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WhatCulture Reviews

Updated Jun 16, 2019

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2.4
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36%
Recommend to a Friend
46%
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WhatCulture CEO 	Peter Willis (no image)
Peter Willis
16 Ratings
  1. Helpful (1)

    "Work hard play hard"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at WhatCulture full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Hard work pays off

    Cons

    Matt the boss isn’t good

    Advice to Management

    Sack Matt

    WhatCulture2019-06-16
  2. Helpful (1)

    "Bizarre experience, with a petty and mean-spirited leader at the helm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Freelancer - Anonymous Freelancer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at WhatCulture

    Pros

    None. Please avoid and pitch to other sites with pleasant, professional people at the helm.

    Cons

    Communication was only over skype, with Matt Holmes. who behaved bizarrely. He ghosted me when I chased up a late payment, before posting a very specific 'style guide' note on the online portal, visible to all writers, that quite clearly was written as a dig against my way of emailing. I was honestly baffled - I hadn't done anything wrong and had been polite in asking after the payment. I had also pitched a few... features, with all the details they required, but 7 of the 8 were deleted off the portal without comment in the space of an hour. After this, I took the 'approved' one off myself because honestly, no one should have to put up with this weird behaviour. Why would someone be like this without any provocation?

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    Advice to Management

    Good god, Matt Holmes shouldn't be in charge of anything.

    WhatCulture2019-05-23
  3. "Don't expect too much."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Writer and Editor 
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at WhatCulture for less than a year

    Pros

    They advertise the articles well Pretty good pay Enough creative freedom to pitch and write

    Cons

    Zero constructive criticism Will reject pitches for little to no reason Quite condescending in feedback

    Advice to Management

    Please give some feedback instead of just rejecting everything

    WhatCulture2018-11-24
  4. "WhatCulture"

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    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor 

    I worked at WhatCulture

    Pros

    You can work your own hours. You can write about fun topics. Some of the people are very pleasant. Regular and prompt payments.

    Cons

    Some of the people are not so pleasant. Different people (some of which with somewhat irrational standards) can overlook your work, which can lead to conflicting feedback.

    WhatCulture2018-11-20
  5. Helpful (5)

    "The Most Toxic Company Imaginable"

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

    I worked at WhatCulture full-time

    Pros

    I can’t think of a single pro. Working here for any period of time is genuinely going to make you depressed.

    Cons

    I worked a long stint at WhatCulture over several years, and all I can say is that the experience was hellish from start to finish. There are a number of reasons for this, but really it’s all to do with Matt Holmes, the immensely ill-qualified Editor-in-Chief who runs this company with absolutely no respect for any of his employees. Matt is the sort of person who will declare his allegiance to you one day and then... fire you the next. He is a user who literally sucks the life out of his employees and creates a work atmosphere built on anxiety and his own random whims. He has little knowledge regarding the subject matter and no writing skills, and yet he lords over his employees as though they are worthless and dispensable. The worst thing about Matt, though, is his relentless passive-aggressiveness, coupled with his outright refusal to promote himself on social media or reveal himself in person. He is clearly a man who knows that his reputation is downright terrible, and has no choice but to operate via computer screens and Skype conversations as a result. It is incredibly frustrating that this company has been met with such huge financial rewards. Working under Matt made me genuinely depressed; I had no idea where I stood or what I was doing at any given time. I spent years worrying about what he might say to me next, or when he’d “suggest” a new, poorly-devised work scheme in place of a previous arrangement we’d agreed upon, leaving me no choice but to accept. I still haven’t recovered from this experience and it has negatively affected my work life. I’m downright sure that the other, better staff members over at WhatCulture know that Matt is both unqualified for his post and is an all-round terrible manager, but have no choice but to humour him or face the guillotine. It’s sad. He is the work equivalent of a gaslighter - I’m so ashamed that my years of hard work have since served me no favours career-wise, but have made him tons of money. This may sound like a personal rant, but search around the internet and you will find a dozen similar tales of Holmes’ treachery, deceit and shady practices. It was these accounts that inspired me to come forward with my own story. I just hope that he gets his cumuppance in the end.

