Explore Talent (exploretalent.com) aka Explore Communications
I appreciate the good cause of you website and your efforts to"clean" the Modeling industry however, we would like to bring to your attention the following facts:
1. ExploreTalent is not owned by Blake Yoon nor the owners have any criminal background
2. ExploreTalent was never ruled illegal
3. ExploreTalent is not associated nor owned by the owners of castexpress.com
4. ExploreTalent is not associated nor owned by the owners of BAM
5. The BBB website does not associate ExploreTalent with BAM
6. Your quotes from the BBB are not what's on the BBB website
7. ExploreTalent is a web based business and not a "photo mill"
8. It has been 3 years since we have stopped offering the free photo shoot.
(We were offering in the past a free photo-shoot in our efforts to help the talent and improve the overall quality of images on our site).
Also you might like to know
A. We have thousands of extremely happy customers (please check our testimonials page to see http://www.exploretalent.com/testimonials.php )
B. We are offering by far the best value in among our type of websites, on a monthly basis 25,000 new auditions and job openings, 10 times more than any other website
C. We have over 1,6 million members, (we couldn't be that "bad")
D. We really care about customer satisfaction and trying our best to constantly improve our product
I would highly appreciate if you would kindly remove from your site the remarks mentioned in the above 1.- 8. (perhaps, at your discretion, you might want to just easily remove the whole two pages since nothing there is relevant FYI: http://www.castexpress.com Not a working url and http://www.bammodels.com Not a working url)
By the way, our (paid) advertising appears on almost every page of your website.
I want to make sure that this letter does not come out as complaining or sound like trying to criticize (specially since I really appreciate your efforts to do the right thing for society,and eliminate fraudsters), just ask for your listening ear and updating you with the true facts, and asking for your kindness and understanding. If you feel that you need any more clarifications feel free to ask.
David Davis 04/08
Since taking over the site I have been open to such inquiries and requests, provided they are reasonable, polite and logical.
Your request meets two of those criteria.
Before I will consider your request I would need more info on the current and past ownership history which both confirms and refutes current status of your affairs.
Second, I find your numbers quoted to be both ludicrous and unfathomable. That alone makes me want to dismiss your request out of hand but I will refrain from making a decision until I see some factual data to substantiate your claims.
Please be so kind as to provide a business plan detailing the financial requirements a prospective model must face when dealing with your firm and I shall give due consideration to your request.
Thank you for your politeness.
1. "more info on the current and past ownership history" The site is currently owned by me.
On January 13, 2006 I bought the site from Astral a California corporation.
When I was considering buying it, I Googled ExploreTalent and found about
the Blake Yoon story, I questioned Astral about it, they indicated they
bought the site on July 29, 2005 from a company that was never owned by Blake Yoon,
but had Blake Yoon consulting them, Yoon eventually tried to claim all sort of things.
They had a falling out and decided to remove Yoon's association with the
business in an official buyout of all claims Blake Yoon had.
Since I took over, we have significantly improved customer service, our customer service representative are instructed to make any customer happy at any cost, Period ! We increased 10 times the amount of auditions & jobs available for our members.
BBB complaints dropped significantly (most of our current BBB complaints
are meritless and ridicules, about 50% are by customers who never paid us or anyone a
Every and each bottom of page on the site is stating "ExploreTalent is not an employment agency, agent or teacher & does not procure, get, promise employment, jobsor booking"
So we basically promise nothing and the biggest benefit paying members get is that
they are saving days of their time searching for auditions and jobs through search engines.
