Site launches "new membership program"
Thread poster: Robert Forstag
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:57
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 17, 2012

A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail that began as follows:

I am very pleased to announce that XXX has launched a new membership program that gives linguists access to the finest resources in our industry along with professional networking opportunities around the world.

Our membership plans allows interpreters and translators to access Microsoft Office, communication solutions, education, and support tools that every successful language professional needs. Most importantly, these are bundled and offered at prices below what they could be acquired separately.


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When I looked at the website, I found that the membership plans offered ranged in price from $14.99 to $69.99 a month. (There is also a "free" membership that provides very limited services and access to potential clients.)

My first thought is that any such fee could really only be justified by earning a minimum of ten times the total costs of fees. So I wonder if I pay, say, $50 a month for having a premium membership on such a portal, I can realistically expect to get work from said portal totalling an average of $500 a month (which translates into $6000 a year for $600 in annual fees).

I also am puzzled as to how access to Microsoft Office could possibly exercise an attraction for most translators. Doesn't everyone already have a license to use this suite of programs?

I am interested in hearing the thoughts of others regarding the viability of membership in this kind of enterprise. I am sure I am not the only proz.com member/user who received this e-mail....


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
received Oct 17, 2012

I received it and deleted it without looking at the details.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sounds dodgy Oct 17, 2012

Robert Forstag wrote:

I also am puzzled as to how access to Microsoft Office could possibly exercise an attraction for most translators. Doesn't everyone already have a license to use this suite of programs?

I am interested in hearing the thoughts of others regarding the viability of membership in this kind of enterprise. I am sure I am not the only proz.com member/user who received this e-mail....



To misquote Marx, "I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member" and then try to dump their junk on me. I think it's more or less similar to a scam, if not an outright fiddle. A covert way of trying to sell you "bundles" of SW and similar gewgaws.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What exactly is in it for us? Oct 17, 2012

Microsoft Office? Got it - we all have, I expect
Communications solutions? Well, I've got a home phone, smartphone, Skype, Dropbox... I really don't think I want to communicate any more than I already do
Education? I bet it isn't included in the basic package - it'll probably be overpriced then reduced for members

This company wouldn't be a translation agency, would it? Does the name mean anything to you, Robert, or are they new?

At $180 per year for the most basic paying package, I think I'll stay with ProZ.com and give the newbie a miss.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:57
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The math doesn't add up... Oct 18, 2012

@Sheila:

I'm as puzzled as you are by their highlighting access to Microsoft Office as selling point for hawking expensive monthly memberships. Seems to me a bit like a restaurant prominently including in its advertising that it offers salt, pepper, and napkins....

The name of that site means nothing to me....

***

My biggest problem with the services of these outfits (not sure if they should be called "agencies", "clearinghouses", or "portals") is that the math just doesn't seem to add up. If you take $30.00 a month as the average membership fee paid by those signing up, and a modest goal of five times the membership price as a criterion of acceptable return on investment, this would mean that this kind of enterprise would have to provide $150.00 worth of work each month to its members if it hopes to sustain their memberships over time. Can this kind of enterprise really hope to do so consistently for even, say, a few hundred translators working in a variety of language combinations, many of whom are competing with one another for the finite number of jobs within single language pairs? On the face of it, it seems highly unlikely.

On the other hand, as far as I can tell from the membership page of this site, the plans are month-to-month and allow one to cancel at any time. This would mean that those who discover that the return on their investment is unsatisfactory can leave after a two or three months, and this definitely would keep the profits down from the membership revenues (i.e., versus the obvious alternative of demanding an up-front fee for six or twelve months).

Like Neilmac, I am highly skeptical and thus will not likely be signing up for membership on that site any time soon. Yet I have nothing in principle against such a "pay-to-play" scheme--as long as it offers promise of a good return on the investment, delivers on that promise, and provides a way of pulling out in a way that minimize losses if and when it ceases to be profitable.


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Ricardy Ricot  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:57
French to English
+ ...
Hi, Robert Oct 18, 2012

Hi, Robert. I think you are more likely to find work on proz.com than on some newbie website. And by the way, Sheila is always so pragmatic

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