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    Advice to Management

    Hire a professional to manage the company; Matt Holmes should take a back seat, or disappear entirely.

    WhatCulture2018-11-26
  6. "Most comfortable I've felt in a job!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newcastle upon Tyne, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at WhatCulture full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    It's an incredibly laid back environment where everyone chats to everyone. There's about 20 people or so in the office who all get along and have a laugh with each other. Staff nights out on payday each month, as well as when anyone fancies a pint/good food after work. There's a pool table/darts board/PS4 if you need time to unwind or fancy a game of something at lunch time. There's a bunch of different... channels that people work on, so it's easy to work on something you're interested in, whether that be Film & TV, Gaming, Wrestling, or Sport. Whilst there's a nice cafe on the ground floor of the building to get food, someone will usually mention in the works group chat that they fancy a Maccies/KFC etc and then everyone piles in and it gets delivered in. This usually happens a couple of times a week. Five-a-side football for anyone who fancies it happens once a week after work. We play each other, so first 10 or so to want to play is more than welcome. Nobody is actually fit enough to play, it's just for a laugh. Everyone now and then we'll all go play mini-golf or on scavenger hunts/days out set up by management and paid for by the company. Quiz days are a thing where management will put a quiz on during work hours and we'll get into teams and do the quiz whilst eating pizza and drinking a couple of beers. It's a good laugh.

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    Cons

    Job structuring could use some work. Other than the main two bosses, everyone else is seemingly on the same level, which can sometimes make certain projects that we're working on a bit confusing. There's no middle management (on paper) basically, and it could probably benefit from that.

    WhatCulture2018-10-10
  7. "Appreciated the great communication and advice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Freelancer - Voice Over Artist in Dublin, Dublin
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at WhatCulture

    Pros

    Although my work as a host / voice over never made it to the publishing stage, I appreciated the freedom of creativity encouraged by the team. Definitely recommend VO’s to flex their talent here if given the chance.

    Cons

    No bad experiences on my part, save from perhaps not making it the the publishing stage but that’s mostly my fault.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Always a fan.

    WhatCulture2018-03-18
  8. Helpful (16)

    "Worst management experience I've ever had"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Games Writer/Tech Writer in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at WhatCulture full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Enthusiastic colleagues who share a passion for writing and pop culture. Decent standard of writing and good feedback from editors. My work for WhatCulture helped me get onto the career path I really wanted.

    Cons

    Dreadful, bullish management by CEO Matt Holmes, who communicated exclusively through Skype text chat, and was overbearing and unfriendly from Day One - sending me negative feedback from editors and insisting that I don't mention anything about it to the editors themselves, calling my work "lousy", and constantly reminding me that he didn't believe I was right for the job. I learned not to take this personally, as... most writers in the London office where I worked were subjected to the same treatment. No stability - I was one of several writers hired to work at WhatCulture's new London office in September 2015. One by one I watched most people in the office get sacked for the most tenuous reasons. My turn came in January 2016, when the CEO cited trust issues as the reason for firing me. The CEO seemed to take it on himself to make sure that employees never felt secure in their jobs, presumably believing that this was the way to make employees work harder. Uncertain roles - I applied for the role of Games Writer, but soon after being told I got the job, I was told that if I didn't work 70-80% on the tech section, then "we're wasting our time and this isn't going to work". Upon saying that, he put me on the spot, and demanded that I come up with 10 article ideas there and then to "show him I get what he's looking for". It was incredibly militaristic and stressful, and reflected my experience throughout. Untenable targets - The CEO demanded that I (and most writers, as far as I'm aware) write 10 list articles a week - around 5000-6000 words a day. Having spoken to fellow staff, no one was hitting these mammoth targets, yet when Matt would pick out writers to bully over Skype, he would often cite 'not hitting targets' as the reason (I should stress that last I checked in mid-2016, 4 of the 10 most popular articles in the Gaming section were authored by me, with millions of views between them, and generating continuous 'pay-per-click' revenue for the company).

