Cactus Communications Employee Reviews about "work from home"

Updated Jan 20, 2021

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3.1
53%
Recommend to a Friend
51%
Approve of CEO
Cactus Communications Co-Founder and CEO   Abhishek Goel (no image)
Abhishek Goel
11 Ratings
Pros
  • "Extremely flexible in terms of work hours and work from home(in 63 reviews)

  • "This is my second freelance contract with Cactus(in 63 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Only join if you really enjoy editing(in 158 reviews)

  • "Editors are paid per word but work on more than just words(in 101 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

    Reviews about "work from home"

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Science Editor

      Sep 17, 2018 - Science Editor 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Able to work from home

      Cons

      Sometimes slow response to questions

      12 people found this review helpful
    2. 4.0
      Current Freelancer, less than 1 year

      Good, could be better.

      Jul 12, 2019 - Freelance Scientific Editor in Houston, TX
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Work from home or wherever you are. Able to take on as much or as little as you want. Consistent availability of work for freelancers with high ratings. Some high quality research pass by this company. Very good for beginning a career in science communications. If you don't have a job, this is better than nothing, but make sure you save time to apply for a job with benefits/insurance. If you have a job, it's a good source of side income. They also have a very good job assignment interface. Sometimes, when you can't make deadlines, the supervisors can be graciously flexible as long as you request an extension before the deadline.

      Cons

      Quality Rating system sometimes flawed/biased. Too low paying for US based editors. You can not pay your bills with this. No benefits. Employing job-seeking PhDs for peanuts. Sneaky contract - you not only edit, but are also compelled do journal formatting for free, which might take as much time as editing. You complain and then, you are referred to your contract. They don't care about you, just their assignments. I find that callous. Extremely slow response to emails unassociated with a pending job deadline.

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      7 people found this review helpful
    3. 1.0
      Current Freelancer

      polite and friendly

      May 7, 2020 - Editor in Long Beach, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Flexible , remote work from home

      Cons

      Very poor pay not corresponding to workload, unprofessional staff

      3 people found this review helpful

      Cactus Communications Response

      Associate, Freelancer Engagement

      Thank you for your feedback. We are glad that you found the work flexible. I am extremely concerned to hear that you found the staff unprofessional. We always try to ensure that our editors have an overall good experience with us. If there are any specific instances that you would like to discuss, please reach out to me at tanvi.devpura@cactusglobal.com and I will look into it right away. Best, Tanvi Devpura Associate, Freelancer Engagement

    4. 1.0
      Former Freelancer, more than 1 year

      Work here only if you have a high level of threshold for pain and no Ego

      Sep 11, 2019 - Freelancer in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      I am writing this from the view point of a freelancer, so both pros and cons should be viewed from that perspective. Also US based. The BIG PRO is you can work from home. Also a secondary minor pro, is as a former academic and researcher, it gave me a chance to read on some of the latest academic work being done in my field primarily in non-US and non-European countries and so the reading was mildly interesting and relevant to me.

      Cons

      I would like to re-iterate something an earlier reviewer wrote -- "it doesn’t make any difference to the company because as a freelancer, you are completely replaceable, so your inconvenient opinions are not really important." Keep that in mind when if you do decide to take up freelance work here. The papers that you are asked to review vary wildly in quality from "poor" to "ridiculous-do-you-call-this-English". So be prepared to take significant pain when editing these papers. If you are like me ( and I am sure most of you are), then you would like to get the quality up to good standards and believe me that will take lots of time and maybe multiple sessions to avoid splitting headaches and sense of helplessness that will envelop you at various points. So anyway, it all boils down to that the PAY IS WAY INSIGNIFICANT (At least by US standards -- in other countries like India, you can probably do ok). Some of the papers are such disaster zones, that they should consider giving you hazard pay, but they do not. They treat all incoming papers to be of the same high pristine quality. Ok while the above talks about the work and low pay, the next indignity they hurl at you is the QI score. After spending several painstaking hours and making some thousands of massive edits (believe me that is the norm and standard number of edits you will make), you will get a feedback that shows anywhere from 1 to 10 extremely minor edits that will knock your rating from a 4 to a 2. There are several ways of looking at this. 1) After a massive qty of edits, finding less than 10 edits means an awesome error rate of less than 0.01% -- So you are supposed to get Kudos right!!, or 2) Again after fixing some massive editorial issues, you end up find stupid errors like a missing comma -- again awesome major editorial issues fixed and have someone junior level with no scientific knowledge review to find minor grammatical errors is not such a bad deal. But what really happens is 3) the QI reviewers says because of the three mistakes, we could not send it to the final author directly so we are knocking you down. The main intent is ofcourse to drop your pay rates based on low QI score. I happened to receive a request to re-edit a document from a previous edit attempt and I was aghast at the quality of the edit. Basically fixed the grammar issues and not worry about flow or content and the paper read like junk and I figured that is the quality they are after and not a thorough editorial review. Fix only the obvious grammar mistakes and you are probably good (no idea as I never tried that). But as I said unfortunately the papers incoming are poor quality -- think of someone taking a bunch of random English words and putting them in a mixer and outputting that garbage into a sentence -- that is the quality of the language I found in at least 25% of the papers. So after the low pay indignity and the QI review Ego boost, the last thing is communication is so bad, to be almost non-existent. I complained about the QI rating and the first thing I noticed to indicate that someone read that email is I stopped received any new assignments (REALLY!!!! -- It seems so punitive). So I did not do anything and after 2-3 weeks got a canned response defending the reviewers and how important it is for customers to get good documents -- blah blah blah.. and then they turned the tap on. Suddenly they stopped sending documents again! So bad bad communications...

