Outsourcing - Agents of Value?

42 replies
I am looking for a 'permanent' article writer and linkbuilder, but would rather deal with a company than freelancers.

Anyone tried Agents of Value (agentsofvalue.com)? Or any other recommendations?
#agents #outsourcing
  • Profile picture of the author Alexandre Valois
    Derec,

    I don't have any prior experience with Agents of Value, but have plans to start using an outsourcing company this year.

    While reading their website I noticed their agents are based in the Philippines, where I am currently located, so I am now definitely interested in giving it a closer look.

    Thanks for the heads up and best of luck in your search!
    Alex.
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  • Profile picture of the author crystalq
    Article marketer offers writing services, try them.
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  • Profile picture of the author kumar
    Originally Posted by Deric Yin View Post

    I am looking for a 'permanent' article writer and linkbuilder, but would rather deal with a company than freelancers.

    Anyone tried Agents of Value (agentsofvalue.com)? Or any other recommendations?
    I would recommend Elance and Odesk. Both have individual providers and provider companies to choose from. I think you have taken the correct decision in going for a company for a permanent article writer.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    I think it will be normal to try a couple of people and you'll end up liking one of them. In the past I went through a few people before finding one I really liked.
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    • Profile picture of the author NiallR
      The trial and error aspect is very true. I've gone through two VAs in the last 3 weeks. One failed to mention she was already working for other people. The other one made me feel like I'd be working for her.

      The latest VA is hopefully my third time lucky. Great writing style which is all I want - I can train her on the rest of it :-)


      Niall
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      • Profile picture of the author Franck Silvestre
        Yeah, you really need to choose several VAs at the same time (I'm not talking about AOV, I never used them), and keep the one who is doing the better job.

        At the time of this writing I have three VAs. I'm splitting the tasks between them.

        Sometimes, a VA will let you, and you don't want to spend time to find another one.

        I've worked with many, and sometimes, you wonder if they know what IM is...

        Like X said, I don't like to work for VAs...

        Franck

        Originally Posted by NiallR View Post

        The trial and error aspect is very true. I've gone through two VAs in the last 3 weeks. One failed to mention she was already working for other people. The other one made me feel like I'd be working for her.

        The latest VA is hopefully my third time lucky. Great writing style which is all I want - I can train her on the rest of it :-)


        Niall
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  • Profile picture of the author Maria Gudelis
    I've tried Agents of Value about 6 months ago and almost lost a client as a result - the writer hired who was supposed to be screened by them clearly did not know english that well - and then when I reduced the tasks to very easy ones such as set up social bookmarking accounts, etc. - the hours it took her was 3 times the normal amount.

    Now -having said all that - they did reimburse me my full paid amounts so on the customer service side I was impressed with how they handled my complaint - they just couldn't find me a replacement fast enough so I had to look via scriptlance and find a resoure.

    Just think they got too swamped with growing too fast....

    I'd try them out again on non-mission critical stuff then once results are proven with that resource then more tasks can be given out....

    ...as it is nice to have one person in an office, full time dedicated to you, reporting in etc. as some of the problems with adhoc outsourced staff is you can't control how many others they work for, if their internet service was down, etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author SeanIM
      Originally Posted by miaroman View Post

      I've tried Agents of Value about 6 months ago and almost lost a client as a result - the writer hired who was supposed to be screened by them clearly did not know english that well - and then when I reduced the tasks to very easy ones such as set up social bookmarking accounts, etc. - the hours it took her was 3 times the normal amount.

      Now -having said all that - they did reimburse me my full paid amounts so on the customer service side I was impressed with how they handled my complaint - they just couldn't find me a replacement fast enough so I had to look via scriptlance and find a resoure.

      Just think they got too swamped with growing too fast....

      I'd try them out again on non-mission critical stuff then once results are proven with that resource then more tasks can be given out....

      ...as it is nice to have one person in an office, full time dedicated to you, reporting in etc. as some of the problems with adhoc outsourced staff is you can't control how many others they work for, if their internet service was down, etc.



      Agreed...my personal experience with them to date has not been good. For a "managed" worker I could have gotten the same results hiring directly myself...I found in no way that their management fee was warranted or producing any better results than doing a one-off hiring on a freelance board.

      :/
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      • Profile picture of the author 1stn4most
        so far it seems to be unanimous that AOV is not worth spending money on- I am new to this forum, but I ma beginning to see the advantages of reading through you folks who have been doing this for a while- thanks for sharing
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  • Profile picture of the author admin
    Administrator
    Whatever you do don't hire them to post here about a free Corvette...

