Introduction to Teaching English Online

Reviews of TEFL programs

Trusted TEFL Reviews

OK, so you’ve narrowed your TEFL course search down to a handful of potential hero programs. You’ve probably also searched for many hours through the online forums nitpicking certain program elements, and deciding on what you want out of your TEFL course experience.

This is commonly termed as the ‘searching phase’, which is essentially separating the wheat from the chaff.

You’ve probably read the 5-star reviews listed on a TEFL course provider’s website, but most people say they have a very poor perception of hand-picked reviews incorporated into the design of a course site.

So then, you enter what is commonly referred to as the ‘purchasing phrase’.

And it’s at this stage that review websites earn their bread and butter.

Over at (TTR) we publish verified TEFL course reviews, written by real people. And this business model was the inspiration for the no-brainer business : ‘Trusted TEFL Reviews’.

This means that a review published on TTR has been verified; meaning that it was written by a TEFL course graduate, rather than planted by a TEFL course staff member.

But no sooner had the first reviews flooded through the gates of our ‘Post a Review’ email contact than we began receiving a few odd, manipulative-by-nature emails:

  1. One course outright asked us if we could possibly delete a less than stellar review. We felt this was a logical request, but we explained that TTR is not open to manipulation by courses listed on the site.
  2. A second course – which is not listed on TTR – posted an Oscar-worthy review delivery speech; and when we requested proof of course attendance the communication channel went oddly silent.
  3. A third course insinuated in no uncertain terms that they would like to add TTR as an affiliate partner of their affiliate program; meaning, I’m assuming, that if someone were to click on a review published on TTR, and then paid for that particular TEFL course, we would then receive a commission for the sale. We politely declined the offer, but this did open the proverbial Pandora’s Box for us.

Were most of the major review websites making money from affiliate links?

And if so, wouldn’t this represent a serious conflict of interests?

It’s true that some online TEFL programs receive a far greater number of positive review feedback – due to the high level of their products and services – and that a few online TEFL programs receive a healthy slice of negative reviews.

But as we reviewed some of the more popular TEFL review websites, we couldn’t help noticing that there was an obvious disparity between reviews published for the more established online TEFL programs, paying for advertising space on these review sites, and reviews published for the not-so-heavyweights of the online TEFL industry, who did not have paid advertisements on these review websites.

We won’t name names, but one particular online TEFL course operates its business model through convincing bloggers to add information here and their within their blog posts, and always with a promotional code attached; whereby the reader can save approx. 30% off the online TEFL course by simply going to the school’s website and entering this coupon number.

In practice this makes sense. If you took an online TEFL course and are now half-way round the world teaching English – thanks to the online TEFL program taken – then why not give a throwback mention to the course and make a bit of money out of your random act of kindness?

The dark side though – yes, there is a dark side – is the reality that many of these bloggers have never actually taken the online TEFL course that they are semi-promoting on their world travels site, and they are literally willing to write anything in order for you to sign up for the course, so they can receive their affiliates commission.

It could be a wonderful online program; meaning no harm done.

Or, it could be a lousy online TEFL program, which only becomes apparent once the enrollment process is complete and you instead discover an online TEFL course which would score single digits if there were a Rotten Tomato index for TEFL courses.

To return to our original point… was set up to clean up the online TEFL reviews industry. We only publish verified TEFL course reviews, written by real people, and we outright refuse to list an online TEFL program that chooses to use the platform for their course astroturfing marketing delivery effect.

IF you have taken an online TEFL certification course, you are most welcome to visit the Post a Review section of TTR, where you can feel that sense of empowerment by leaving a (valid) positive review, or a (valid) negative review.

Written by Mia Williams for October 2019
Mia Williams. Chief bottle washer at Trusted TEFL Reviews. Currently teaching English in Vienna, Austria.

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