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      10 people found this review helpful

      Cactus Communications Response

      Head, Editorial Services

      Thank you for sharing your very detailed feedback. Obviously, I'm concerned by most of the points you've made, but I'm also aware that there's scope for improvement. I do want to reiterate though that we want to create a better experience for our editors overall, and I'm aware we have some ground to cover. Specifically, we have a dedicated group of individuals who focus on freelancer experience, and we're working on several of the issues you've raised, including the quality and timeliness of communication and the fairness and consistency of feedback provided. There's no excuse for the lack of communication, especially about the availability of assignments, and I'm very sorry about this. Since we're in the business of helping ESL authors with language editing , we do expect to receive poorly written documents from time to time though. I'm sorry again for the poor experience you've had working with us. If you'd like to discuss this further, please feel free to reach out to me at christinem@cactusglobal.com. Best, Christine

    5. 2.0
      Current Employee

      Dead-end job - low pay

      Jan 1, 2017 - Freelancer in Los Angeles, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The only pro is that you can work from home.

      Cons

      Cactus/Editage does not offer salaried positions or references to freelancers. Your name isn't given to authors so you cannot build a "reputation" for your editing services. Doing this job will not advance your career or earning ability in any way. Extremely low pay (less than US minimum hourly wage) for meticulous editing and what amounts to a semi-translation/semi-peer review. Constant demands that you do work for free. If you get these, you can email them and tell them you won't do the job but it's very annoying getting these requests. Lately, almost all assignments have less than a 48-hour deadline. Given the amount of work the documents need, this isn't reasonable. These jobs can't be accepted if you want to keep a good QFR and your deadline conformance at 100% (and they don't pay you for jobs that go over deadline). Even though there are a lot of jobs on the Whiteboard right now, no freelancer can take them because the time given is too short.

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      78 people found this review helpful
    6. 1.0
      Former Freelancer, less than 1 year

      READ THE REVIEWS: Cactus is unfortunately a scam. All of my colleagues quit after 1 week. Use Fiverr/Upwork instead.

      Jan 7, 2017 - Medical Editor in Nashville, TN
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Flexible Hours Work from home You can take long breaks Extremely advanced and organized online platform Kind and responsive staff

      Cons

      "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." I was so excited when I saw this opportunity. The staff seemed so nice when they reached out. They promised wages of up to $4k per month, and all work-from-home! Sounds great, right? A number of my friends applied for the job as well. The pay is $14 for every 1000 words. Sounds reasonable right? Here is the catch: They expect you to take an incomprehensive text and make it worthy of top journalistic standards. Any remaining error is YOUR fault, even though you salvaged this illegible "research paper" from going into someone's junk folder. Most of the time, you can't even READ through 1000 words in less than 2 hours, since it takes so long to decipher the meaning. Just imagine how many hours it actually takes to edit. THEN, they expect you to write a report and continue doing more edits. FOR FREE. You know what they charge their clients? $330/1000 words minimum. Check editage.com. Like the other reviewers have mentioned, once you calculate your final wages, it makes zero sense to continue working for Cactus. You end up making about $2/hour, while they pocket HUNDREDS for your time. If you are a native English speaker, let alone have a degree, why would you EVER bother working for them? They're scaring their qualified editors away. I feel bad for their clients. They're probably paying hundreds of dollars an hour to have their work edited by their fellow Indians.