    :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author X
      Originally Posted by admin View Post

      Whatever you do don't hire them to post here about a free Corvette...

      :-)

      Argggh. I just hired 3 Agents for exactly that!

      I've used AOV and my results were very spotty.

      Lot's of issues with their Internet connection -
      so if you have any tasks that require online
      research, especially using tools, you should
      expect problems.

      The people are good, for the most part, but
      I get the impression their work environment isn't.

      IE, the really good ones don't stick around.

      John Jonas is fanatical about Filipino outsourcing
      (he's in my mastermind group) and he's got a
      free audio up here with tips on how to find and
      hire good people.

      How and Why You Should Replace Yourself And Work The 17-Hour Workweek

      I haven't listened to this audio, so I can't vouch
      for it, but I'm not sure John ever works - he's
      really got this thing down.

      I wouldn't recommend hiring an Agent or anyone
      else unless you already KNOW what you're going
      to have them do, you already have your training
      together, etc - I wasted a lot of money and
      became more like THEIR employee trying to keep
      them busy.

      Some people get it - I don't. I do much better
      hiring people on a project by project basis.

      AOV outsourcing sounds great, and I think it is
      if you're a natural manager of people. Personally,
      I do better working with managers who manage
      people. This is something to know about yourself.

      X

      PS - My experience with AOV, while not great, was
      significantly better than "My Man in India" as
      recommended in the 4 Hour Work Week. Complete
      waste of money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
    AOV are utter crap and it cost me a fortune to finally realise it.

    The experienced webmaster I was paying for knew less about hosting n stuff than your average man on the street and I'm not convinced she was just working for me. (As she was supposed to be doing)

    I wouldn't touch them again with the proverbial bargepole, much better to get your own team together

    Kim
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Taylor
      Originally Posted by Kim Standerline View Post

      AOV are utter crap and it cost me a fortune to finally realise it.

      The experienced webmaster I was paying for knew less about hosting n stuff than your average man on the street and I'm not convinced she was just working for me. (As she was supposed to be doing)

      I wouldn't touch them again with the proverbial bargepole, much better to get your own team together

      Kim
      Well that is sure to the point and that settles that.
      Thanks Kim.

      -Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author markaustin
    Hi Deric,

    Have you considered hiring a Warrior? I know of several Warriors the offer Ghostwriting -- here are several:

    Bev Clement
    dbarnum
    Jenn Dize
    Russell Mangel
    Sylvia Rolfe
    mrsleep99
    erinwrites
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  • Profile picture of the author potionchris
    I think Filipinos are very dilligent and good at
    stuff at web design, graphics and stuff..

    But I think if you need high quality writing, it's
    better to invest in native English speakers.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ralf Skirr
      Don't hire AOV.

      I tried and had lots of trouble and endless discussions.

      I hired a writer with AOV, he was excellent, but he delivered less than 1500 words of rewriting articles per day. Now if someone says he works for you full time he should actually work 8 hours. The writer told me repeatedly that he worked roundabout 2 hours for his 1500 word rewrite job - which makes sense.

      He never explained what he did the other 6 hours plus he took some time off several times because of things he had to take care of.

      After I complained about him to AOV management they said they would replace him with another writer and I never heard back from them.

      So considering what I got it was a pretty useless experience since there's also a one time setup fee involved that didn't pay in the end.

      From several statements the writer made I conclude that the agents you get are NOT exclusively working for you but that they indeed work for several clients at the same time. I can't prove it, but that it was my impression that he did a great job and just couldn't do more because he had to work for other clients 'full time' at the same time.

      Ralf
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  • Profile picture of the author Deric Yin
    Thanks all.

    I still have a preference of dealing with a company rather than a freelancer. Any good ones to recommend?
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  • Profile picture of the author Alminc
    Deric,

    I recently got this in my mailbox from someone:

    Replace Myself | Outsourcing Training Phone Call MP3

    You can listen to the call and if you download the pdf
    there are a few sites listed where you can hire people.

    The guy recommends Best Jobs Philippines :: Philippine job search, job bank, employment and recruitment

    Hope this can help.
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    No links :)
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  • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
    Thanks, markaustin, for the mention above! You can never have enough good help, that's for sure.

    We're listed in the Warriors for Hire section:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/warriors...stwriting.html


    ...with lots of comments there, plus have more details here about our services:

    Moving Ahead Communications - Accelerated Business Building Wholesale Package


    ...with links to lots of work samples, more client testimonials, pricing, etc.

    Happy to help out where we can!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
    I've found hiring my own tean was much the best answer in the end, they grow with you and they know what is expected of them.

