Fandom Reviews | Glassdoor

Fandom Reviews

Updated May 22, 2017
59 reviews

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Fandom CEO Craig Palmer
Craig Palmer
32 Ratings

59 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The work/life balance is usually good (in 9 reviews)

  • Great location in SF, close to BART stations, plenty of restaurants and Whole Foods (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Senior Management is visibly unable to work well together (in 8 reviews)

  • Complete lack of trust between teams leads to a lot of blame, finger pointing, and clique culture (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (9)

    "Run as far away as you can."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Fandom full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Conveniently located
    - Able to work autonomously
    - Booze is free? I guess?

    Cons

    Bottom line: you're just a cog in the machine. If you're seeking employment here, know that your teammates are basically like the musicians on the Titanic... meaning this boat's a-sinking, and you're gonna go down with the captain.

    Advice to Management

    Get that $$$$ while you can, cause it's gonna run out.


  2. Helpful (17)

    "Mismanaged From Top Down"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Fandom full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Reasonably good pay and benefits
    Nice location in downtown SF
    Good food in the kitchen
    Some nice coworkers who genuinely want to do good work

    Cons

    There are many problems here, particularly in that there are too many generals and not enough soldiers. Or more accurately, many soldiers who get away with acting like generals. The company is in DESPERATE need of people who make things, but keep hiring more and more people to boss around community development, design, and writers.

    Instead, you have a brigade of micromanagers bossing around people who aren't even supposed to be their subordinates. It's made even worse when most of those micromanagers have ZERO concept of how a real website works today, or even most of the content Fandom covers.

    Also, the staff just keeps shrinking and shrinking. Since the major layoffs in December of 2016, many more employees saw the blood in the water and have gotten new employment. Wikia moves disdainfully slow in hiring replacements, and in most cases prioritizes more management out of the open positions, leaving the remaining creators to do two or three jobs instead of the one they were hired for.

    But for all the annoying micromanagement and passive aggressive communication between the dwindling staff, I've got to put the majority of the blame on the dopes running the show. To be clear, the top level execs supposedly running things couldn't figure out a way out of a paper bag together, let alone execute website content in any modern sense.

    This company is lost, mainly thanks to those clueless/terrible/bullying executives. Wikia's biggest folly is attempting to create a website today while having no clue how to do it. No idea what the competition is doing or how to make money off a website or what kind of budget is needed.

    Despite their claims otherwise, leadership doesn't actually want to hear what they're doing wrong or will make any claims to fix it. The nicest thing they'll say is "I hear your issues, but I guess you just need to work harder." They'll hear what you have to say, and then do exactly what they felt like because your opinion doesn't really matter.

    Even worse than the executive ignorance is that they're obscenely distrustful of their entire team. Even as profits fall and layoffs happen, even as most of their best employees quit, these fools are dead certain they know better than anyone. They hire for expertise and then ignore every expert on the payroll. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it profitable.

    Truly, the highest level execs are too full of themselves to realize how incredibly stupid they are. You have to explain simple concepts to them over and over again, in bullet-pointed emails, and they still won't get it. You can do 95% of the work, make the presentation, even get a verbal yes on something, and then nothing happens because they got distracted by the next shiny object.

    Lastly, their maddening answer to any problem is MORE MANAGERS. There are too many as it is, but nope, you need more people to suggest how someone else could do their job better. But what else would you expect from a company that only trust their own frat boy behavior to lead them to the promised land?

    Advice to Management

    Use all that money you're spending on pricey new execs and management to buy a freaking clue. Read the Wikis and content you post ads on, then think about why anyone would ever want to read it.

    Maybe stop thinking some new savior will appear to save your company overnight and THEN not give that savior any of the budget or staff they need to achieve that plan.

    Lastly, in the next round of catastrophic layoffs you schedule before a major holiday, start with the wasteful morons on top, not the regular employees just carrying out your asinine orders. Take responsibility for something in your miserable lives.


  3. Helpful (14)

    "Fandom = Failure"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Fandom full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Great location in SF, close to BART stations, plenty of restaurants and Whole Foods.

