Online transcription service Rev is raising its prices for the first time ever, from $1 a minute to $1.25. The price hike was disclosed in a message the company sent to Rev transcribers on Thursday outlining the change and assuring the contract workers that this is not expected to significantly impact the number of job orders available. The company, which has been around since 2010, is one of the leading online transcription services, and it made its name largely off its advertised $1 per minute rate.
“We’ve already spoken with dozens of clients. They seem to get it: companies raise prices. Rev has been charging $1 per minute since we launched almost a decade ago and that’s been far less than our competition,” reads Rev’s message to transcribers. “So, while we suspect some may not like it, based on the conversations we’ve had we also anticipate the negative response to be fairly limited. For you, that means Revvers shouldn’t expect a noticeable drop in the number of jobs available.”
To help offset any negative effects of its price hike, Rev says that it will start paying its transcribers “more on average” starting in March, yet not across the board and only for “harder jobs.” Rev did not elaborate on this distinction. The company says it is also going to make its grading system fairer, among other changes designed to make transcribing for Rev more manageable.
Yet one Rev transcriber who spoke with The Verge on Thursday said some workers are “quite unhappy” with the change, considering Rev will be earning more money per minute transcribed while base pay for all transcriptions will remain the same.
Pricing and pay rates are particular hot button issues for Rev and its labor force. The company found itself embroiled in controversy this past November for a series of damning reports about working conditions for its contract labor force, starting with the news that the company would be slashing its minimum pay rate from 45 cents per minute transcribed to 30 cents.
Following that, an investigation from The Verge found that Rev transcribers were routinely subjected to disturbing audio recordings without adequate mental health benefits or even without any warning prior to the recording. The audio clips have included such incidents as violent police recordings, descriptions of child abuse, and graphic medical videos. A day later, Rev banned people under the age of 18 from transcribing for its service; prior to the rule change, loose labor law allowed minors to do contract labor like the kind Rev uses to supply customers.