• Report: #1094966

Complaint Review: CastingWords

  • Submitted: Sun, October 27, 2013
  • Updated: Sun, October 27, 2013

  • Reported By: CaptainSaveAConsumer — Fort Lauderdale Florida
CastingWords
815 1st Ave #186 Seattle, Washington USA

CastingWords Turkers Castingwords Castingwords Workers http://turkers.castingwords.comhttps://workers.castingwo rip-off, liar, steal, dishonest, bait and switch, false promises, false bonuses Seattle Washington

*Consumer Comment: Screenshots of fair pay

*Author of original report: You Expect us to believe

*Consumer Comment: Screenshots incidiate low work quality

*Author of original report: THE BOTTOM LINE

*Author of original report: Screen Shot Proof Castingwords Lied

*Author of original report: Screen Shot Proof Castingwords Lied

*Author of original report: Convoluted Response

*Consumer Comment: Complaint is full of errors.

*Author of original report: Castingwords .. Vindictive

*Author of original report: Mike Richard

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  Castingwords is a transcription service that posts some micro-jobs online.  They post the job at a very low pay rate, literally $1.00 or so for 11-30 minutes of transcription that can take an hour or two to do.  They promise bonuses based on how well you do.  Very quickly I discovered they were a scam.  I would miss one word, which they noted for me, and they cut my little conus that was supposed to be $3.00 in half.  There was a trend. I got better and better, but my bonus was never more than half what was promised, and often a lot less.  I went to their site and browsed their prices.  I quickly realized they cannot afford to pay people what they promise and make any money.  They charge $1 a minute per transcript. If you pay the transcriptor $4-$5 then an editor $4-$5, for an 11 minute recording, they make almost nothing.  So the bonuses they "promise" are unrealistic.  

   They are a total rip-off any way you cut it.  Finally, it gets worse, I send them an e-mail saying I don't want to work for them anymore.  I told them I don't believe their being honest about pay, etc.  So they send me an e-mail saying my info is deleted.  I go to check and it's all still there.  Then, I start getting notices from the micro job site I work for that they're now completely rejecting the other couple of jobs I have pending.  So now I get zero.  Nice.  Don't buy or work for these dishonest people.!! 


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/27/2013 03:19 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/CastingWords/Seattle-Washington-98104/CastingWords-Turkers-Castingwords-Castingwords-Workers-httpturkerscastingwordscomhtt-1094966. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Screenshots of fair pay

AUTHOR: Paul Tenny - ()

I'm a transcriber and have been on and off since 2007. Here are some screenshots of my own work for CastingWords which show what's possible to earn through this company if you submit high quality work.

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#2 Author of original report

You Expect us to believe

AUTHOR: CaptainSaveAConsumer - ()

That with a response like that, that you're just a worker for Castingwords? Come On ! You're a straight up empoyee, not just a Turk worker. I thought I was speaking to Castingwords sirectly but they continue to hide through tons of bland/boring mumbo jumbo. The complaint is very simple. The evidence is very simple. Nobody is buying it. I'm done here. You guys will NEVER be honest. I rest my case!

 

Look up the definition of 

Self-deception

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#3 Consumer Comment

Screenshots incidiate low work quality

AUTHOR: Paul Tenny - ()

There is no proof in your screenshots that CastingWords lied about anything. What those screenshots do is show that you produced mixed quality work for CastingWords and were paid accordingly. Decent work got you an 8, which is just one step below flawless and the second highest possible bonus. That's pretty great for a new transcriber and something to be proud of, not upset at. But some of it was low quality and got some of the lowest bonuses before outright rejection kicks in.

One single error is enough to drop a transcript from "grade 9" to "grade 8" and CastingWords is clear about that in its published guidelines. Did you read them? This is in their grading guidelines which is linked from every single job that CW posts:

"Grade 9. Excellent transcript that needs no editing (or very little). It's readable, follows the CW style guide, and is true to the audio while not being verbatim (unless requested by the customer.)"

Generally speaking the only "errors" you can make and still get a "Grade 9" are comma placement and possibly paragraphs that are too long (but they hate that too). You can't spell anything wrong, your transcript needs perfect grammar, etc. Otherwise you'll get this:

"Grade 8. Needs editing - but not too much. The transcript is true to the audio, but may have some minor typos or have long sentences or paragraphs that need splitting up. What needs to be edited is obvious to the editor."

Or this:

"Grade 7. Needs a fair amount of editing (missing words, occasional mistranscription, and/or numerous spelling errors, etc). It is mostly true to the audio. A 7 might also have extensive formatting issues. The editor will have to review this transcript carefully but not have to change something in every sentence."

"Grade 6. Needs substantial editing, may need sections retranscribed. We will have to send it out to be edited an extra time before doing the final edit. Usually means transcript has many missing or mistranscribed words. Most sentences will need work done on them. Some missing sections might not be marked with an [xx]."

