The following is a conversation via email I had with employees of The Voice Realm. This correspondence is posted here with their permission on the condition that I include a hyperlink of one of their domains. www.thevoicerealm.com.
Tom: I hope you’re well. I just read the article concerning “Cheap Voice Talent Online”. The branding of my services as “cheap” as well as a $55 rate does not align with my business model. With that in mind, please delete my profile from www.cheapvoicetalentonline.com and www.thevoicerealm.com. I would appreciate if you do it as soon as possible. Please reply acknowledging that you have received this message and when you will delete my profiles.
TVR: We own around 100 domains. It is the same website across all domains. This captures clients who type many thousands of keywords and brings them to our site, where they pay the same rates, rather than them going to sites like Fiverr and paying $5. The fact is clients and customers do search the word ‘cheap’. Having that domain takes us to the top of Google. The word ‘cheap’ never appears on the site. We’ve surveyed clients and others about this and they don’t care. They just want to hire a professional voice. We don’t use last names, so the likelihood of any of your other clients finding you on that domain are almost 0%. If you have a CASTING MODE account your profile wouldn’t even appear on any sites. That is $125 plus 15% admin fee per year. You just get sent auditions to your email and you log in to upload them. If you have a PREMIUM ACCOUNT then your profile would appear across all site. That is an additional $99. So if you go for the base tier (Casting Mode) you wouldn’t have to worry. But having a PREMIUM ACCOUNT, you will show on the site and clients can book you from your demos and Private Audition you, so more chances to book jobs. It just depends on what you want. What you hear about cheapvoicetalentonline.com is just voice actors wanting to make a fuss. It’s funny because we monitor all the forums and facebook pages and almost all the talent that kicked up a stink are still on the website. I think there’s actually 1 talent who left the site because of it, and he had a regular ongoing client that booked him for about $400 per week. I guess he thought the client would then contact him offsite and keep using him, but the client just recast the voice through our site and kept working through us with another voice. Again proof that clients don’t think about it that much or give it a second thought. It’s the only talent who want to complain about anything and everything, and in the end, they miss out on work. Client’s don’t care about the site, and actually don’t even give it a second thought. It’s just a marketing way for us to bring new clients and more jobs to talent. We’ve actually had $4000 national TV commercials and $5,000 e-learning jobs booked through that domain. So really it’s a storm in a teacup. But that domain is actually going to be a totally different site in a few months, and the only talent who want to be listed there will be. But for now, it’s as explained above. Hope that helps clear things up!
Tom: Thanks for your quick replies. Unfortunately, your responses only affirm my concerns. Paying any voice talent $55 for a project even once is not a practice I want my business to be associated with. Marketing is about relationships and perception. The promise of relative anonymity in response to my concerns is not comforting; rather it’s a bit distressing.
Using the term “cheap” as part of your marketing efforts, whether it’s for SEO purposes or otherwise, does not sit well with me. To be frank, I don’t care if the clients don’t care. I do.
In addition, attempting to communicate the virtues of your domains by recommending I spend money to upgrade my membership when I have never gotten a gig from The Voice Realm in four years is not an advisable tactic.
Finally, making disparaging comments about my colleagues demonstrates a lack of loyalty to those who are not present. Confessing the sins of others, especially those who provide you with a considerable amount of revenue, gives me serious pause.
With that in mind, I still would like my profile to be removed from all of your domains at your earliest convenience.
TVR: I think you’ll be actually surprised about how many successful VoiceOver actors use this message. Case in point below. It would be great if you can share this with your colleagues. This is a Facebook post that we came across.
(I posted the photo on the Voice-Over Pros Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/voiceoverpros/)
TVR: Thanks for sharing the photo. But once again the commenters are totally missing the point. The word is used because the fact is people search the term in google. He has used the word, just as we do, so that google brings the results to the top of searches. Once again, the word ‘cheap’ is never mentioned anywhere on our website. It is a domain that REDIRECTS to the voice realm main site. People still don’t get it. It’s unbelievable. It’s actually embarrassing that people don’t understand how SEO and linking works. Yet they will comment as if they know everything.
Tom: You’re welcome. Here’s the thing; any voice seeker who uses the search term “cheap” is someone that I don’t want anything to do with. Thank you for the discourse but I think we’ve said everything that needs to be said. This is the third time I’m requesting that my profile be deleted. Please do it immediately.
TVR: But ‘cheap’ is subjective. Someone might type that in expecting to spend $50. But then come to our site and realize that they need to spend $200 to get quality. This is EXACTLY what happens. And proof that our marketing is working as we book more and more jobs each week. Your profile is now deleted. And thanks to all the exposure we’ve received due to this we’ve had an influx of new talent wanting to join the website. So it’s worked EXACTLY as we wanted.
Tom: May I have your permission to use our correspondence in my blog?
TVR: Permission is only granted for this private email exchange if there is a hyperlink to one of our websites.
Tom: I will be sure to include that, thank you.
TVR: Also please note that this “cheap” domain has delivered over $2.5 million dollars of jobs to our talent over the past 5 years. Remember clients pay the same rates because it simply forwards to the main site and they never see the word ‘cheap.’ We can track exactly where clients come from. You can include that as well.
TIP OF THE WEEK
I encourage you to examine your current business model and draw your own conclusions.
NEWS AND NOTES
A huge thank you to Tom Filogomo and The West Connecticut Voice Over Meetup Group for asking me to speak! Here’s a photo of Tom and some of the wonderful attendees:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
From my village to yours; this is Tom Dheere, GKN News…
Tom Dheere is a 20-year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a coach at Edge Studio, voiceover business consultant known as the Voice Over Strategist, and is currently writing & producing the comic book “Agent 1.22”.