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      24 people found this review helpful
    7. 4.0
      Current Freelancer, less than 1 year

      Great Opportunity!

      Mar 10, 2016 - Freelance Editor in Atlanta, GA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      One of the great things about Cactus is that you don't need any prior editing experience to work as a freelance editor. As long as you can pass their entrance test, provide high quality editing, and meet their deadlines, they are more than happy to provide you with more than enough work to keep you busy. Since the work is freelance, you can also work at your own pace and on your own schedule, which is perfect for recent graduates, anyone between jobs, or freelancers looking for additional opportunities. I joined the ranks of Cactus a few months ago and have been pleased with move. Many other companies require extensive experience and offer much less pay. Although you will certainly work hard to meet the high standards of Cactus, their pay is very reasonable, and the company also provides generous incentives for freelancers who consistently provide high-quality work. I've seen some posts that complain about the pay rate, but personally, I've found that my efficiency is constantly improving, and it's hard to argue when I'm able to work from home, on my own schedule, and even when traveling. In addition, the staff is also extremely friendly and polite, which is more than I could say for many of my previous employers, and they consistently provide feedback that is useful for achieving the highest pay rates. Overall, I've been grateful for the opportunity, and look forward to continuing my work with Cactus.

      Cons

      The time difference is sometimes an issue (10.5 hours for me), since employees at the main office in Mumbai are not always available to respond immediately. However, more often than not, they respond quickly, and when they don't, I've found that their responses are so reasonable and helpful that it would be difficult to consider this a true "con". The rating system that Cactus uses can seem a little harsh at times, but again, the system is also reasonable, and if you consistently provide high-quality work, then it really shouldn't be a problem. The only real issue that I have is that freelancers have to pay a fee when paid. PayPal charges a 3.9% fee, which can add up if you're doing a lot of work, but the company can also set you up with a Payoneer account that only charges a few dollars per transfer.

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      2 people found this review helpful
    8. 2.0
      Former Freelancer

      Dead-end job, extremely low pay, dodgy practices

      Dec 2, 2016 - Freelancer in Detroit, MI
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Work from home. The money you earn is sent on time and without fail.

