’s a place for valid criticism coming from an informed insider or a whistle blower. People with a vested interest in a business and a good knowledge of that business, can have leverage to initiate change from the inside.
Let’s make it a bit more personal and talk about my voices.com prize. Just because I just won a gift certificate, does not mean that “I will be squarely in their camp and end up never criticizing their actions”. My opinion and integrity is not for sale and it never will be. At the end of the day, I am an independent contractor, with the emphasis on independent. And should I have any future bones to pick, I will not hesitate to pick them as I see them.
Back to you!
Thanks for sharing some of your experiences with voices.com. As you know, mine have been more positive. I’m not that easy to please when it comes to customer service. Only a few years ago, I worked as a customer service trainer for a big bank. This bank had been ranked number one for customer service for seven years in a row. Working in that environment gave me a pretty good sense of what it takes to constantly deliver quality service. Even though many of us take it for granted, it is not an easy thing to accomplish.
Anyway, back to the issue of competition and (im)partiality. When I sent my entry to Stephanie, I told her that the incentive was nice, but that I would have written this story anyway because it was a reflection of my (subjective) experience. To put it bluntly, I didn’t do it for the money, but since it happened to come my way, I am going to enjoy my award to the fullest. It also came at a perfect moment in time, because I was about to launch my new company and website.
The bigger issue of a blogger being linked to certain companies and how this might possibly color his or her opinion, is an interesting one. Your story illustrates that the extent to which it might affect an author, is ultimately based on past experience and personal integrity. Fortunately, all of us can control our integrity. What we can’t control is the way others perceive us. We can try to influence that, but -as I always tell my 7-year old daughter- “different people do different things for different reasons”. To refer to one of my previous posts: some will see the number nine and others will insist that it’s a six. It’s all a matter of perspective.
I wish you and your family happy travels. So far, you’ve been a truly amazing tour guide in the voice over world. What I particularly appreciate is the fact that you don’t hesitate to go off the beaten track and show us things we’ve never seen before. May you enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation, and come back refreshed and ready to continuously surprise us!
man, you got wrong FIVE TIMES. P
-You will have to relocate to New York so you can work on this project.
-So the guy slaves for a year for no money.. relocates to New York to use your resources….
-but we aren’t moving to frikkin New York and slaving for 8 hours a day for a year for nothing.
-Come to think of it… how much does it take to live for a year without having a proper job or an income… in New York.
-Honestly… if I was an entrepreneur who had enough money to live in New York for a year and work for v123 for free…
Please correct your post. You’ve convinced people that moving to NY is a requirement–they are re posting this false information you started spreading–but that is not in fact what the original post says in fact.
Thanks For the Heads Up.
People I stand corrected. Voice123 don’t just want to take advantage of you in New York. They want to take advantage of you in Colombia as well as your home town (if you qualify).
I’ll go through my post and update it with this new and even more interesting information.
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