SparkNET Interactive

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SparkNET Interactive Reviews

Updated June 6, 2014
Updated June 6, 2014
17 Reviews
2.7
17 Reviews
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SparkNET Interactive Publisher & CEO Christopher Knight
Christopher Knight
10 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Ostensively a fun job, hampered by mismanagement and unrealistic expectations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Editor  in  Green Bay, WI
    Former Employee - Editor in Green Bay, WI

    I worked at SparkNET Interactive full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Free lunch, beautiful office, great coworkers.

    Cons

    Poor pay, no excellent benefits packages, unrealistic expectations to editors (seemingly get the shaft on a decent work/life balance)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    While you offer free lunches and a great atmosphere, simple benefits packages like insurances would be better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Great Experience, Terrible Management

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

    I have been working at SparkNET Interactive

    Pros

    Lunch provided daily, an okay benefits package, a fitness area, and some awesome co-workers.

    Cons

    An oblivious leadership team that truly believes the lies and half truths they spew when addressing criticism.

    In a response to a negative review leadership said that turnover is in the low single digits. Depending on what data you use to calculate turnover this may be true, but keep in mind that SparkNET began 2013 with over 50 employees and ended the year with about 35 and as such is no longer required to provide FMLA benefits.

    Leadership also claimed in a response that Editorial positions have 50% higher pay than just 3-4 years ago. Based on this Editorial positions would be paying over $30,000 per year which is untrue. If this were the case there are employees in far more technical roles that are grossly underpaid. Even so, bottom line is that current wages and benefits are not enough to attract and retain top talent.

    Base pay and vacation time were recently increased. While some employees were given a raise or extra days off for no reason other than the sole purpose of responding to criticism, not included were those employees that have worked hard to earn extra pay or time off and were already over the newly established thresholds.

    On the assertion that no one in SparkNET leadership ever encouraged team members to submit reviews, while no one encouraged a "fake review", the truth is that the VP of the company did encourage team members to leave positive reviews.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The recent public comments and actions taken by leadership in response to the naysayers is creating even more resentment amongst your team. Most of what is left have been there long enough to see right through your side of the story. Responding to criticism that is over a year old does nothing to address the problems of today.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Good tech & employees, horrible management

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

    I worked at SparkNET Interactive full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Free food, decent benefits and most of the tools you need to do your job. Newer tech being used, too.

    Cons

    Narcissistic management. Very low pay for employees while management flaunts expensive toys and offices taking up half a floor. They will hire you with low pay promising it'll improve with performance, but it never does. They are always looking to have something on you to threaten, demean, and eventually fire you.

    Ignore the obvious PR feedback on Glassdoor. The company has pushed people to come up here and post scripted feedback with 5 stars in every category, with cons that sound positive for the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No point, they aren't listening.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    SparkNET Interactive Response

    Feb 11, 2014CEO

    I've never told anyone on our team to write a scripted review but when team members tell us that they really enjoy working here, heck YES, we'd ask them to share their experience. As for pay ... More

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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    Personality Cult Driven With Unfortunate Personalities

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

    I worked at SparkNET Interactive

    Pros

    Read the company website for the pros, but realize it's all window dressing. This place is a sweatshop, the developers are treated slightly better but ultimately anyone at the bottom is underpaid and treated with no respect.

    Also, be aware that benefits are subject to be taken away at any moment.

    Cons

    Company mantra is that you are always failing, and can be replaced at a moments notice, if they aren't hearing this directly, you can rest assure your supervisor is hearing about and is tried to protect you from their insanity.

    You will be treated like you deserve nothing until you are attained perfection. Fortunately upper management has already achieved this, and is now infallible.

    If you think of a small company as a family, this one is highly dysfunctional. Management cannot admit there is a problem, they refuse to take their meds, go to their meetings or see their shrink.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If this company was public the CEO and VP would have resigned or been forced out, my advice is for both of them to do that now, admit you failed and leave.

    But first, prepare the company to be relaunch without yourselves. Rehire you're fleeing development team, all the way back to developer #0. Entice them with massive salaries with back pay and hope they come back.

