Cactus Communications Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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2.9
40 Reviews
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Cactus Communications CEO Anurag Goel
Anurag Goel
15 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Good part-time job for students; not something to live off of

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Freelance Academic Editor in College Park, MD
    Current Employee - Freelance Academic Editor in College Park, MD

    I have been working at Cactus Communications

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    I gave this job 3 stars because as a student, it provides me with pocket money and I can do it from anywhere. Sometimes I learn about interesting topics, and the managing editors provide solid feedback so you can improve as an editor. The work is highly flexible. If you consistently receive good QFR scores, you receive assignments pretty regularly.

    Cons

    Depending on the difficulty and length of the text, you are probably getting paid minimum wage. The work can be quite tedious, and you are expected to re-edit for free. This job is good for part-time income, but it's not enough to live off of. I would recommend it for people who are in between jobs or students, but not as a full time career.

    Advice to Management

    The company should value its editors more highly by paying them for re-editing at least half of what they receive for a regular job.

  2. Steady supplemental work, pay too low

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Science Editor in Louisville, KY
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Science Editor in Louisville, KY

    I have been working at Cactus Communications (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I started freelancing for Cactus for "walking around" money, but quickly had to ramp up to support my growing family. The work is steady and the staff in Mumbai are usually responsive to issues--make friends with your primary points of contact! They may be your only advocate on the ground.

    Cons

    The pay is far too low, and it has grown more difficult to obtain an increase. You won't be given an increase--you MUST ASK for one.
    The rating system, although improved, is still arbitrary. A lower rating can be given for the most minor errors in extremely long or challenging documents. This reduces your pay on future jobs. If you're doing this work to support your family, such arbitrary losses are extremely painful.

    Advice to Management

    Increase your freelancers' pay. We are professionals with terminal degrees and deserve to be treated as such.
    Better support with authors would also be nice. They take advantage of freelancers, perhaps thinking we are some low-level spell-checking monkeys. Quite the contrary, we are often scientific peers or even superiors. Although most authors probably appreciate this, there are abusive authors that need to be checked--the customer is not *always* right.

  3. Freelance editing for Cactus Communications

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Freelance Science Editor
    Former Employee - Freelance Science Editor

    I worked at Cactus Communications

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    This was an excellent second job for me to supplement my income. Assignments had flexibility and workload was usually about what I wanted.

    Cons

    Overall I enjoyed working for Cactus. The frustrations I did have were with occasional short deadlines or manuscripts that required excessive editing to make them readable, but these are par for the course in freelance editing.

    Advice to Management

    I thought management support was good and contact with superiors was frequent and easy to make.

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  5. Helpful (1)

    Very Flexible Hours

    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cactus Communications

    Pros

    Very flexible hours. I tell them how many hours I want to work and when my vacations are. If I'm offered work I don't feel qualified to do or don't have time to do, I can reject it.

    Cons

    The text is often very difficult to edit, because the writers are not native English speakers. They write the papers in broken English or they have a translator do it. Either way, it makes reading, understanding, and editing highly technical writing that much harder.

  6. Helpful (3)

    Terrible Point of Contact

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Science Editor
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Science Editor

    I worked at Cactus Communications (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I had fun editing manuscripts when they actually became available.

    Cons

    Where do I start?

    - The pay was a little low for the work that needed to be completed under such a short deadline. I realize that comes with any flexible schedule job, but when the deadline is the next day, schedules can't really be THAT flexible.

    - Freelance editors are very dispensable. I was only assigned two manuscripts before they "let me go". I had excellent feedback from my first manuscript edit, which was not reviewed by my primary point of contact. The second review was below par, listing grammatical errors as a reason for the low score. What I found funny is that she made zero grammatical changes, only wording changes (many of which were not needed), and in her comments to both the author and me, she had loads of grammatical errors.

    - As a follow-up to my last point, the reviewers are located in Mumbai, and it is apparent that their first language is not English -- at least mine wasn't. Why are they reviewing English papers when English isn't even their native language? That makes no sense to me.

    - They "let me go" because they said both of my edits were below their expectations, when technically, only the second edit was. However, I really think the second edit was fine -- wording is subjective, and most changes made to my edits were unnecessary (and had added grammatical errors). I felt like I needed to re-edit their edits, which was frustrating.

    - Also in that second paper, my reviewer made a comment asking the author what they meant regarding one of their statements in the paper; however, had she read the paper for content, she would have known what the author was talking about.

    - They said they do not increase pay until after the third edit, because that gives us time to align our style with their expectations; however, I was only given two papers to edit (the first was excellent, the second actually didn't receive that low of a score, just not a 3 on their scale). So basically, I was under the impression that the first three papers were somewhat of a probationary period to, as they said, "align our style with their expectations". Yet, I never received a third paper.

