Mini Review of the Voices.com SurePay system

Just got my first SurePay gig at Voices.com. While the whole transaction isn’t complete yet, I’m going to give a partial review of the system and then update once the whole thing is done.

How it works

  1. You submit one of many auditions
  2. You get an email from the client saying you’ve been hired
  3. take a few minutes to do the happy dance because out of hundreds of auditions, you were the right voice for the job
  4. Go the the Jobs tab at Voices.com
  5. Accept or reject the offer
  6. wait for another mail saying that the client has deposited the money into the Voices.com escrow account
  7. Record the gig and upload it through Voices.com
  8. Wait for the client to accept it
  9. Get paid, baby

My Experiences

I have to say that the system is very easy to use. You are given email steps the entire way with mostly clear directions. I did get on the on-line chat once with voices.com and spoke to a very nice person named Lin who dictated what the next step was. Then I looked in my mail and saw an email detailing exactly what she had said. If I had just read that, I wouldn’t have needed the chat.

An interesting part of the offer the client makes details the number of edits you will include in the project. For mine, this was 3. I doubt that many will be needed, but I’m OK with it if it does. If for some reason, you want to change your original bid, you can make a counter offer and wait for it to be accepted or rejected. All haggling seems to be done via the Voices.com SurePay system.

One of the things I didn’t like was that the client either didn’t include the final script or SurePay doesn’t display it. And there’s no mechanism to send a message to the client asking for it. At least not that I could see. So I had to go all the way back to the answered audition and pull the script there. And I had no indication if this was even the final script. So if the client doesn’t include their phone number, you have no way of getting clarification.

However, the lines of communication are not completely dark in the process. Every time you make an offer or accept or reject or upload, you can leave a comment. This is added to the list of comments prior so that you have a veritable message board of comments back and forth. While this is very handy, there’s something very impersonal about the whole thing. I prefer the freedom of email exchange or even a phone call to iron things out. I would suggest to Voices.com that they expand the messaging a little to give more breathing room for making the personal connections that are important in this business.

There’s a bit of confusion and I hope Stephanie will comment on this, but in the original blog post announcing the SurePay system there is supposed to be a “Done uploading” button to indicate that you have completed the recording and want approval. This button doesn’t seem to exist and while I’ve uploaded my files, the status of the job is “upload another”. Thankfully, I got an email saying the client has been notified of my upload, but I’m a little concerned that something is amiss.

So aside from a few small usability issues, I’m very satisfied with the SurePay system. I no longer need to worry about getting paid upfront. I know I’m going to get paid. I don’t record until the client puts money in Escrow and if they decided to run off with out “accepting” my recording, then I get paid anyway. This also gives assurances to the client that they’ll get a recording and not get stiffed by me. It’s a win-win situation for all, despite a few minor quibbles.

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About Jeffrey Kafer

I am a Seattle-based voice over artist specializing in audiobooks, but also working in corporate narration and commercials. You can find me at http://audiobook-voice-over.com View all posts by Jeffrey Kafer

6 responses to “Mini Review of the Voices.com SurePay system

  • Laurynda Pasma

    Thank you Jeffery for submitting this review of SurePay.

    As the Product Development Manager I’d like to personally thank you for pointing out some usability issues you encountered with the system. It is one of my responsibilities to review the usability of our site and services and to propose solutions for making everything run smoother.

    First, I’d just like to comment on the lack of script available to you for this posting. When a client makes their offer they do have the ability to upload one or several documents. These files are available to you to download before you click “I Accept”. Once you accept the offer the files are no longer present. We’d hope that all talent receiving a Job Offer via SurePay are downloading and reviewing the script before accepting. If you find no final script attached you can certainly revisit your audition submission in the Answered Leads or contact Customer Care at Voices.com for a copy.

    If the client phone number is missing you’re also more than welcome to contact Voices.com Customer Care and we can get you the client contact information needed to clarify your next step.

    I also like your suggestion of a “Upload Done” button for talent to notify when all files have been uploaded. Right now the system will recognize each and every file uploaded and the client is sent an email confirmation. I’ll be sure to add it to our list of feature requests.

    As a side note, the SurePay system is monitored daily and we personally follow up with participants who have not advanced to the next step.

    Congratulations on your first SurePay transaction and best wishes for many more!

    Laurynda Pasma
    Product Development Manager
    Voices.com

  • Jeffrey Kafer

    Thanks for commenting Laurynda.

    1) I don’t know why the system would get rid of the script attachments once I accept the offer. They should be avaialbel to me at all times. In my case, I knew the gig and therefore didn’t download the script beforehand. Nuking the script once the offeris accepted seems counter-intuitive.
    2) The “I’m Done Uploading” button is not a feature a request. It’s a feature that was supposedly implemented when SurePay launched. From http://blogs.voices.com/voxdaily/2007/04/spring_07_release_surepay.html

    “You can upload a single file, or continue to upload multiple files if need be. When you’re done uploading the entire project, just click “I’m Done Uploading”.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  • Shirley

    Hi Jeffrey,

    I signed up for voices. But I guess I can’t try it if my status is a free member right?

    Thanks,
    http://odchoi.wordpress.com

  • Jeffrey Kafer

    Hi Shirley, thanks for stopping by.

    My understanding is that you can use the SurePay system as a free member if you land a job. The hard part is that since you aren’t a paying member, you can’t audition. So the only way is if someone saw your voices.com profile and decided to hire you. Given the sheer volume of people on the site, that’s a pretty remote possibility.

  • Laurynda Pasma

    Well said Jeff. Guest members can still be paid via the end up being contacted for work.SurePay system if sent what’s called a Private Job offer. All members have a “Request Quote” button on their profile pages. This allows a client to submit a private job for you via Voices.com for you to respond to. Guest members are able to respond to private auditions.

    Guest members have a better opportunity of being contacted by a client if their profile pages are well developed and they have multiple demos uploaded and tagged. Remember, as a Guest member you’ll only be found in our Talent Search Engine and this is based on the content of your profile. If you offer something unique make sure it’s stated in your profile. Guest members who have something unique to offer will often times

    As for the two issues you pointed out I’ll be sure to pass them along to the correct people here at Voices.com.

    To continued success!

    Laurynda Pasma
    Product Development Manager
    Voices.com

  • Stephanie Ciccarelli

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Thank you for conducting a mini review of SurePay. Well done and I’m glad you enjoyed the process!

    With regard to the two points you raised, those have been identified and are on a list to be taken care of in priority sequence. Your continued support and patience is appreciated.

    If you have additional suggestions please contact Laurynda and she will be able to work with your ideas.

    Thank you,

    Stephanie

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