“CrowdVoicing” is the newly-coined term that Alex Torrenegra is using to describe “VoiceBunny” service, now in Beta release.
Yesterday’s blog about the official launch of VoiceBunny brought some reaction that beats a warning drum (see the comments section) .
No doubt Alex Torrenegra brings some history with him from customer experiences at Voice123.com. Concerns about V123 are familiar to those who follow the effects of so-called “Pay to Play” online sites. Many voice talent see such sites as market disruptors. I’m not passing judgement. I’m officially undeclared on the subject of VoiceBunny, V123, or Voices.com for that matter, although I may or may not be a subscriber to any of those services.
My decades-long training as a broadcast journalist defaults me to a neutral position, but I’m a closet sociologist and am fascinated with the changes new technologies and ideas bring to the marketplace.
On the other hand, as a working voice actor myself, I’m disappointed whenever those changes cut into my bottom line. Either way, I’m reserving judgement — pro or con — while I watch Alex Torrenegra’s latest innovation break on the scene.
To that end, I beseech you to read the answers to the questions I posed to Torrenegra as an impartial observer. Within 10 hours of my submitting them, Torrenegra had responded to flesh out more of the VoiceBunny picture. I’ll credit him for his helpful, well-composed answers.
That Q & A is posted below in its entirety, with no editing, deletions, or additions.
There is also a short YouTube video to accompany this coming-out of VoiceBunny, and a news release that is directed mostly at software developers. You’ll find all that below.
(ed. note 2-15-12 for more info, read an excellent blog article about this on Kyle McCarley’s Blog “VoiceBottom-Feeding”)
News Release 2-8-12
The founders of Voice123 have developed a “sister” voiceover website, VoiceBunny, currently in beta testing. We are excited about the official launch and wanted to give your readers a heads-up!
Voiceover artists will get something they may have wanted for a while…no auditioning. You do the work, so you get paid. How? Buyers (aka. clients) will pre-pay for the voiceover work so talents never have to worry about getting paid.
Is this for real? Yes. VoiceBunny is using a revolutionary API technology to attract buyers from all over the world and across many different industries requiring voices. VoiceBunny makes it easy to crowdsource voiceovers in minutes from a pool of 100,000 professionals. It’s “crowdvoicing”! Over 50+ languages are supported. Connecting to the VoiceBunny API turns blogs and news articles into podcasts automatically and in just minutes after it’s posted. There are many ways VoiceBunny can be used:
-Video editing apps will offer great voices to their clients
-Ads for online radio can be created while the client is buying the campaign
-Indie videogame developers can get affordable professional voices easily
-Apps can deliver custom content at low cost
-VoiceBunny’s potential is limitless.
VoiceBunny is a creation of husband and wife team,Alexander Torrenegra (experienced web solution provider), and Tania Zapata (aspiring voiceover artist). In the search for new opportunities, and tired of the traditional “wait for a call” agent relationship, Tania and Alex first created Voice123 in Queens, NY, back in 2003. It was the first successful online voice casting service. Without venture capital, it grew to over 100,000 talents and over 3 million auditions. Buyers and voice talent began working together through an audition process held on the Voice123 website.
Now with VoiceBunny, Alexander and Tania are trying to speed up the process of getting a great voice recording in just minutes by getting rid of the auditioning process through an API. VoiceBunny opens the door to a new land of voiceover opportunity that may be unfamiliar to some, yet is a valuable source of revenue for anyone working online.
Question & Answer with Dave Courvoisier
What perceived market need was not being answered by your very successful Voice123.com site, that led you to launch VoiceBunny?
VoiceBunny was created to address the need for the extremely fast turnaround buyers in the digital age are demanding. The demand for the amount of voiceovers has also increased tremendously with the invention of mobile apps, e-learning, etc. This means we have buyers who need a lot of voiceovers and need them very quickly. These buyers do not have time to post each project individually, wait for auditions to arrive, listen to them all, contact and hire the talent, have the talent invoice them, and pay them. VoiceBunny handles all that for the buyer and with our API, they can get this done amazingly fast. This also means talents can be more efficient than ever! There’s no auditioning; you do the work, you get paid within 72 hours and talents can do as many jobs per day as they want.
What is your target audience among voice talent that will best be served by VoiceBunny?
VoiceBunny is not meant to be used by the talent that wants to do a few recordings per day. It is meant to be used by the talent that wants to do it fulltime, recording dozens or hundreds of projects on a daily basis
What is your target audience among voice-seekers that will best be served by VoiceBunny?