    - Well-stocked kitchen that staff members can take food and drinks from at will.

    - Good camaraderie between low and mid-level employees.

    - Generally laid-back office environment with plenty of places to work comfortably.

    - Great benefits.

    Cons

    Where to begin? For starters, if you check out every negative review of Fandom on Glassdoor, you'll notice many similarities—this is NO coincidence. But here's a breakdown:

    - Managers only respect one thing: other managers. If you delegate or are an "idea person," you're viewed as a vital member of the Fandom team. If you actually create things, your skills are not valued or celebrated in any sense. Not incredibly surprising from an editorial site built around posting work from writers working for zero money. (And you definitely get what you pay for.)

    - Unrealistic expectations for an incredibly small editorial team. If you want to be a real website, you NEED to staff up. After the catastrophic layoffs happened in December '16, few editorial positions were replaced. Instead, a new line of (you guessed it) managers were hired to further micromanage a team trying to put out the best work they can with the limited resources available. You need PEOPLE to make stuff, yo.

    - Extremely poor leadership. The people with the power to make decisions DON'T, leaving those of us working at this incredibly wealthy company feeling absolutely squandered. Absolutely no planning went into the original launch of Fandom, leaving us as a 2017 website that barely has the capability to create more than text-based articles. There's no appropriate place to record video OR audio; instead, we have rooms full of decaying equipment going unused because no one wants to be on the hook for a decision that could potentially lose Wikia money.

    - Absolutely no vision as to what a website should be in 2017. Every day we hear vague messages about Fandom's "voice" and "brand," but no one is empowered to help the website find these things. Expertise is dismissed and despised, and instead, empty and valueless Steve Jobs-esque guru-style wisdom is viewed as the capital-T Truth. Think you have the years of experience to back up your ideas? Be prepared to hear platitudes like "think outside the box" (which should be illegal in any corporate office) with no real solutions to understand how your ideas can "improve."

    Advice to Management

    Value, trust, and, more importantly, LISTEN TO the people who actually make content. Understand you have to SPEND MONEY to build a website people actually want to visit. Know that you need to create a box first before anyone can "think outside of" it. Realize your vague conventional wisdom doesn't mean a thing to the people who create and consume the kind of content you hope to one day profit from. No one visits this website, and you're the reason why.

    Fandom Response

    May 11, 2017 – SVP of Content

    I really appreciate your feedback. I wish you would feel comfortable talking to us about your concerns. We've tried to create an environment where all ideas are listened to. I'm a big believer in ... More


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  5. Helpful (14)

    "Interpersonally pleasant, professionally aimless"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Fandom full-time

    Pros

    • The junior and midlevel employees are active, engaged, and friendly. There are lots of bright people and they are willing to help. In general, people treat each other well.

    • Being surrounded by pop culture is fun.

    • The office in San Francisco is buzzy. There's always a lot of energy. It's easy to access from BART, Caltrain, and the freeway.

    Cons

    • 2002 called and it wants its fresh, new ideas back. Building an editorial platform might've been the ticket to success at Mashable and Buzzfeed and Sportingnews, but Fandom Editorial isn't going to overtake Nerdist or any of the other fourteen trillion editorial pop culture websites that have first mover advantage on us.

    • The users of our (now legacy) wiki site have taken notice that we don't really care about them anymore and are planning to move on to other hosts. This is an open secret that the community team doesn't appear interested in squashing.

    • The product design is not good. Our new products are load-heavy and cannot survive in a web ecosystem that demands pages load in a second or less. This can't be optimized away. The products themselves are fatally flawed, and with how many resources were poured into them, they won't be junked (like they should be).

    • Try to load a page on Fandom mobile. Notice the ads? They won't get better with video. We are trying to create a "premium ad experience" for advertisers, not users. It sucks.

    • It is easy to pretend like revenue is growing by citing direct ad sales, but we all know that revenue is crashing. There's a Death March feeling around the junior and mid-level employees, especially after the very unexpected layoffs in December.

    • The management pretends to be honest with us, but leaks and loud rumors from different departments tell the opposite story.