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    Advice to Management

    Let editors do their job. The section editors have excellent knowledge of their given topics - certainly more than the CEO - yet the CEO had a habit of micro-managing sections and writers through Skype chat. One week, I'd be pitching to the section editor, the next I'd be pitching to the CEO, who demonstrated several times that we lacked knowledge in that particular field. In the London office, it seemed like he'd... pick a different staff member each week to micro-manage, criticise and - frankly - bully. Communicate directly with employees, listen to them - With my role so uncertain, I asked several times to have a meeting with the CEO to discuss my role at the company, but every time this was refused. I never spoke to Matt Holmes in person, apart from when he shook my hand at the WC Christmas party while barely making eye contact. In my experience and that of colleagues, the CEO (and co-CEO Peter Willis) avoid direct contact with employees as much as possible.

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    WhatCulture2017-09-13
  9. Helpful (16)

    "Home-based writers are treated like cattle"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Content Creator in Newcastle upon Tyne, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at WhatCulture full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Working as a non-contracted freelancer is a good way to earn some extra money in a field you enjoy writing about. Some of the editorial staff are compassionate, and really help you out with constructive criticism.

    Cons

    Zero training given (literally just "here you go, start writing lists") I was employed via a misleading job posting for 'Magazine Writer', and was never given an opportunity to write for WhatCulture's magazine. Only received regular contact from one member of staff, who was distant and often rude. Their online presence was completely guarded (no social media or even photographs), and I was never even granted a... phone conversation during the initial hiring process. Seemingly no logical basis for accepting pitched articles. I would regularly pitch 5+ articles a day, and have several of them rejected for being 'done to death', only to see other writers then write the very same article a week later. No editorial cohesion - some editors operate under certain rules, others under very different ones. This means as a writer working from home I was often chastised for doing something incorrectly that I had been told to do by another employee. I was given no help when I expressed concern, and was given the impression that I had absolutely no job security whatsoever. It seemed as though (partly from scanning these other reviews) that remote workers and freelancers are regularly hired, squeezed for ideas, then dumped shortly thereafter. The extremely impersonal interviewing process (no face-to-face or phone contact) should have been the initial red flag. The interviewer had to repeatedly ask me the same questions over and over again, as though they couldn't remember who I was. I was also never given a P45 upon leaving, which is a legal requirement [per HMRC.

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    Advice to Management

    Don't hire remote workers, unless you're going to bother to speak to them like human beings. It's very easy to keep personal communication up via phone or Skype, and it's just as easy to provide writers with a basic editorial guide package to help them adjust to the site's particular style. In no other job would you expect an employee to begin with no training, and with no human contact from another member of staff.... I can't speak for office-based employees, but working for WhatCulture under this particular model was extremely detrimental to my mental health. I sincerely hope you reevaluate the way you hire, train and treat remote staff in future.

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    WhatCulture2017-07-20
  10. Helpful (3)

    "Worst writing experience I ever had"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Writer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at WhatCulture for more than a year

    Pros

    I am only writing something because I have. I got a little payment.

    Cons

    On WhatCulture's website they state that would help develop writers and give them feedback regarding their pieces. This is the opposite of what happened. I pitched article ideas and rejected without any explanation and only had one article published. The reason for all my other articles being rejected was simply they 'were not up to standard' and gave no further information even after asking. Other websites I have... written for have at least gave me feedback and constructive criticism. WhatCulture is just a conveyor belt of clickbait articles and treat writers as disposable. I advice any writer to avoid working for them because despite their glossy exterior is an unprofessional outfit.

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    Advice to Management

    Treat your writers like human being and actually communicate with them.

    WhatCulture2017-07-25
Found 25 reviews