Looking at your first screenshot, the feedback says "There's all kinds should be There're all kinds" and they gave you a "Grade 8". That's spot on. You made an error and transcribers don't get the largest possible bonus for a transcript with an error: "9. Excellent transcript that needs no editing".

Yours needed editing.

Looking at the second screenshot, the feedback lists at least three errors with the third error being generic that can cover multiple other errors. What you need to do (had you not burned your bridge with CastingWords that is) is wait for the final edit of the transcript to be posted to see what the editors changed, to see what *all* of your errors were. The feedback text is a note, it's not a critique, and it often only contains one or two of your errors but never all of them unless there were only one or two.

You made two inexcusable errors in that transcript. This is in the style guide about ellipsis:

"Use an ellipsis (...) to mark a break, such as a speaker breaking off mid-sentence or the audio ending in the middle of someone’s sentence. Do not add spaces before or after an ellipsis, except when it comes right after a speaker label."

You had spaces when the guide clearly says not to. That's understandable for a new transcriber and CW says as much in their grading guidelines that it's normal for new transcribers to make obvious errors while they learn the rules. But they aren't going to hand out top paying bonuses to people making errors just because they are new.

This is also in the style guide under the "Word list" which contains lots of words spelled the way that CW wants them spelled, regardless of what you think is right or acceptable:

"OK (always all caps)"

For as many errors as you made (at least three with two of them being serious), a "Grade 6" was appropriate for that transcript. CastingWords didn't lie to you or cheat you, they did exactly what they say they'll do in the published guidelines.

That goes for all the other screenshots showing that you made errors in all of those transcripts. Transcripts with only one error (two at most) got the second highest bonus. Transcripts with lots of errors got barely any. That's why the bonus exists, to keep CastingWords from having to pay high prices for poor quality work, but also to reward very high quality work with good pay.

It can't be repeated enough, it is not the fault of CastingWords that some people do poor work for them. It's not really your fault either. It takes time to completely memorize the style guide and then time to build up a record of quality work that unlocks the higher paying jobs.

You shouldn't have given up so quickly. It wouldn't have taken much time to turn your poor experience into a good one. Just about all of your errors that I can see are situations covered in the style guide, which means it was a matter of spending enough time to learn all of the rules and apply them.

People who do that have good results. I've made over $400 from CastingWords this month and that's in just over 37 hours of work. They've never cheated me or lied to me, or been rude to me. I made crap money from them in 2012 when I was still mastering the rules, like $4-6/hr, but this year it's closer to $11+ because I just don't make mistakes anymore. Some people got there faster than I did, and some people decide it's not worth the effort.

That's out of the hands of CastingWords.

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#4 Author of original report

THE BOTTOM LINE

AUTHOR: CaptainSaveAConsumer - ()

The point is that you lure people to work for you and a huge part of your marketing campaign for workers is this bonus plan. Then you simply dismiss it by saying it's not guaranteed. If people have to work up to those bonuses, don't mislead them. It's wrong. Your workers are unhappy. Instead of trying to make your workers happy, you block them and bush them off. You have TERRIBLE explanations of why you cut bonuses so drastically. The attitude of people answering workers e-mails is atrocious. you just don't care. You figure you'll repace them with the next person you intend to scam. It needs to stop. Now people know. That's all I wanted. I'm a single mother trying to make my way in this world and I only ever wanted what was fair. I never wanted something for nothing.

Thanks for reading this.

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#5 Author of original report

Screen Shot Proof Castingwords Lied

AUTHOR: CaptainSaveAConsumer - ()

Here's the screenshot proof they lie.

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#6 Author of original report

Screen Shot Proof Castingwords Lied

AUTHOR: CaptainSaveAConsumer - ()

Read her response. She pointed out that my report is full of "errors". Well, that's how Castingwords scams their workers, so why should I think it would be any different here. I am providing screen shot evidence of my grades. See how in each of these three examples, my bonus was slashed by half or more than what was promised by a single error. The error(s) I would have made are in the editor's notes of course.

 

 

Castingwords - BUSTED !

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#7 Author of original report

Convoluted Response

AUTHOR: CaptainSaveAConsumer - ()

This response is convoluted and exactly what I expected from this company. I have PROOF that the ONLY note an editor made was that I missed Ok. You cut my bonus in half. It's very simple. Now, you say bonuses are not promised? That's not how the work is presented to the worker. 

Your poor quality audio absolutely takes longer to transcribe. I've browsed the mturk forums and there's nothing there but complaints like "Do their editors want you to fail?" I didn't write that. I'm not the only one who feels this way. Also, you don't have 3 worker plans. so how can you possibly pay people the same when you're being paid three different ways? By offering bonuses that you don't pay. I'm not idiot. I'm an editor on Clickworker. I've fond you out. 

If anyone has some transcript grades from Castingwords where they've slashed your bonus for one or two mistakes, please post them here. I'm going over to Mturk forum to have people take some screen shots. I'm so glad you responded and lied. You're really going to be exposed now.