      Cons

      1. The idea that freelance editing for Cactus (or Editage as their clients know them) is a good starting point from which to gain a better editing position seems mistaken. As another reviewer stated, this is not a job for beginners. You must sign a non-disclosure agreement so you can't use edited documents for a "portfolio" to show prospective employers or clients. Cactus doesn't seem to have any track for (or interest in) hiring freelancers for permanent positions, and there's no indication they're willing to write references so who knows how they'd react if you asked for one. As your full name isn't presented to authors, it isn't good for beginning a freelance career outside Cactus either. 2. You edit technical papers written in English ranging from ok-very poor. I suspect some were run through Google Translate or similar, but your rate of pay is the same regardless. You edit language and content. You must analyze the entire manuscript and fully understand the topic. The work lies somewhere between that of editor, preliminary peer-reviewer, and translator. Doing it right is time-consuming and when you're done the finished document is usually heavily red-lined and has a continuous stream of comments from you. For a 4000 word document you get about $100 to start and a bit more if you have a good quality rating. If it took you approximately six hours (an optimistic estimate for most documents), you made <$20 per hour for your editing/formatting and technical expertise. The required extra unpaid work reduces this further: A. Cover letter summarizing the article in a way that will interest a potential publisher. Add another half hour onto the time it takes to do the job. B. Letter to the author detailing the strengths/weaknesses of their document complete with a learning tip and a grade card you have to fill out. Add another half hour. C. While editing documents written in poor English, you will encounter indecipherable sentences. Many of your comments will be seeking clarification from the author. Days-weeks later, the document is reassigned to you after the author revises it and answers your questions. You need to edit revisions and review the rest.This can take another couple hours, and you will receive no money. With all the unpaid stuff you're probably down to < $15/hr. Revision editing occurs until the author is satisfied, and each return drops your hourly pay even more for that document. Another thing about these revisions and the ones described in #s 3 and 4 is that the time you get to do the work is arbitrary. You could get a 5000-word document for extensive revision with a two-day deadline. 3. If the first journal the author submits the document to rejects it, you discover this weeks-months later when it is reassigned to you as the author wants it reedited/reformatted for another journal. This reformatting can sometimes require completely rewriting the abstract in a different style, reducing the word count by 100's of words, editing text that was revised in the interim, and redoing all the references. Your pay? Often no pay is offered. If you complain, they will offer you 10% of your standard rate. Now you're redoing that 4000-word document for approximately $10. You do the math on the $/hr - not good. All this because the article was rejected for reasons that were not your fault. Because you're a freelancer, you have the option of refusing the reformatting job. In that case, presumably someone else gets 50% of their standard rate to do it. 4. If the article receives peer-review comments requiring an answer in some cases you're expected to edit the author's response letter (and manuscript revisions) for free even though you aren't paid more for those jobs up front. Again, this requires you to analyze the content, not just edit it. Authors pay more for the service if it comes with a free response letter check (see the company web site) but none of the extra money is passed along to the editors. 5. I agree with the previous reviewers who said people in the US don't get a fair shot at the best assignments even if they have a close to perfect quality rating (aka, QFR). Most assignments are posted between 12am- 6am US time (10:30am-4:30pm India time). During slow times you can't get any work at all. I saw some shockingly poor English in MRE's - maybe that wouldn't happen if native English speakers with a high QFR were given the job in the first place. It's ridiculous that documents due in two days are paid at the same rate as those with a five-day deadline. In what world do authors get a rush job at the same rate as a standard one? - but Editage doesn't pass any express bonus to editors. The rate paid for a document over 7,999 words causes you to earn less for an 8000-word document than a 7000-word document. The first 8000 should be paid at the usual rate with only the words over the 8000th being paid at the lesser. 6. Then there's the monthly bulletin with the same names on the graphs each time and a list of the 50 editors with the highest number of words edited that month. The numbers make little sense. Example, most months the top editor supposedly edited an average of > 10,000 words per day for 30-31 days straight (plus cover letters and grade cards for each document that aren't included in this word count). There's simply no way someone could edit the material I saw to the expected standard that quickly. Either that number is bologna or the "top editors" are getting easier content (or doing a different job) than everyone else. Also, if you add up the words edited by the top 50 each month, the number shows no significant seasonal variation. So, are these people getting first crack at the good stuff and everyone else just gets the overflow they don't want? Certainly, the number of words these 50 edit between them didn't show on my Whiteboard. It was fishy.

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      14 people found this review helpful
    9. 3.0
      Current Employee

      Entry level freelance neurobiology/neuroscience editor

      Feb 19, 2015 - Freelance Science Editor in San Diego, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      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.

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      8 people found this review helpful
    10. 1.0
      Former Freelancer

      Unreliable

      Nov 4, 2020 - Scientific Editor in Christchurch, Canterbury
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      You can work from home without a minimum work quota.

      Cons

      I worked for these people for more than two years, but despite the fact that 76% of my client ratings were at the very top of the scale, with practically no complaints, and was massively overqualified for the job, they stopped consistently sending me work after covid. This reached a point where the job was no longer sustainable for me, and when I asked them why, they ignored me. I guess they had more than enough workers due to covid, and I also think they might have decided to mistreat me because I'd sometimes complained about their marking, which was often of a low standard. Also be aware that the company doesn't give references for freelancers.

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      1 person found this review helpful

      Cactus Communications Response

      Head, Editorial Services

      Hello, Thank you for your feedback. I'm really sorry you feel like your contributions weren't valued at CACTUS and that you stopped seeing work because of the pandemic. I'm tempted to believe that there was some sort of misunderstanding there, because we didn't intend to limit the amount of work our editors were seeing, especially those with a good track record. If you're still interested in working with CACTUS, please do reach out to us. You can email me at christinem@cactusglobal.com. We encourage our editors to raise any concerns about the feedback they receive with their point of contact. I apologize if you felt our responses were biased in favor of the reviewer - we do conduct regular discussions with the team to ensure that requests are treated fairly and in alignment with customer expectations. At a time like this, we're fortunate to be able to contribute in a small way by closely supporting scientific communication. We've been able to provide a continuous source of income to our freelance community as well, and in fact we took a few additional steps to provide support during the pandemic: - we had a professional counsellor available on call for our contractual editors to speak with - in July, we credited payments earlier than usual to help editors with financial commitments - we had virtual catch-ups with some of our contractual editors - and we had healthcare workers within our editor community share stories about their work Once again, I apologize for any misunderstanding. Please reach out to us if you'd like to work with CACTUS again. Best, Christine

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