Online TEFL Course Reviews — Fake, Paid, and Manipulated Reviews
Looking for reviews on online or in-class TEFL courses? This post will cover some things that you should look out for in your search for reviews.
Do you trust all of the reviews that you read online? Do you think paid reviews are honest?
There are actually lots of “paid” reviews in TEFL and many don’t even look like it at first.
Here are a few things to watch out for.
1. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing in TEFL is quite common. It is used on third party review sites, on blogs, Youtube and on Quora. This is when the site or person will leave a link on the site and if you click on that link and then purchase a course the person who posted the link will get some money.
It’s quite common. Here are some examples. I intentionally didn’t link to these sites as I am not supporting them. If you look at the following pages you will see affiliate links on them.
I basically see it as anybody who writes a review of a course and is an affiliate was basically bribed to write the review.
What do you think?
2. FAKE REVIEWS
Are some of those reviews of TEFL courses fake?
- Yelp estimates 25% of it’s reviews are fake.
- This source suggests Amazon has 200+ million fake reviews.
- Some companies may offer discounts or pay customers who write reviews.
Possible example of a paid review.
- Some companies hire PR firms or someone on Fiverr to write fake reviews that are either positive or negative. Sometimes people will try to make a company look bad by writing a fake negative review.
- There are even FAKE VIDEO reviews:
Companies may also manipulate their customers to write reviews. I remember reading on Reddit that one girl had to write a review before she was given her TEFL certificate.
Do you trust reviews more on 3rd party sites or on 1st party sites?
A 3rd party site is not the consumer or the company it’s more of a middleman. An example of a 3rd party review site would be Yelp. A 1st party review site would be like the reviews on a company site.
You might assume that a 3rd party site would be more trustful because maybe the reviews on a company site are easy to manipulate? Well, you can create fake accounts on a 3rd party site too. Yelp mentioned above is a 3rd party site and estimated that 25% of it’s reviews are fake.
Do you trust bloggers more?
I think many people do, but…
Your peers (or the bloggers) who may seem independent and more trusting than a company are often getting paid either directly or indirectly from a company with an affiliate program.
You can usually spot an affiliate link by the url.
Here’s an example.
Here’s a screen shot of a vlogger on Youtube using affiliate marketing.
It might not bother you, but I personally don’t like it as it’s not genuine to me.
How can you spot a fake review?
According to a few sites:
- Fake reviews are often overly glowing. They often praise the product excessively.
- Lack of detail.
- Words like “I” and “Me” are often used as people worried about coming off as insincere tend to talk about themselves more.
Do a search for:
how to spot fake TEFL reviews
Looking for a review on ESLinsider?
Or do search for:
eslinsider tefl reviews