    Then leave the technology field forever.

    Alternatively, admit publicly you don't know what you're doing. Admit that you drove a Top 50 Alexa company into the ground by refusing to listen to your developers. Admit you are incompetent and cut your salaries to $1 until the company is profitable.

    Give every employee a 40% pay increase and increase pay until you are able to hire and retain senior level developers. Until then, stop claiming to be a technology company.

    Final option, admit you are the Walmart of Technology companies. During orientation include an anti-unionaization video and documentation on how to apply for government assistance. Because at your company wages, they will be eligible for government assistance.

    Admit that while times were good you will again sucked up the profits and never shared any of the gains with your employees, because you are the job creators. Continue to remind your employees they are lucky to have a job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    More Lies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Quality Control  in  De Pere, WI
    Former Employee - Quality Control in De Pere, WI

    I worked at SparkNET Interactive full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Free food and hmm, that's it.

    Cons

    I read the responses Knight/Knutson keep leaving to negative reviews trying to save face and can't help but laugh hysterically. I sure wish Glassdoor gave us reviewers the ability to respond to those responses. All of these negative reviews are spot-on, however.

    First off, YES, management did encourage current employees to 'fluff' the company up. Want to know why this is a fact? One, more than one person left a review on here claiming so. Quite the coincidence?? Second, I wasn't even employed with SpankNET anymore - but was forwarded the email by employees still unfortunate enough to work there - how else would I have known to graciously write a truthful review on Glassdoor if I had not heard about that?

    Next, I was supposedly given a 35-42% based on the response left to my initial review. So, take into consideration my starting pay was $10 and after 5 years I made less than $12 despite consistently leading the team in production along with QUALITY of production. Instead of pretending I made $13.50-$14.20, why not just admit you completely fail at big business ownership and management? How dare you try and refute my claims when I have paystubs to prove such things. Not to mention, out of everyone I knew employed there, I MADE MORE THAN THEM and was the longest tenured employee upon my departure! The only raise I ever got out of this place was a bathroom nooner with another employee.

    Also, as a side-note, it's disgusting to feel uncomfortable simply talking to the HR person about a problem without feeling like the only outcome is you being scolded.

    Let's follow up this honesty session by concluding the only people happy here are the people lining their own pockets, along with the people who have never had another job in their lives and think the ability to find an employer who respects and appreciates you is nonexistent because of the 'economy'.

    Folks, if you want something bad enough, it is yours for the taking. Don't succumb to the flashy style of SparkNUT. Find somewhere else that will truly listen to you and help you and recognizes your value. This is not the place for anything good unless you're into sitting in a hot tub containing the urine of your colleagues.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fold. And seriously, stop lying. The culture is absolutely brought on by poor leadership. You are the fuel to the negativity fire.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Fun and Freedom To Grow - Smart co-workers, Challenging Work

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

    I have been working at SparkNET Interactive full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Competitive pay, challenging work in a positive/encouraging culture, fun colleges to work with who are smart and challenge you to grow and become more; Friends and family are jealous of my cool work environment, slides from floor to floor; Matching 401k, Mind/Body/Fitness center with free weights, cardio, heated-yoga studio + thermal spa on-site, certified massage therapist available for low company-subsidized rate, healthy/organic food available from in-house chef, free drinks/popcorn/snacks, etc.; extremely casual dress code, gaming stations (ping pong, pool, foosball, video games, lan parties); College and continuing education reimbursement, and a manager that really cares about me as a person.

    Cons

    Every day you're solving problems that have never been solved before and that can be stressful; Company is constantly re-inventing itself and positions or opportunities change faster than typical companies...which means, if you like doing the same thing, year after year, this is not the right place for you; Some projects require a lot of time that may exceed a normal work-week; Not all positions lead to advancement and it's sometimes difficult to be promoted sideways or between departments; Sometimes I come an hour late for lunch in the cafeteria and they are all out of what was on the menu for the day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Always good to be increasing communication...

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good experience, but the "buck" stops there...literally

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

    I have been working at SparkNET Interactive full-time

    Pros

    Awesome building, free lunches, decent benefits package...great co-workers.