    You can also hire different people for their different strengths in this way which is good, and the beauty of the internet means they can be anyway in the world.

    Can be a bit of a problem tho when there is a time difference sometimes of 10 hours and you want to call a conference lol. Always seems to be me staying up till the wee hours

    Kymi
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  • Profile picture of the author Anthony J Namata
    Interesting post AND feedbacks here. I'm not looking to hire, but I certainly picked up a few useful pointers for future reference here. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Darek
    I live in the Philippines and it's not at all easy to find good English writers here. Also DSL connections are not that good I have over an hour of down time almost everyday and it does not matter which internet provider you use.

    Maybe the agents of AOV work from home which is not a good idea in the Philippines. People need supervision and support in the Philippines.
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  • Profile picture of the author freedom4me2
    I would avoid them at all cost. I hired an agent for a few months, and it was awful. The writer was very slow, and it would take her forever to finish an article. I asked for a report on the few days before finishing my contract and she never finished it, then they wanted me to pay the full amount. After going back and forth, they finally gave me 20% discount on the full price. Do yourself a favor and don't hire them. There are a lot of holidays in the Philippines, for which you end up paying and their internet connection was often down.

    Mayra
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    I try not to depend on any one source for articles. I like to have at least 3-4 people I can go to at any time, and sometimes I will ask two people to write the same article and use the best one.
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    It is okay to contact me! I have been developing software since 1999, creating many popular products like phpLD.
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  • Profile picture of the author NinjaReports
    Tried Agents of Value for one month and it was totally disastrous. The guy I hired for link building never got anything done and they have extremely bad internet connection with a lot of holidays. Try to find good people at places like Rent a Coder and Elance, where there is a feedback system and you know the person you're hiring is going to work for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author dabuzz
    dunnu about article writers..

    but i outsourced some admin work to Mohsin's company
    IM Outsourcing | IMO Center that needed to be done at
    an EXACT time EVERY day - 7days a week..

    and he's doing a fab job..

    he's provided his guys with a high speed broadband connection
    with a 2nd backup on standby.. plus they've got power backup
    so they never face any electricity probs..

    so i like the professionlism of their work enviroment..

    i really don't know the guys who do the work coz Mohsin
    handles them all.. and if someone takes a day off he assigns
    someone else on the task..

    so i don't even know the internal probs.. i just get my work done!

    try em..

    Shariq.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Toth
    Interesting.

    I haven't used AOV, but I recall Russell Brunson recommended them and so did Kirt Christensen. So apparently AOV was working out for them.

    Time to read (or re-read) 4 Hour Workweek to find alternatives?
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    • Profile picture of the author gsharp
      I get the feeling Kirt Christensen recommends them so highly because if he refers business to them, they end up paying for his agents. So he basically has employees working for him for free. On the other hand, he does speak very highly of them.

      I would definitely go with a company as opposed to an individual. Yes, there are some great individuals out there, but if they figure out they can make money for themselves instead of you, they won't be serving you for very long and then you'll be back to square one.
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  • Profile picture of the author blfred
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author Jamie Boyle
    I've never tried AOV myself. I know there are many people in this forum that will do articles for you. I myself outsourced work to Jeff Schuman a member of this forum and he does excellent writing. I would check that out, might just be what your looking for.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Cavanagh
    Hi Warriors,

    Take it from someone who's had a *LOT* of experience in outsourcing:

    The Philippines is awesome for getting brilliant workers if you know what you're looking for, have done your homework, interview them properly and make sure all rules and regulations are done upfront.

    Most people fail because they fail to do the homework themselves!

    Why book AOV when you can do it all yourself?

    AOV isn't based in Philippines, isn't going to charge you the discount rates you can get by going direct, and won't give you the type of person who you think you're going to acquire as Kim Standerline said!

    PM me if you want any details... not doing a promo post in here... just saying I know this stuff backwards now... and I *DON'T* experience any problems whatsoever.

