Consumer Media Network

www.cmn.com

Consumer Media Network Reviews

Updated October 7, 2014
Updated October 7, 2014
12 Reviews
2.5
12 Reviews
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Patrick Gavin
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Opportunities available for those who pursue it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Monetization Manager in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Monetization Manager in Houston, TX

    I worked at Consumer Media Network full-time

    Pros

    Great people, great benefits! The company culture is great - good pay, benefits and perks. Being part of the management team, they're big on "team building" and going on work trips not only to network, but to also keep us close-knit. There's a ping pong table, video game consoles, and a "cafeteria" area for employees to take breaks during our busy days.

    As with most other companies, there is no tier for salary. You must work for it and you'll be rewarded for your work. I've had 3 promotions during my time there and great salary increases to complement each one. My ideas were always considered, and they were very encouraging when it came to learning and improving my professional skill set.

    Work/life balance is fantastic! Unless there are pressing issues or you simply want to finish something that you had been working on, you won't find yourself taking your work home or on the weekend (as many of my friends have had to do, sometimes until 2am!).

    Cons

    With several young employees, it can make the environment extremely fun or very hostile - depending on who you work with. There are many young managers whose ideas collide and instead of working together to come to a solution, they're set on making themselves the "right" one. And sometimes, you'll find yourself caught in the middle of an immature battle.

    There is no real company structure. So, where you're headed in the company, where you want to go, and what you do is all up to you - this can be seen as a good thing for many, and bad for others.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Perpetual Mediocrity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Architect in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Software Architect in Houston, TX

    I worked at Consumer Media Network full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Relaxed company culture.
    Downtown Houston.
    Secure Parking.

    Cons

    Low pay: In the time I worked for this company my salary was so low it was easy to find a better job elsewhere.
    Project managers not organized.
    Management not organized and frequently changing.
    Hard to imagine how this company makes revenue. There is no way they are making enough revenue to support the expenses and overhead. This seems like the pet-project of a millionaire Entrepreneur.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Let go of all senior management and find some who know what they're doing.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Great, Flexible Place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Writer in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Staff Writer in Houston, TX

    I worked at Consumer Media Network full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Can work remotely/from home
    Great pay and benefits
    Challenging work
    Fun, amicable work environment

    Cons

    Lots of changes to keep up with new Google rankings which can be daunting if you've carely just gotten used to the last change.
    Writer's names don't always appear on work

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Poor management, poor company culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Writer in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Writer in Houston, TX

    I worked at Consumer Media Network full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Decent work-life balance, ability to work from home when necessary, decent compensation/benefits and a few hardworking, genuinely nice people. Although I can't say the presence of a ping-pong table made me giddy and giggly on the way to work each morning.

    Cons

    I can only write about my time at CMN. I have no idea how it operates now. I know the place has to keep shifting shapes to survive, which should be an obvious red flag to anyone who's considering employment there. I'll put it this way: I wasn't proud to work at the company.

    For me, the job was pretty unfulfilling. We didn't create anything tangible or useful. As I think it was said in another review, the goal essentially was to trick Google into ranking the sites highly so we could effectively generate leads for online colleges and insurance companies--definitely two wholesome industries. Writers, for the most part, wrote lightly researched material on subjects in which they weren't experts. The goal was to pump out as much content as possible. Quantity over quality, which I'm sure didn't endear the company to Google. In other words, the content wasn't anything you'd want to attach your name to, so I'm not complaining about there being no bylines—in fact, some were using pseudonyms that probably came from a name generator.

    The ping-pong table, lime green walls, ability to wear workout clothes/pajamas/cowboy costumes to work, and happy hours were distractions meant to compensate for the unpleasant nature of the work. This was enough to keep some people happy, especially those who didn't seem to realize they were in a workplace. The lack of professionalism resulted in all kinds of child-like drama, especially for the two attention-starved people with whom I had the misfortune of being hired. People like that, who didn't have much going on outside of work, thrived on (and created) the BS that happened with their coworkers.

    CMN exemplified why work and personal life shouldn't substitute for each other, and why it should always be a priority by management to establish some level of professionalism. Making writers (or whomever else) fill out a spreadsheet tracking their work progress doesn't matter when A) the work feels pointless and B) the people aren't there to work in the first place (Hey, you've got Mario Kart, gossip, trash-talking, etc.). Honestly, though, that aspect is probably better now since the company is smaller and the immature ones were let go.

    Most of the problems with this company were either direct or indirect results of substandard leadership. Most of management was inexperienced in their positions and not very decisive or assertive. When Google made dramatic changes, management failed to properly adjust, leaving the company to languish until layoffs occurred. Over the course of a year, a team of roughly 30 writers was let go. Before that, an SEO team half that size was let go less than a year after it was first formed. All in all, I'm surprised this place is still around.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go to a school of management. Hire grown-ups.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Bad business, good people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Consumer Media Network

    Pros

    All my coworkers were surprisingly kind, laid back, decent human beings.

    Cons

    "Consumer Media Network" is one of the better euphemisms I've heard in my day. CMN operates hundreds of spammy "online-college-now" websites and makes its money by link-hacking Google to get more visitors whose contact info they can sell to shitty online colleges for $50-100 a pop.