2. As far as the numbers of talents, (we actually have 1,8 million) :
You can perform talent search http://www.exploretalent.com/search2.php
A. Put the age range: zero to 70 for FEMALE and you will find 1,226,927 Talents.
B. Put the age range: zero to 70 for MALE and you will find 548,797
Totaling 1.77 million talents (over 1.8 million on our homepage counter. The
missing talents are those who elected to be excluded from public search)
You can also substantiate the numbers by the talent ID number (when you go to any talent you can find their talent number as the first detail)
BTW, Our Alexa rank in the US is 6,649 (US only, not world wide)
3. As far as the numbers of auditions and jobs, we actually have over 30,000 current audition roles & jobs with about 25,000 projects. If you want to see the details, you can perform auditions and jobs search:
or If you want to see all the markets:
4. "detailing the financial requirements a prospective model must face when dealing with your firm"
There is a free package, that is offering forever free hosting, free webpage, unlimited pictures, video and music upload (Most other sites are charging extra for increased storage, we do not charge anything.) The free package is not allowing access to the contact information for the auditions and jobs.
The premium members, are being charged for the access to the contact information for the auditions and jobs.
We have 4 type of packages http://www.exploretalent.com/faq.php#payment_plans
We are offering in all of them a 7 free days trial, where by members are
being charged only on the 9th day
(unless they cancel) and have 3 easy ways to cancel, including 24/7
real-time canceling online.
Below are the only 4 products/terms we are offering:
1 month Pro Subscription - $29.95/month - After 7 days free
3 month Pro Subscription - $23.30/month - After 7 days free (Billed in 1 prepayment of $69.90)
6 month Pro Subscription - $19.98/month - After 7 days free (Billed in 1 prepayment of $119.94)
12 month Pro Subscription - $16.63/month - After 7 days free (Billed in 1 prepayment of $199.50)
All the above products are recurring, members can cancel at any time.
We are not claming to charge for what some people may think they are able to find on the internet for free.
We are charging for the fruits of our in house research team, programming
and database management, making all
Auditions & jobs info accessible in an easily portable way to match the
desirable search criteria of the paying members.
We are basically saving the paying members days of their time searching
for results through search engines.
We employ about 60 people just to research, keep relations with casting
directors and maintain all of these databases.
We are paying a substantial part of our income on search engines
advertising to bring us traffic (also from sites like yours)
We provide no other paid services whatsoever, nor do we engage in selling any hard goods or Face-to-face services.
Another point to prove that our customers are happy, is the fact that we are able to maintain the same merchant account for years, with a charge-back rate around 1% (otherwise we will be losing our merchant account).
This is considering today's Internet reality, that there is always customer fraud trying to get away using the service
without paying, which is the only main reason charge-backs.
I hope these will answer your questions. If it does not, please let me know where you need more clarifications. I would be more than happy to answer any other question you might have.
Thanks for caring to do the right thing for the public, your kindness and time to attend to this matter.
David Davis 06/08
BBB Comments noted on October 26, 2008 rate the company with a F.
Explore Talent advertises talent submission services via their website. After the initial introductory webpage asks for contact information for free registration, a second screen appears which explains the free registration is actually a seven day trial with a negative option cancellation clause. Essentially, if you cancel within the seven day trial you will not be charged.
We strongly question the company’s reliability for reasons such as that they have failed to respond to complaints, their advertising is grossly misleading, they are not in compliance with the law’s licensing or registration requirements, their complaints contain especially serious allegations, or the company’s industry is known for its fraudulent business practices.
California law requires any company that procures or offers to procure employment or auditions, or that provides artist management services, direction or counseling to develop an artist's career, for any of which they collect a fee in advance to post a $10,000 bond.
This law also prohibits charging for such services as; registering or listing the artist for employment, providing photographs, videotapes, other promotional materials, costumes, lessons or training, or auditions.
To obtain bonding information, write to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, Department of Industrial Relations, Legal Section, at P.O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142 or call (415) 703-4846 or by email to DLSE.email@example.com. The website address is www.dir.ca.gov.
Note that this info below is at least four years old and may not reflect current conditions at the firm.
