Did Voicestarz go out of business?
Going Anonymous because I could get in so much trouble for what I'm about to say:
VoiceStarz didn't go out of business; It may have never been in business to begin with! Sit back because the history of this crazy business is long, complex, and a huge skeleton in Tara's closet.
For those who don't know, VoiceStarz was founded by famous voice actress Tara Strong (Bubbles from the Powerpuff Girls, Raven on Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go!, Twilight Sparkle on Friendship is Magic, and many more) and her husband, Craig Strong. It was meant to be a set of CD-ROMs meant to teach aspiring Voice Actors how to... well... become voice actors (Don't look at me! It was the early 2000s!). If you don't know what a CD-ROM is, google it. The two CD-ROMS featured interviews from prominent voice actors, casting directors, and agents from Los Angeles. At the end of the program, Tara promised that if you sent her a small sample of your work, she would personally review it for you.
Ever since it was released to the public in 2001, VoiceStarz has been marred with financial and legal concerns.
Originally, the program cost $179/year with a $79 Renewal Fee (SHOP TALK SOUTHLAND VOICE-OVER ACTORS TEACH ART ON WEB, DISC.). In 2004, this changed to $200/year but the CD-ROMS would cost $159 by itself (Does anyone have any info on voicestarz?).
On April 30, 2001, Tara and Craig Strong filed the VoiceStarz trademark. The trademark was refused on August 22nd of that same year. This meant that the Strongs were open to sending a note in an attempt to petition this. They must've sent that note because on March 22nd, 2002, the Trademark Office sent a Letter of Suspension due to a similar trademark that was also being filed around this time. On February 23, 2004, the Strongs were notified that the VoiceStarz trademark was officially rejected. They were able to file an appeal, if they so chose. They did. After 7 months of investigating, VoiceStarz was finally approved for trademark on August 24, 2004. At that point, Tara and Craig Strong had been selling VoiceStarz for 3 years.
The process for filing a trademark was not over yet. On November 16, 2004, the Strongs were mailed a Notice of Allowance (NOA) asking them to provide a Statement of Use (SOU). This meant that they had to present proof that they were using the trademark (Voicestarz Trademark of Craig Strong and Tara Strong Serial Number 76248330). They had 6 months to send in a notice or risk having their trademark abandoned as if it was no longer in use. It should have been simple since the Strongs were already using the trademark in a commercial manner. For whatever strange reason, the Strongs did not file and The trademark for VoiceStarz was abandoned in 2005 (TESS -- Error).
After reading this, I became (understandably) concerned about the legality of this program and the business it was under, so I checked to see if VoiceStarz Inc was a registered business. When I searched the California Secretary of State website, I discovered that there was no business called "VoiceStarz" or "VoiceStarz Inc." that had ever been registered. It would make sense since VoiceStarz just consisted of a website and a set of CD-ROMS. If the Strongs were advertising VoiceStarz Inc. as an incorporated business, should it not have been filed with the State of California as a registered business?
I went deeper into the rabbit hole to find out if anyone had been using VoiceStarz. The internet did not yield much results. There were a few people asking about VoiceStarz but it is a minority at this point. Here are just a few I found:
Does anyone have a legitimate review on Tara Strong's Voice over class on voicestarz.com? (Answer is full of trolls)
I believe Tara and her husband had the best of intentions when creating VoiceStarz, but their business practices are beyond questionable. Tara claimed to be the president of a company that never existed and continued to sell CD-ROMs until the website finally closed down in 2015, almost 10 years after the trademark was abandoned! When recently asked about VoiceStarz, Tara did not respond:
Just looked up how long you've been married, it'll be your 18th anniversary in May. Love like that is hard to find, but it's great that you have stuck together. Are you guys still doing voicestarz?— Eric (@EZEtheman3000) March 4, 2018
Tara Strong is a decent voice actress, but a Tara-ble businesswoman.