We are targeting companies that need a lot of voiceovers quickly, i.e. blogcasting, translation services, language education apps, IVR, etc. These types of projects usually set a “price per word” budget.
Please explain in layman’s terms as best you can how the “API” works, and why this technology is so important to the design of VoiceBunny.
The API is the most innovative and exciting part about VoiceBunny. It allows tech-savvy people and companies to use our technology in conjunction with their existing technology. It is a way for different technologies to “talk” to each other. An example of how a person or company could use our API:
A language learning company in China needs hundreds of scripts voiced in English for their learning materials. They can use VoiceBunny’s API to automatically post projects for them every time they copy and paste a script into the code. The API basically serves as a template for them so they don’t have to manually fill out our web form every time they need a new script voiced. The possibilities are endless though and we are really looking forward to seeing how different companies will use our API.
You’re making the VoiceBunny API available to developers now. How much participation do you expect, and is this an affiliate relationship? Can anyone use the API?
We expect the majority of our buyers (voice seekers) to use the API. For a developer, it is much easier and faster. Those who wish to use the API need to contact us to get an “API token”. So, only people we approve can use our API.
Sign-up on the VoiceBunny site is fairly quick and easy, including a page that asks you to estimate the pay you’d like to get for 5 words, 50 words, 500 words, and 5000 words. Are those figures locked-in, or can a member change their parameters?
Talents can change these parameters anytime in their “Dashboard”.
The VB site claims both voice talent and voice seekers can name their own price. How does this model work?
Only talents that match ALL of the parameters of a buyer’s request will be notified of the project. These parameters include:
1). The “native” language requested,
2). The gender requested,
3). The “age” of voice requested,
4). The “rate” at which a talent is willing to accept the project.
Only those “rates” that fall within a specific range above and below the offered “reward” amount will be matched. If you set your rates too high, you will probably see very few projects come your way. On the other hand, if you set your rates too low (like trying to set them all to $0) you will also not see any projects. I firmly believe that over time, the rewards offered will satisfy the rates stated by the talents and vice versa. When this happens, the “market” will be in a very nice state of equilibrium.
Could you walk us through a typical scenario a voice talent might experience once he/she is registered on your site, and ready to receive work? What will they see on their dashboard when a client is contacting them? Will they receive an email notice? A phone call? What is their next step?
Buyers (clients) and talents do not have contact with each other directly. If a talent is logged into their dashboard, it automatically refreshes every 30 seconds to find projects that match their profile. Talents will also get an email notifying them that a new matching project has been posted. After a talent has read all the details of the project and determined that they match what the buyer is looking for, they click the “Accept Project” button. They then record, edit, and upload a finished product. The VoiceBunny entourage screens it to ensure the talent followed directions, matches the type of voice/read requested, and for quality. It is then sent to the buyer for their final approval. Once the buyer approves the read, the talent gets paid within 72 hours.
Explain the concept of crowdsourcing voices, or “crowdvoicing”, and how that benefits the voice talent.
Crowdsourcing (or crowdvoicing) attracts buyers because they have access to thousands of professional VO artists in one place. This benefits the talents because we attract buyers and help them make money!
Since you tout that VoiceBunny supports 50+ languages, how much global participation are you seeking?
We already have interest from companies in Japan, India, China, Australia and all over the world! We do intend on being a global marketplace, not just a U.S. marketplace.
The VB site seems to have tight integration (even validation) with various Social Media platforms. How does this utilization fit into your VoiceBunny design?
VoiceBunny requires talents to register and sign in with Facebook to verify their identity. This helps prevent users from impersonating other talents. Talents always have the option to remain anonymous when using VoiceBunny. We won’t share talent’s identity with others if they don’t want us to.
News of VoiceBunny emerged – along with a form of the website itself – many months ago. Can voice talent now be assured this is the real launch of the service?
Talents from the Voice123 database were invited to register so we could have talents ready for the beta release. So, talents have known about VoiceBunny for a while, buyers are just now being targeted and finding out about it for the first time. VoiceBunny is still in beta though, so expect updates and new features to be added periodically.
What new developments or features do you eventually plan to offer to VoiceBunny users?
Right now, in the beta release, the only option for buyers is to get one read back, trusting VoiceBunny to find the perfect talent for them. You can see on the homepage that we will eventually be offering buyers the opportunity to run a collaborative contest (allowing them to get several reads back and choosing a favorite) and the option to use a search to find a talent.