A few months back I awoke on a Saturday morning and began with my usual Saturday morning routine, I grab my phone and check my email before I even get out of bed…I do that every morning, early bird and worms and what not… On this particular weekend morning I got an email that really made my ears perk up because of who it was from… Mr. VoiceBunny. I thought, OK that’s an odd enough name, now I have to read it.
In a nut shell it said that the People of Voice123.com, of which I am a subscriber, are starting a new Voice Over website called VoiceBunny.com. It’s a new type of Voice Over site, because there is no subscription fee, or “pay to play” and the jobs come to you without the need to audition! And since I was “one of the very best on Voice123.com” they wanted to give me the opportunity to be a part of their BETA test.
I thought WOW! me? They want me to help beta test this new site? That is AWESOME! And it is, and I am honored to be among the first of the ranks to give this site a go. (Those ranks have since swollen to…well… a bunch, as they appear to be adding more talent all the time.) So, I thought why not? NO AUDITIONING FOR WORK? IT JUST COMES TO ME? HELL YEAH!!! So I agreed, signed up and started to consider the possibilities and work the system. What follows are the things I have gleaned so far. The good and the bad.
How Voice Bunny Works:
Voice Seekers Perspective:
VoiceBunny.com is a “CrowdVoicing” website. What this means is a voice seeker enters their project through the voice seeker portal…script, language, age, gender, budget, etc….and can choose whether to send it down the rabbit hole and out into the world of talent that match the criteria for that project, (The talent decides their criteria. I’ll get to that in a minute), or run a “Collaborative Contest”, or even search their database of voices. The latter two as of right now are not functioning. The Voice Seeker then sits back and waits to be notified that their audio is ready for approval. If they like the audio they approve it, download it and the talent gets paid. If they don’t like it, they reject it and back down the rabbit hole it goes for another talent to record. This process continues until the seeker gets what they want or decides to cancel the project.
Voice Talent Perspective:
When you sign up, you are asked “a couple of questions” so that you can set your own criteria…Age range, gender and language. You are also asked about your speed and budget. Your speed runs from how fast you can professionally turn around a 5 thousand word project all the way down to a 5 word project. Your budget is what you would charge as a minimum for each. Once you fill that out, you go to your dashboard and wait for the projects to come in.
In theory, as long as you were honest about your criteria, all of the projects that show up on your dashboard are right for you with few exceptions. When you see one come in you click to accept it, complete it, send it off and get paid. But, and you knew there would be one, you have to be quick like a bunny and take the job fast, because it isn’t just your dashboard the project shows up on, but ALL of the talent that meet the project criteria.
So How’s it going so far?:
Well lets start with the pros:
For The Voice Seeker:
You get your project done crazy fast.
You don’t have to audition dozens or even hundreds of voices to get one you like.
You have access to a Global network of voices…need an Argentinian accented voice? What about a Swedish accent speaking Japaneese?…you get my point
You get to set your budget, and if you don’t know what the budget should be, VoiceBunny.com will suggest a rate…here is a quote from a Facebook conversation ““suggested rate” is actually a pretty sophisticated calculation that takes many factors into account, but is just that, a suggestion. It’s just a tool for buyers to use. VoiceBunny never sets prices or “charges”. Buyers always decide for themselves what they are willing to pay & talents decide what rates they set.””
In theory better talent charges more than “less experienced talent”.
The VoiceBunny.com quality control ninjas also make sure that you get audio that is usable and in accordance with your project specifications.
Pros for the Voicers:
NO AUDITIONS! (sort of) there is still the possibility that you are not what the seeker is looking for and they reject you but that’s just the nature of the biz. (and the VoiceBunny.com Ninjas make sure that there is a valid reason for rejection and not just a whim)
Exposure to a wide variety of projects. I have seen everything from Blog posts to IVR, commercials and corporate narrations.
You set your rates! Don’t want to do a 5000 word book for $12? Set your rates accordingly!
Get paid FAST. Using your paypal you get your money usually within 48 hours..CHA CHING!
And now for the Cons:
Cons for the Voice Seeker:
There aren’t really a whole lot for the seeker. This business model seems to really be geared toward getting businesses to consider using Voices in many more ways than before. So the only Con for seekers from what I can see, is the fact that you don’t really get to fine tune your search for “just the right talent”. You will get a good one because of the quality control ninjas, but there is no guarantee that it is the perfect one. All that of course will change when the collaborative contest and browsing capabilities become active.