    There is also very little openness within the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It seems to be working for you, so I guess... keep it up? Woohoo capitalism!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Excellent atmosphere, great work with lots of flexibility

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Engineer in Houston, TX

    I have been working at Consumer Media Network full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The team and atmosphere is excellent...the best I've ever had. As a developer, you're allowed to use top-notch technologies with the flexibility to use the right tool for the job. The work is fun and fast-paced, but mostly fast-paced because again, you're allowed to use tools that help productivity instead of hinder it. Dev Ops practices make releases a breeze.

    I'm not sure what the other commenters on here are talking about, but I think they must have left the company during the google 2.0 transition which had every SEO-driven company scrambling. I joined after the company adjusted their strategies to google 2.0 and they're focused, driving and succeeding. Haven't encountered any black hat tactics since being here either.

    Cons

    Working with a partially distributed team might not be ideal for everybody. I happen to love it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great work!!!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Company has a lot of potential but lacks consistent business strategy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX

    I have been working at Consumer Media Network full-time

    Pros

    Very energetic, talented employees. Relaxed atmosphere and good work/life balance. The company culture is youthful and engaging.

    Cons

    The company has experienced major layoffs because of the constantly-changing business strategy. Management seems to lack the ability to adequately plan, implement and follow through on its business strategy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focusing more on getting new customers is the most effective way to solve your problems. Find a way to develop more unity between the two main offices.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Unethical, poorly-managed blackhat SEO firm that thrives on secrecy and misinformation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - //// in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - //// in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Consumer Media Network full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good location and office space, good benefits, happy hours and free food. Young, semi-hip office staffed by cool people for the most part.

    Cons

    The company fires entire teams without a second thought when something appears not to be working (and will casually discuss this within earshot of members of other teams).

    CMN is extremely secretive about what it does - mostly SEO lead-gen for for-profit colleges and insurance firms, as of the time I worked there (who knows what they're trying to turn a profit from now) - and to succeed there required one to be dishonest and more competitive than cooperative with other members of one's team. Training on projects was borderline nonexistent; I would be told to ask people how to do things and would almost never be told the same thing twice, or even two methods that accomplished a task in remotely similar ways. Internal communication is borderline nonexistent and everyone is so overworked at all times that to ask anyone anything feels inappropriate.

    CMN uses flawed methods to achieve lead-gen goals in a system that effectively forced itself to suffer diminishing returns and will likely continue to do so. Expect management to change your job expectations (or just fire you and everyone else you work with) and hours if they feel like it (when I was hired, I was told hours were flexible, provided everything got done; within several weeks, this was moved to a much more intense schedule with no change to compensation and plenty of what more or less amounted to mandatory unpaid overtime to keep one's job). Also expect management to go skiing if they feel like it, or to not hold scheduled meetings, or to not give you any meaningful learning experiences, no matter what you were told at the outset.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't treat people as disposable. Be upfront about your expectations. Actually train people, listen to your employees, and create a business model that can weather the boom and bust cycles that you will inevitably be trapped in so long as you cannot be honest with anyone.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Once good for starting out, now a sinking ship.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Writer
    Former Employee - Writer

    I worked at Consumer Media Network as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Was once a decent way for a writer with zero experience to get started, but that's no longer true. I honestly cannot think of any other positive aspect to this company.

    Cons

    Aside from having unethical business practices (it's bread and butter is blackhat SEO), employees are not valued at all. Writers are all contracted at rates far below the industry average. Additionally, the release of Penguin by Google has caused irrevocable damage to CMN and its subsidiary companies, including the "content farm" Stripes39, due to the shady SEO practices that the company employs. Those who initiated those business practices are still employed, yet those who were beholden to them without receiving any benefit have been laid-off en masse.

    If you're looking for a reputable SEO company to work for, look elsewhere. This company has been reprimanded by Google on more than one occaision for their blackhat SEO practices, and in the post-Penguin SEO landscape, I can't see a company as dishonest as this one being around for much longer.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You truly deserve the crisis you have placed yourself in. Penguin was developed to put people like you out of business. I'm glad it's working.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good job for those right out of college to gain experience, and that's about it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Writer in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Writer in Houston, TX

    I worked at Consumer Media Network full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Relaxed work environment. Young employees. Cool company parties and happy hours. I recommend this job for people who can't get hired elsewhere because they don't have experience, but that's it.

    Cons

    Low pay. No room for career growth. False sense that you play an important role in the company. Inexperienced and poor management. No communication. No real job security. The business itself is sketchy. You feel like a pawn the entire time you work there after you start to learn how exactly the company makes money. The cool parties, work environment, and annual bonuses (is it really a bonus if you get the exact same amount each year?) are just a way to make employees feel it's a good job, if that makes sense. I'm not complaining about the extra money obviously. I'm just saying that it's a management trick to retain employees who are paid very little to do really dull work that inherently unethical.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire people with actual experience with management. Learn to communicate with your employees. Get more organized. I'd say be more ethical, but the whole premise of the business is unethical; so I guess at least treat your employees as if they're intelligent enough to understand that BECAUSE THEY DO.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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