    - Once I received the email that they were no longer going to give me assignments, I emailed them back and asked them if I could try a third paper, as I was under the impression that we would be given three. Of course, I have not heard back from them, because as I stated in the second point, we are very dispensable.

    I would have rated a higher score than just one star, but the fact that their editors are so dispensable, and they never had the courtesy to reply to my email, they don't deserve higher than one star.

    Advice to Management

    Hire reviewers whose first language is English, and review their edits for errors. Just because the editors are freelance/contract employees, that doesn't mean we aren't established scientists ourselves who can't do quality work.

  7. Helpful (4)

    Demanding yet disorganized

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Editing in San Francisco, CA
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Editing in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Cactus Communications

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Flexibility (altho constantly pressured to work when unavailable)

    Cons

    Extremely demanding standards not commensurate with pay (remote editors).
    Clients constantly revise and re-submit jobs: editors are expected to re-edit for free.
    Services overlap, which clients use to their advantage.
    Constant pestering to take new work / accept revisions to deadlines: poor life/work balance.
    Lack of timely support for remote editors.
    Corporate structure and culture are hierarchical and bureaucratic.

    No training or career progression for remote editors, in contrast to the positive opinions expressed here by in-house staff.

    Advice to Management

    1. Staff retention.
    2. Staff retention.
    3. Staff retention.

    Organize better.
    Protect remote editors from clients who constantly revise or extend their work and attempt to re-submit for free re-edit.
    Pay your most valuable asset (your editors) what they are worth.
    Otherwise, talent will go elsewhere.

  8. Entry level freelance neurobiology/neuroscience editor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Freelance Science Editor in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Freelance Science Editor in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at Cactus Communications

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Work from home, gain experience with different journal formats, learn to be a better science writer and editor.

    Cons

    Infrequent assignments; pay scale is okay, but dependent on how much editing work the article needs; not as easy to communicate with managing editors as I would like.

    Advice to Management

    Increase ability for freelance editors to communicate with managing editors.

  9. Helpful (7)

    Low Pay, High Expectations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Freelance Academic Editor
    Former Contractor - Freelance Academic Editor

    I worked at Cactus Communications as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Work from home, flexible hours, regular work if they like you

    Cons

    Incredibly high expectations for perfection with pay rates that do not justify it. Their rates are so low for the quality they demand, it often ends up being below minimum wage.

    Advice to Management

    Pay contractors rates that are to par with the work they are doing and your retention will be far higher.

  10. Helpful (3)

    Could be a huge waste of your time

    • Culture & Values
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Editor in Denver, CO
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Editor in Denver, CO

    I worked at Cactus Communications (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    There was professional emailed communication from the supervisory editor. Some of the academic papers were interesting to read, and it felt good to be helping an academic writer produce a more professional paper with better English.

    Cons

    Training is uncoordinated, difficult to navigate and hard to read. Material to be edited is written by professors who speak English as a second language and who write complex academic papers. That makes the editing much slower than a typical editing job of, say, a well-written novel or history book. The per-word payment is discounted if the academic paper is over a certain number of words even though there is no relationship between the length of the document and the difficulty in editing it. A rating system can end up causing the editor to get paid less because a low rating can be given even on high-quality work. That's the case even when the supervisory editor can come up with no major editing errors. The combination of discounts on pay can cause the nominal contract rate to be 40 percent higher than the rate actually paid. Even without the discounts, the nominal rate paid can be below Seattle's minimum wage and in some instances, particularly including the discounts, possibly be close to the federal minimum wage. Much depends on the quality of English used by each academic writer, and that can vary considerably. The advertised amounts for the top end of what one could supposedly earn per month appear to be out of reach for even the top producers unless there are pay scales that I am not aware of.

    Advice to Management

    Operate with the highest level of integrity in everything you do.

  11. Cactus Communications

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Freelance Editor in Trevose, PA
    Current Employee - Freelance Editor in Trevose, PA

    I have been working at Cactus Communications

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The managers are friendly and accommodating, and they are always willing to work with new-hires as they become accustomed to company protocols. The work is semi-regular, and can be done easily from home. Depending on the papers you get to edit, there are many opportunities to learn and expand one's experience.

    Cons

    The work IS only semi-regular. It's very good for a bit of extra money; however, it is not something that can support you as your ONLY source of income. Now, this may be unfair-- It could be that it takes time to build up a reliable inflow of papers to edit, and earn a higher rate per word for your work. In any case, as you do well, and build up a history of good work, you can get more work.

    Advice to Management

    None.

    Cactus Communications Response

    Jan 21, 2015President

    I think you may be referring to this company: http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Cactus-Communications-Reviews-E475444.htm

    Not Cactus Sky Communications. We do not have any freelance editors
    ... More

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