    • Infighting among C-levels is obvious. The factions among top staff could fill a whole season of Game of Thrones. As a result, you'll get different directives from different C-levels on different days.

    Advice to Management

    Quit throwing good money after bad and ditch the very slow site design that we're doubling down on. Right now, our core product is getting worse by the hour.

    Fandom Response

    May 9, 2017 – VP, Community

    Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback here on Glassdoor. In the past 18 months we’ve been working on a new direction for the entire business and change is sometimes hard. We’ve been ... More


  6. Helpful (17)

    "Misdirected and mismanaged"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Fandom full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I worked here when it was known as Wikia, the Universe of Fandom. Here, I had opportunities to lead high-level projects. The projects were often fun, not only because of the topics but because I'd get to geek out with coworkers. I worked with some of the brightest, most compassionate, dedicated, lovable people at this company. Together with our users, we perpetuated, chronicled, and celebrated culture.

    Cons

    Too bad many of those amazingly dedicated coworkers I mentioned were either laid off or quit early, feeling disillusioned and spent. Management was consistently inconsistent. I quit because I was often doing the work of my managers due to poor time management, lack of resources and organization. Although I was often doing work well out of my scope and often taking the lead on projects, I was told I still had to work harder for a title change and appropriate compensation. When I was interviewed for my role, I was told I'd have opportunities to go to conventions and culture events for research. Later, I was told there was no budget.

    The team I was on was often neglected. In the time I was there, we didn't go on any team building or bonding off sites. Issues within the team were given band-aid solutions that avoided the negligence and ineptitude of senior managers and their subordinates. We worked long hours and weekends because of poorly thought out high-level strategies. Some projects that we worked on for months were abandoned without much explanation. Other projects that should have taken days took several months. Mentorship was nil. Talents weren't encouraged and nurtured. We were often forced to work on our own instead of being orchestrated as a team. I felt unappreciated and jerked around by my managers. I knew this was because of a trickle-down effect from senior management who were not sure what to prioritize and were at a loss of what it meant to "own Fandom." Many of the senior staff aren't even completely sure what they are selling. It's a bad sign when a founder isn't sure how to explain what is Wikia, now known as Fandom. At a company meeting in 2015, an employee asked him how he'd explain Wikia. He looked confused. I was embarrassed.

    The values of the company are vague and questionable. The company is at the mercy of it's users and the content the users generate. Without the users, their dedication, and attention to detail, the company is nothing. The users and their communities are not given the power and recognition they deserve. As much as I advocated for those who comprise Wikia/Fandom, it felt that there were always other priorities.

    Advice to Management

    Foster a diverse team of caring, open, communicative, authentic, well-read, knowledgeable leaders who actually give a damn. Try to understand fully what Fandom really is: something Wikia execs could never truly own. The real fans own it. Listen to them.


  7. Helpful (23)

    "I'm pretty sure Fandom is a Horcrux"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Fandom full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I have some nice colleagues that I really believe in. The work/life balance is usually good. Benefits are pretty reliable and satisfying.

    Cons

    The C-level leadership is a joke. They are ego-driven, petty and reactive. Gotcha questions abound just so they can be the smartest man (yes, white man) in the room. There's no alignment or consistency in what the company actually hopes to achieve or what the end-game is. This creates cabals and cliques with no clear way to get any meaningful work done other than through politics.

    Not a single soul on the current leadership created what makes Fandom successful — they merely inherited it. By all available evidence they are willing to destroy what is successful (communities creating unique content, wikis) in order to have their own copycat ideas succeed (low-quality editorial content, blogs).

    I hoped the December layoffs would be a wake-up call. Nope. Still hell. Anyone have any job leads?

    Advice to Management

    Stop posting fake Glassdoor reviews. Resign.