    Merry Xmas,

    David Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author Bear Angelo
    Try Elance.com It's very popular
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  • Profile picture of the author FeelingFree
    This Replace Myself site (#17 mentioned by Alminc above)has also has come across my radar. Has anyone actually joined the site and taken advantage of what they offer (i.e. in addition to providing you with what they claim is the best place to hire, they provide "training" videos for your outsourced employee, etc."
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  • Profile picture of the author MrLD
    I have been using an employee of AOV for over a year now and it was very difficult in the beginning. She's grown to know many things and now she's really very good at what she does. I guess, what I am trying to say here is, you really have to be patient in the beginning until they know exactly the nature of your business and your goals. I believe training is still the key to a successful outsourcing. We need to train these people ourselves and give time to learn because once they learn the business they can really be very good at it and could really save us a lot of money and time. The only thing she never do for me was web design and article writing. I really do not recommend AOV on article writing. By the way, my agent decided to leave the company to work full time for me. I was patient, have trained her, even provided reports I have purchased here at our very own WSO for her to learn. Hope this helps...
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    Bernz

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  • For outsourcing I recommend this company

    1 web promotion

    Now I haven't personally used them yet But I am going to soon.
    But they have Jeff Dedricks seal of approval he uses them so they must be good.

    You won't believe the amount of stuff they do for you.
    They are not cheap but I hear they are well worth it.
    You choose

    Hope this helps
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    please visit My site

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  • Profile picture of the author Dave777
    Here's one of the best outsourcing directories besides the warrior forum...
    Huge List of 147 Freelance Job Boards / SitesAll Freelance Blog : Tips and Advice for Freelancers & Self Employed

    Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Antoni
    We have a AOV and have had them now for over a year and a half. I worked diligently with my rep for the first few months. I trained him to handle technical support, blog installs (with our custom software and setup) and tons more.

    He's been an invaluable asset and I can't complain at all about the price. He's billed from AOV as a "web developer", which I must admit, is a little short of what he is.

    But as far as manning my technical support, being friendly and helpful to my customers, and working hard - he's done great.

    They do have a lot of holidays and yes their internet does go out a little more than I would like...but the point is once you have them trained and they know what to do there's not a lot involved.

    I also like that they send you a detailed hourly report everyday of what they accomplished.

    One quick cool story - I had a big project that had to be done (editing hundreds of sites because of a software bug) and AOV's internet went down. I thought it would never be done on time, but my guy ended up staying almost 4 hours after his shift ended to finish the assignment.

    I do think, though, that outsourcing comes down to 2 important factors.

    1) How good is the person you are hiring?
    2) How good are YOU (or your manager) at training that person and assigning them regular tasks that don't require your constant supervision.

    Anyway, that's my two-cents. AOV has been good for me - but again, it's a personal decision and a lot of factors of course play into my personal experience with them. (Namely, I think I got a really good guy and I did a very good job up front working with him and stressing the importance of his role).

    Now I take a far less active roll in management, which is great...and I sort of even miss talking to my guy on skype haha!

    Mike Antoni
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  • Profile picture of the author jimbo3891
    Allow me to ask a question that I think has been asked, but not answered.

    I've received the "offer" from Replace Myself and filed it away for future reference because I'm working on the marketing to Offline businesses using the "Cash Cow" method discussed elsewhere. I'm certain that I'll need to pick up some inexpensive help elsewhere as I snag clients. Now to my questions:

    1) Has anyone on the forum actually used the services of Replace Myself? Not to be offensive, but for what I need to know, if you don't have personal experience with them, then I don't need your feedback.

    2) I am very convinced that I need someone from the Phillipines - over someone from India or other foreign countries - because I know how calling a call center located in these other countries frustrates me. What type of methodology do you use in locating someone from a specific country - without going through an agency because from the comments I've read it appears that going completely independent is the way to go.

    3) What types of training do you need to provide to someone once you bring them on board? Is this training that I'll need to buy, study myself, and then provide to them or is it general knowledge that can be obtained from the internet if they are directed to the proper places.

    4) Is it possible to find someone that is already trained to do what you need? If so, what criteria would you recommend?

    Please no comments on the ethics of hiring someone from the Phillipines as there's a thread already on that subject (I've read every post on it). Also, please no comments on AOV - as it appears from posts here that it is not a direction that I'd like to go.

    Thanks in advance to anyone that can help a struggling IM guy that's taking on the offline business model.
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    James Dunn
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  • Profile picture of the author tmnoonan
    Well thanks to this thread, I won't be making my first outsourcing attempt with AOV.
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    • Profile picture of the author fypnlp
      Originally Posted by tmnoonan View Post

      Well thanks to this thread, I won't be making my first outsourcing attempt with AOV.
      Nor will I
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  • Profile picture of the author lorrainelim
    Similar to the providers in India, the quality of providers you can get in the Philippines vary greatly. It has more to do with the education they receive and their background than their willingness to do the work.

    In oDesk, you can view their resumes. You'll see what I'm talking about. Those that deliver consistently good work are those that come from the top universities. It's a technique you can use in hiring. There are some exceptions but it's better to remain on the safe side.
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