Rev Slashes Minimum Pay for Gig Workers
An internal post reviewed by OneZero outlines new rates that would result in transcribers taking home less money as automation looms
The popular transcription service Rev has reportedly cut the pay of its freelance workers who produce transcripts for pennies a minute.
Rev launched in 2010 and has received millions of dollars in funding. Like many rivals, it offers automated transcriptions using speech recognition software, but also has a separate service for transcriptions that are “performed by humans, not A.I.” Users submit audio files to the service — interviews or recordings of meetings, for example — and contractors return a transcript within 12 hours. The company stands out for its accuracy and affordability — just $1 per minute of audio — but all of it comes at a human cost, say Rev gig workers.
Li Zilles, a Seattle-based contractor for Rev, tweeted on Monday that the company slashed its baseline rate for transcription workers on Friday, calling it “yet another example of a gig economy startup brazenly mistreating its workers.”
On Wednesday, a representative for Rev posted to an internal company forum that its minimum pay would drop from $0.45 to $0.30 per minute transcribed. A Rev worker, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job, sent the post to OneZero. It frames the policy shift as a way to “fairly compensate” its “best Revvers” who take on harder transcription jobs — audio files containing noise or multiple speakers, for example — which could earn workers rates of $0.80 per minute. In an update to its announcement, the company clarified that “the goal is NOT to take pay away from Revvers.”
“For this round of pricing changes, 30 [cents per minute] will be the starting price for a very small number of jobs,” Rev’s post states. “On the other hand, some jobs will now start at 80 [cents per minute], and these jobs will still be able to increase in price from there.”
OneZero spoke to several Rev freelancers who said the payment change was only announced on the company forum.
“I wasn’t even aware of the forums’ existence until just now,” Andrew Marsden, a U.K.-based contractor for Rev, told…