Fiverr Forum

Life of a Voice Over

Here we go again.

Commercial rights not purchased from a video animator - their client contacts me directly - I say I can’t talk about somebody elses order with them.

Now my buyer won’t pay for the commercial rights but still wants revisions.

Crazy. I hate contacting CS about stuff like this.

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Something that we have been doing these past couple of months is to mention the need for Commercial Rights in both our description and FAQs, and then add the following as a mandatory tickbox to our requirements;

It may seem silly, but we’ve found that people are WAY more likely to agree to purchase Commercial Usage since incorporating this. We essentially go back to them with a “your script is clearly for commercial usage, and you did tick the box saying you understood…” or “you’ve said that you haven’t read the relevant section - please now go ahead and do so, then add Commercial Usage to your order”.

So far, about 9 out of 10 people who have tried to cheat the system have then accepted adding Commercial Rights to their order. Could be worth a shot?

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Put it in the description towards the top within a heading "How to order…
#4 (ALL commercial scripts require a commercial licence).
Seems to work for me for now.

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Good advice already given, but what I’ve done, is to ask the question in my gig requirements. They have to answer yes or no to how they will use it. I will then verify when the order to make sure they are not trying to scam the system. Will there be those that will, sure, but you can do what you can to lessen that possibility.

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Thank you everybody.

I’m going to make these changes this weekend.

To be honest, I hate the commercial rights malarkey with voice overs. It also seems to me that a lot of voice over artists on Fiverr (no offence) don’t understand their target market very well.

Firstly, I can’t think of many cases where a buyer won’t need a commercial license. In this case, it seems a bit disingenuous (at least, to me) to not include a commercial license as standard with orders and build this into gig prices. Not doing this makes a lot of VO gigs look like bait and switch scams.

I know that this might sound insulting to the VO crowd. However, a lot of buyers on Fiverr don’t understand what licenses they need to order when they purchase a gig. A lot of buyers are resellers, they might not know how an end piece of work is going to be used by their end client. Moreover, most are not familiar with the differences between commercial licences and full broadcast rights, etc.

Most buyers just want to see a gig listed at one price and buy that gig knowing that is the full price they need to pay.

If I was a VO artist, I would build the price of a commercial license into my basic gig pricing. Then I’d create a separate package for a VO with full broadcast rights. This keeps things simple when buyers come to place an order.

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FAQs have saved my life in case of such issues. I’ve kept on and keep on revising my FAQs so when buyer comes up with something which is not in my control, I can show the screenshot of FAQ, that can save me in terms of delivery promise.

It’s a difficult one - not some people will genuinely have a need for personal use.

100% of the time it’s a whiteboard animator who buys a $5 voice and then requests a delivery stating ‘their client wants changes’…which is fine, but my relationship is with my customer, not theirs.

They’re breaching Fiverr TOS by forwarding my work without the order being marked as complete.

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Yes. So many problems could be avoided if buyers could not download work files before an order is marked as complete. That wouldn’t work for all gig niches. However, it would work for writing, VO, and video work. It would also speed up payments. Most of my buyers are regulars who never mark orders complete. This adds 2-days to payment clearing periods and is generally very annoying.

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100% agreed. :grinning:

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I’ve now made these changes on both my gig and order confirmation screen!

Thank you!

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I stopped requesting commercial rights for all my audio except in cases of radio and tv broadcast (which are rare to be honest). I just started including it in my base price, which I increased like 200%. Unfortunately this means that people purchasing my gigs for personal use are paying more than they would have, but god, it has saved me SO much back and forth with clients.

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We did that for a while - the only issue we found was that Fiverr were excluding us from searches. If we searched for VO sellers with Commercial Rights (either included or as an extra) we wouldn’t appear, as from the algorithms perspective, we neither included Commercial Rights, nor offered them as an extra. We reverted back to the old method of offering them as an extra and found we were back in the search results again.

I also absolutely agree with the comments around how the whole ‘commercial usage thing’ can feel misleading to buyers… I hate to admit that we take a bit of a “if you can’t beat em join em” attitude towards it.

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For what it’s worth, I received this back from CS:

“The buyer has the right to forward the work that they have received to another party, like maybe to another buyer that hired them, in order for them to review it to see if there are any changes that are necessary to be made. As long as the buyer is not actively using the order we won’t be able to stop them from doing this.”

