Explore Talent (exploretalent.com) aka Explore Communications
Since taking over the site I have been open to such inquiries and requests, provided they are reasonable, polite and logical.
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
1 month Pro Subscription - $29.95/month - After 7 days free
All the above products are recurring, members can cancel at any time.
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)
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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
"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/
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: http://bbs.backstage.com/ [Aug. 26, 2004].
Crimes of Persuasionon