Cons for the Voice Talent:
These are a little more numerous. Some of them, because the site is still in BETA and some of them because, well…business
First come First Served.
You have got to be QUICK to get these jobs. When I first started BETA testing with VoiceBunny.com the dashboard refreshed every 30 seconds, which means that if your dashboard refreshed 1 second before a project was posted, you would not get to see it for another 29 seconds and there is a VERY good chance someone has already snagged it. You can sign up for email alerts, but if an auto refresh of 30 seconds is too slow…by the time you get the email you might as well forget about it. The dashboard has since been revamped to refresh every 15 seconds, but unless you are doing nothing else but checking the dashboard every 15 seconds, it’s just a matter of luck as to whether or not you see an available gig and accept it.
A Lot of Voice Talent, Not a lot of work…
Chalk this con up to BETA…ish. There are a lot of voice talent on VoiceBunny.com because it is not a pay to play and is now open to anyone. In theory quality control will weed out the bad submissions, but I honestly don’t know their criteria for rejection. The site is still very new by comparison so the number of jobs are few but growing. This makes the competition seriously stiff, which is why the first come first served aspect is a con. However the more work that becomes available the more voices there will be attracted to the site, so I don’t see the ratio getting that much better.
No Client Interaction
As any professional full-time Voice Over Talent knows, repeat business is your bread and butter. The way VoiceBunny is structured, never the twain shall meet. This means, in short, your likelihood of return business and growing that into a long-term client is next to nil.
pricing Structure: Price Per Word
This one has gotten a lot of emotion from all of the people I have talked to about it; and the division seems to cut right down the middle between Voice Seeker and Voice Over Talent. VoiceBunny.com has chosen to break the pricing structure down to Price Per Word or PPW. When I asked them about why PPW they said “The price per word is based on the info that talents put in when they register. PPW seems to be simplest way to give buyers an idea of what VB talents’ rates are.” While this makes sense for the voice seeker, it doesn’t take into account the difficulty of certain projects, like medical or technical topics, for the voice over talent. This pricing model walks a very thin line and may have the potential to devalue the Voice Over product as a whole by literally nickel and dimeing.
OVER ALL PERCEPTION:
VoiceBunny.com, can best be described as a waiter in a high volume but low dollar cafe. They take a tip(their commission is 20%) off of a bunch of tables (projects). While they still seem to care about quality to a certain extent, their focus as a business appears to be on volume and the philosophy that more lower paying gigs are better than few higher paying ones. Though I am sure they would welcome more high dollar projects.
For the Voice Seeker it is awesome. They get to decide how much they want to spend and get a pretty decent product in return. If you want steak and lobster and are ok with the bus boy cooking it, it will be cheaper than having the executive chef prepare your meal. Conversely if you want the best scrambled eggs of your life, you can have “Wolfgang Puck” prepare them for you, if you are willing to pay.
For the Voice Talent, it’s really still too soon to tell. I have set my rates high and saw very little work come across my dashboard, and I have set my rates low(as you can see in the above screen shot) and been aghast at the amount of copy someone is requesting for 7 bucks (minus 20%). But I remain hopeful that it will have evened out when the BETA test is over.
I like the concept of VoiceBunny.com, anything that can help show businesses the value of voice overs is a plus in my book. The people I have dealt with there have been really cool and helpful. And from a Business perspective I think this is a brilliant model. CEO Alexander Torrenegra is a genius business man and technology developer. He is a glowing example of global entrepreneurship, and his devotion to challenging the norms, especially in the Voice Over business, should be applauded.
With this BETA test, the Voicebunny.com model could open up a lot of businesses eyes to the value of using Voice Overs in many more ways than they ever thought of, but it could also dangerously devalue the voice over profession as a whole, by showing those same businesses that they can get projects done for less than pennies on the dollar.
Time, as the say, will tell. But until then, I say VoiceBunny.com is still BETA than a lot of other sites…
Comments? Please share them, I would LOVE to hear what you have to say! and Go ahead and Share this with all your VO peeps on Facebook and Twitter…I’ll be your best friend…