I’ve obviously pushed back and said they have zero rights to do this and highlighted in their TOS where it says so.

“For Voice Over Gigs, when the work is delivered, and subject to payment, the Buyer is purchasing basic rights, (which means the Buyer is paying a one time fee allowing them to use the work forever and for any purpose except for commercials, radio, television and internet commercial spots)”.

The key bit here is ‘subject to payment’, which in this case has not happened.

I’ve also highlighted other case numbers where Fiverr has sided with me.

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I’ve tried raising my prices, and fiddling around with everything. In the competitive VO world (unless you have over 1000 reviews) keeping the gig at $5 base is the only thing that works.
These $5 gigs keep the ball rolling. Keep the commercial rights to $10-$15 dollars and it won’t be a problem. I promised myself I would not offer $5 gigs again, but apparently the base price and word count was the sweat spot.

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That’s what my prices are

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A few examples where commercial and/or broadcast rights would not be necessary:

internal marketing materials (corporate explainer vids are a big chunk of my business)
presentation materials (intro videos, guided tours, video demos, etc)
employee training videos
voice mail recordings
live show intros and outros (awards shows and other corporate events)
college projects
churches, charities, and other non profit projects
personal private events (birthdays, weddings, etc)

I agree that there aren’t many instances where a business or corporate client wouldn’t need commercial rights, but as you can see above, those do exist, and can be a substantial part of one’s income.

I also agree that most people don’t seem to understand the commercial/broadcast thing, and as such, I’m always willing to talk with them about it. If you explain it clearly, it doesn’t usually take very long to see eye to eye, because again - most projects will pretty clearly fall in one category or the other (commercial or non).

What I am not willing to do is pretend like it doesn’t matter, or isn’t important, just because it makes some potential clients uncomfortable, initially. If you’re using my work to promote your business or product for profit, then the price you pay needs to reflect that, and that’s what commercial use is all about.

I’ve thought about doing the multiple gig thing where I have one for commercial, one for non, maybe one for broadcast, and then everything is just baked in, but several potential problems arise there:

  1. People who don’t understand the difference will just choose the cheaper option, and then I’ve no choice but to cancel the order, as there’s no way to justifiably add commercial rights.

  2. Cheap people will choose the cheaper gig (even if they do understand the difference) and just hope I do the work anyway. I’m sure that’s happened to all of us, and again - I’m out of options at that point.

  3. As was pointed out in a previous post, it can affect your search ranking. (What doesn’t anymore, yeah?)

It’s been my experience that most clients are fine with paying for rights (even if it’s after the order has been placed) as long as the need for them has been explained properly.

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What you could do if you don’t want the whiteboard creator to let their client see the whiteboard video with your voice over until they’ve completed your order is it to put that in the gig description of the whiteboard voice over gig, saying they can’t deliver work containing your voice over until they’ve completed your order. That way the buyer will know before ordering your gig. Or maybe make the whiteboard voice over gig only for studio gigs when you can use that option (where the end client would be able to see the work with the voice over and be able to ask for revisions to the voice over too).

It is interesting, though, how VO artists get supported in this respect, whereas other creative freelancers don’t. Writers and graphic designers don’t get an option to charge for commercial use. We just get told that rights transfer automatically as per TOS.

This is why when I see threads like this, my first thought is why aren’t VO artists just building commercial licenses into their pricing?

All your examples of why a commercial license might not be necessary are fine. However, it needs to be remembered that a lot (if not the majority) of buyers on Fiverr are resellers selling work on to end clients for a higher markup, That would still count as a commercial use of a VO.

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That’s interesting, I had no idea. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t at least have the option. Weird…

The end use is what’s important, not necessarily who hired you, although I can see how that can get confusing. (And I’d say about half of my clients here are ‘resellers’ in that respect)

If a videographer hires me to do the VO for a couple’s wedding memories video tribute thing, then that is not commercial use, as the end use is not in promotion of a business, service, or product. However, if that same videographer hires me to do VO for his (or his agency’s) professional commercial reel, which he/she is going to use to promote themselves and their services, then it does apply.

Worth mentioning too, that there are times where I’ll let it slide (or adjust prices) if I feel like we’re in a grey enough area, or that I’d rather make a solid contact in the future instead of making the most money upfront from a single gig. As with everything in life, it’s never always black or white.

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