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#8 Consumer Comment

Complaint is full of errors.

AUTHOR: Paul Tenny - ()

This report is full of errors.

First, it claims that CastingWords pays $1.00 for "11-30 minutes of transcription that can take an hour or two to do." That's inaccurate. CastingWords charges its customers three different rates depending on how quickly they want their audio transcribed, and has three matching categories of pay for transcribers who do that work. Customers pay $1.00 per minute of audio for the "budget" plan, and CastingWords pays transcribers between 10 cents per minute and 17 cents per minute as a "base rate". From there a transcriber can receive a bonus depending on the quality of their transcript which will increase the pay-per-minute number.

Besides the "budget" plan which has no guaranteed turnaround time, CastingWords customers can choose the "Express" plan which costs them $1.50/minute and pays transcribers anywhere from 19 cents (base rate for a very poor quality transcript) to 30 cents per minute (largest bonus for a perfect transcript), and must be delivered within six days. They can also pick a "Expedited" plan which has a 24-hour turnaround time. That one costs $2.50/minute for customers and pays $1.00/minute to transcribers with no possible bonus.

How much a person can earn from a particular bit of audio depends on how long the audio clip is, which plan the owner of that audio chose, how fast the transcriber can type and how good they are at producing transcripts with few or no errors. A slow person producing low quality transcripts will of course earn very little money from CastingWords and any other business. A very fast transcriber producing high quality transcripts can earn pretty good money. A lot of people will fall somewhere in between.

A person who delivers a transcript of such horrible quality that it's one step from being rejected as unusable could potentially earn as little as $1.10 from transcribing an 11 minute chunk of audio that came from the "budget" plan, but that is the absolute least they can earn. A literally flawless transcript under "budget" could pay as much as $5.50 total because of the bonus. If the customer used the "Express" plan, the most a transcriber can earn from an 11 minute audio clip is about $9.90. A perfect transcript for a 21-minute clip in the "Express" category can pay as much as $18.90.

How that translates into hourly pay depends on how fast and how accurately you can type over a long duration. The best transcribers that I'm aware of working for CastingWords can transcribe (includes editing for errors) 1 minute of audio in less than 3.6 minutes. At that speed it's possible to earn almost $15.00 an hour doing this work for CastingWords, and some people do earn that much. If someone takes 1-2 hours to transcribe 11-21 minutes of audio (as claimed in the complaint) then the biggest problem they have is that they are very, very slow. Not everyone can be fast, but a top tier transcriber should be able to knock out a 21 minute chunk of audio in 75-84 minutes. Not two hours.

Second, the report claims that their "promised" bonus was cut in half for a single error. CastingWords does not promise bonuses to transcribers, they offer them as a reward for high quality transcripts. If a person can't produce a high quality transcript then they aren't going to be given a large bonus. That's just common sense. For an expected bonus to be "cut in half" the transcript would have had to contain several errors, not just one. CastingWords provides a "style guide" for transcribers which explains how they want things done, and they are very upfront about not handing out bonuses for transcripts which don't adhere to the guidelines.

Third, the report claims that CastingWords charges "$1 a minute per transcript". That's wrong. They have one plan out of three which charges $1 per minute of *audio*. The other two charge $1.50/min and $2.50/min. Transcription jobs from audio under that cheapest plan, as I explained, pay a maximum of 50 cents per minute to the transcriber. Editors get substantially less. The only people earning $1/minute of audio for transcriptions are experts with a track record of producing nearly perfect material on a regular basis. That obviously isn't going to happen for someone new to the transcription business and new to CastingWords in particular.

In summary, this complaint appears to have been filed by someone new to the business of transcription that spent no time and effort to establish a track record with CastingWords (gaining them access to the higher paying work), continually made errors that kept them from getting large bonuses, and wasn't very fast at the job on top of that. None of that is the fault of CastingWords.

CastingWords is a business like any other where most people start out making entry-level pay and must work their way up to better pay by proving that they can produce superior work product. Those who can't do it or refuse to work hard aren't going to make good money, not for CastingWords and not for any business in the world.

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#9 Author of original report

Castingwords .. Vindictive

AUTHOR: CaptainSaveAConsumer - ()

Well aren't these guys vindictive? As soon as they figured out I had filed a complaint, they reacted by blocking me on the worker site. This results in a warning from the site. However, I have forwarded all of the e-mails to Amazon showing that I told THEM I didn't want to work for them and to please close my account. Too bad Castingwords!

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#10 Author of original report

Mike Richard

AUTHOR: CaptainSaveAConsumer - ()

I received an e-mail from a Mike Richard today on the subject.  He advised me I better drop it and leave it like that.  Then I notcied something.  Castingwords has done your typical keyword assault on Google in an attempt to have a bunch of pages with tons of keywords that mean squat.  This is a tactic to bury complaints.  Cruise through Google, you'll see plenty of them.  This site is sneakier than I thought!  Oh my!  Your threats don't bother me Mr. Richard!!

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