8033 Sunset Blvd, Suite #580
7060 Hollywood Blvd. #802
Los Angeles CA 90028
"Coupon for a free professional one look photo shoot - $350 value! As part of our commitment to improve the overall quality of the images on our website, Pro Members are now entitled to a free photo shoot session in Los Angeles, California VALUED AT $350. Professional photography raise your chances to being signed by managers, agents and casting directors. Sign up now, as this coupon/offer is only valid for new members only." (http://www.exploretalent.com/about_us.php) [Aug. 21, 2004].
Better Business Bureau:
". . . customers complain the company verbally misrepresents the
free amenities offered with the subscription, claiming the free portfolio
actually costs $1500." (http://www.labbb.org/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/C%3A/Inetpub/wwwroot/
SouthlandReport/default.htm?hCompID=13204121&hAKAID=2&hAddrID=2) [Aug. 21, 2004].
Roshumba Williams, Supermodel:
"One big mistake that many aspiring models make is spending tons of money on photos, portfolios, and composites before they get an agent. This is a total waste of money and time, and people who tell you otherwise either don't know what they're talking about or are scamming you. [. . .]
All photos taken without an agent's guidance are essentially useless because the photos may not capture the image the agent plans to build for you and promote to the fashion industry. [. . .] Photographers often prey on young, unsuspecting models and their parents, suggesting that models need loads of professional pictures, composites, portfolios, and elaborate, expensive photo sessions before they've found an agent or started their careers.
They'll tell the models that agents won't accept them if they don't have a portfolio full of pictures. In these cases, the photographer is probably trying to scare the unsuspecting model in order to make money off the photo session, the development and processing of the film, and the printing of contact sheets and photos. [. . .]
The most that's needed to get your foot in the door are a few snapshots that by no means require a professional to take. As I've said, anything more is really a waste of time and money." [Roshumba Williams, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a Model (Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 1999), pp. 86-87.]
ExploreTalent.com was reported by the BBB several years ago to be owned by or associated with the same owner of Booking Actors and Models (BAM). The ExploreTalent.com site did not name the company owner and the current owner disputes this claim, but they were based in the same area in or near Hollywood, and it offers the same "services": internet "exposure" and free photo shoots. The emphasis of BAM was photo shoots.
What consumers need to know is that a photo shoot is virtually useless in and of itself. So they will be offered prints or comp cards or a portfolio -- at a price -- certainly not free, and not necessarily cheap.
Having received the free photo shoot, and realizing they can't do much of anything with it, they will be drawn to buy comp cards and or a portfolio, so that the free photo shoot opportunity is not "wasted."
They are then in a position of considering paying for professional photography before they get an agent.
Nina Blanchard, who used to own the top modeling agency in Los Angeles, The Nina Blanchard Agency, which represented famous faces such as Cheryl Tiegs, and was bought by the Ford Modeling Agency, was "the most famous model agent in Hollywood," and wrote a book for aspiring models, How to Break Into Motion Pictures, Television Commercials and Modeling.
Blanchard has said, "Do not get a portfolio before getting an agent." [Cited in Erik Joseph, The Glam Scam (Los Angeles: Lone Eagle, 1994), p. 81.]
Blanchard also said, "The agent should not recommend one photographer, and you do not pay the agency, you deal directly with the photographer."
There are basic reasons for her comments:
1) you don't need professional photos to get an agent.
2) agents typically don't want professional photos, just snapshots.
3) if you get comp cards, they won't have the agency's name printed on them, so you won't be able to use them if you do get signed by the agency.
4) even if you can get the slides, the photography may not be at a standard high enough, or of a style suitable for, the agency to promote you effectively.
5) when you pay the photographer directly, it can prevent the price of the photos or prints or portfolio from being jacked up without you knowing.
Call any of the licensed talent agencies in Hollywood to discuss these issues further. Ask them what type of photos you should get, when you should get them, when you should get comp cards, and how much you should pay.
See also Backstage Discussion: Anyone know the deal about ExploreTalent.com
http://bbs.backstage.com/ [Aug. 26, 2004].