    Cons

    Low starting pay, non-existent raises (and the ones that are given are paltry at best), barely any time off, and yet we're expected to be motivated to provide loosely defined "value" other than our basic job functions. Micro-managing runs rampant, with the bosses chatting with co-workers all day and looking important mostly. Of the twenty-some "core values" painted on the 1st floor wall, "be clear in communication" is sloppily adhered to. Expectations are very unclear...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To the "CEO" I would recommend you not send a company-wide inspirational/motivational email and then blatantly wonder near the end why some of us "folks got hired." Not only is this highly unprofessional, but embarrassing for your sake. You should probably have some say in the hiring process, and if you want to call out individuals specifically that's one thing; but to cowardly throw this out there and make us wonder if we're valued employees is just unfathomable. It would be nice if the captain of this ship would address the crew members regularly so we know where we're sailing to and can provide the "value" you so desire. Otherwise, where's our direction? At least throw us some life preservers if you're unsure of the course we're on.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    SparkNET Interactive Response

    Jan 21, 2014CEO

    In terms of paid time off, as of right now, all full-time team members who have been here for more than 1 year, receive 10 days of paid time off plus 8 paid holidays plus paid sick days. I don't know ... More

  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Too good to be true

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

    I have been working at SparkNET Interactive full-time

    Pros

    Everything looks great at Sparknet but the only real pros are free lunch, coworkers and being on third floor with distractions like games and a view.

    Cons

    Pay is very minimal and real promotions only happen to spouses or good friends of “management” -and you have to be willing to suck up and be energetic about a company that doesn't have a strong stake in any certain industry anymore.

    Everything is transparent but the team leads think if they whisper to one person at a time no one will be the wiser. The team leaders are on power trips and don't respect the people actually working in their departments. There is a lot of micro management about time happening on their parts but lots of personal activities during work hours happening on their parts. They should be holding themselves to the same standards they hold their employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    We know you're scared about the future of the company - instead of ignoring your business problems by buying new ventures and trying to cover up Sparknet's down fall with staged photos and telling your employees to fake good reviews, do something valuable for the company. Pay what your employees deserve. You don't attract new employees because you're not fair. To the CEO - you should care more about things happening in your great building since its your name on the line. Fitness isn't our business and it shouldn't be the only thing focused on.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    SparkNET Interactive Response

    Jan 21, 2014CEO

    We don't micro-manage or at least no one here in management has a goal to micro-manage anything. We hire and train great people, give them tools to do their job and then do our best to get out of the ... More

  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    It was OK for experience, but I would never come back.

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

    I worked at SparkNET Interactive full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    There are a lot of perks like free lunch prepared by the on-site chef, 401k matching, slides, sauna, workout area, etc.

    Cons

    This company seems to care more about things than people as you can see by the building and all the amenities and perks (that's what everyone is most proud of). The culture is dictated by management, which obviously defeats the purpose. Pay is poor. Feedback is not welcome.

    Avoid if possible, but expect to be unhappy if you have to work here because unfortunately it's one of the better places in the area.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Acquire management skills. Seriously.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    SparkNET Interactive Response

    Jan 21, 2014CEO

    Feedback is always welcome. I disagree that culture is dictated by management but I do agree that our leadership team and myself, along with input from many team members... have worked for years to ... More

  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fast Paced, Cutting Edge Work in a Crazy Building

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Editorial  in  De Pere, WI
    Current Employee - Editorial in De Pere, WI

    I have been working at SparkNET Interactive full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    You can't find a tech start-up like this in the Midwest. It's a great opportunity to be able to do this kind of work without having to relocate away from friends and family. The work is fun, super fast paced and innovative. You are doing things that are on the cutting edge, so it's really exciting. Along with that, you get to work in a crazy building with slides, all kinds of fitness and gaming equipment, free lunch, and more. Free and low cost fitness classes with certified trainers are offered often.

    Cons

    Could always use more opportunities to interact with other departments and you do have to work really hard to get your ideas approved, but in the process you are learning great work ethic and life skills that will make you more successful in the long run.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More SparkNET socials!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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