    Fandom Response

    Apr 14, 2017 – President and CEO

    As always, I appreciate the feedback. Change is always hard and it is true, the company evolved it's strategy in the last year. This change in strategy expanded the focus of the company from ... More


  8. Helpful (5)

    "A Really Good Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fandom full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Wikia is a great place to work - the Company is evolving to be more of a media company and using its strengths (including its huge fan base and extremely knowledgeable/ passionate fans) to make this a success while at the same time nurturing and growing its core business which are its communities. Management has been very open about this and associated developments and the opportunities are huge.
    The employees at Wikia are engaged, caring and motivated. Management is strong, communicative and, from my perspective, makes the right decisions.

    Cons

    With the company's evolution there has been some change including some layoffs and some new hires. Also, change can be hard. While some decisions have probably been difficult to make, they had to be made. It is fine for those who disagree with the decisions to criticize them; however, some of the posted comments cross the line from critical to personal, and that is unfortunate (some may say it is to be expected). Regardless, the bottom line for me is that the company is on the right path and the results prove it.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to be transparent with your decisions. Solicit feedback from employees.

    Fandom Response

    Apr 14, 2017 – President and CEO

    Thanks for your feedback. I've been at this 30 years and agree that change is always hard. We will take your advice to heart. We have been holding company meetings very frequently this year to ... More


  9. Helpful (15)

    "A huge disappointment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Fandom full-time

    Pros

    Fantastic benefits, fun co-workers, and exciting access into the world of movies, TV shows, and games.

    Cons

    Terrible management since the layoffs in December 2016. Even since then, truly talented and immensely experienced people have (wisely) left or been foolishly fired. The change in direction has been poorly handled at best and downright horrendous at worst. Certain departments are given carte blanche thanks to favoritism by higher-ups while other departments are held back in what seems to be a setup for failure. Worst of all in that regard, it's the creative departments that have been mistreated the worst while non-creative departments are taking over creative functions and performing duties that they shouldn't be doing. Mixed messaging is a constant problem that doesn't look to be fixed any time soon. It really feels like there is some form of self-sabotage going on at an executive level in order to clean house without having to fire a whole bunch of people.

    Advice to Management

    Empower the departments that will eventually (read: maybe, if the ship doesn't sink) be the driving forces of your company. Stop treating yourselves like you've already won some kind of brand victory because you have a bunch of followers on Facebook or one of your executives showed up at some conference. Give the employees who best exemplify your brand name - true fans with creative passion and unique voices - all the tools and leeway they need to excel. Once they can actually make something worthwhile, then you will start to benefit as well.

    Fandom Response

    Apr 14, 2017 – President and CEO

    As always, I appreciate the feedback. Change is always hard and it is true, the company evolved it's strategy in the last year. This change in strategy expanded the focus of the company from ... More


  10. Helpful (22)

    "The company is collapsing."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Product Manager
    Current Employee - Senior Product Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Fandom full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Fun work environment for moms, lazy people and pretenders.

    Cons

    Seriously, people keep leaving! Management is awful and executives don't know how to manage a large company at all. No good vision, not care about people who actually work hard, and they only want to be CEO's pets. The only solution to save the company is to fire themselves who don't do a good job but get paid tons.

    Advice to Management

    Stop keeping lying to your employees, and treat people fairly.

    Fandom Response

    Mar 29, 2017 – Chief Product Officer

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience at Fandom, we genuinely appreciate the feedback. It’s important to me that our vision for the business is clearly articulated to absolutely ... More


  11. Helpful (3)

    "A great place, but with big flaws"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fandom full-time

    Pros

    Working in Fandom has provided an enormous improvement in life quality. The company culture emphasizes the importance of balance between work and personal life. Managers are open to let their employees work from home a few times a week as long as their projects are delivered.

    Cons

    There have been too many changes in a short period of time and it has affected a lot the environment. Some people that have been there for a while don't feel part of the company anymore.

    Advice to Management

    When opening new positions, try to take a better look inside of the company instead of rushing out to the market to get someone new. Some employees do have the skills necessary to thrive in other areas and provide even more value to the company compared to what they provide right now. It's just a matter of developing the talent the company already has and improving the process for them to get to the teams they can excel at.

    Fandom Response

    Apr 14, 2017 – President and CEO

    Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it. I agree with you -- there have been a lot of changes in the company in a short amount of time and that has affected the environment. As a CEO that has ... More


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