When we started trustedteflreviews.com (TTR) we had little idea, at first, just how competitively murky the Online TEFL industry was. I mean, we knew it had its corrupt corners, but let’s just say that our Viennese perceptions on life always searched for the good in people.
We joined a few major TEFL forum sites, and were pleasantly surprised with how civilized and well-managed they were organized.
They operated a balanced moderation system, so if an anonymous user attacked you, you would have sufficient leverage to respond, fairly.
Then, we signed up for a reddit.com account, despite being forewarned that reddit was the equivalent online platform of the Wild West.
Our immediate impression of reddit, was that it was run by a few moderators, who are obviously overwhelmed by the amount of information they are able to process and objectively moderate, and that they prefer to bow to the demands of longer-term reddit users, over reddit newbies; thus making their work less taxing and much easier.
We also soon noticed that as soon as a TEFL-related question was asked, there were quite literally, within minutes, an avalanche of replies, from individuals, who were so obviously connected with competing TEFL companies.
One such prolific user, goes by the reddit handle ‘TEFLoutsider’ – AKA Ian Leahy – the sole owner of ESLinsider.com, and a long-established reddit.com moderator. And he has seemed to have crafted an biblical veil of authority on the reddit.com site – due to his prolific posting habits. There are others too, who follow this Wild West approach, but the list would take up too much valuable reading space in this relatively short article.
reddit is definitely not a friendly, constructive, impartial online resource for TEFL-related information and advice.
In one example, an apparent individual was asking about the MyTEFL Online certification course. And literally, within three hours, there were over 20 replies; either slagging the program off, or praising it to high heaven. This is not statistically, normal behavior.
Not exactly what you would expect from TEFL newbies, impartially searching for an Online TEFL course to take, but more like a certain Online TEFL company and certain competing Online TEFL companies.
And then, Trusted TEFL Reviews, felt the wrath of some of the more established reddit members.
An out-the-blue question was posted in classic insinuation form, which served to question and imply that TTR was a fake reviews website, and was not worth bothering taking seriously.
Apparently, the thread was started by an individual interested in searching for an Online TEFL course, but through his subsequent answers on the thread, it became blatantly obvious that the original question was asked in order to try and discredit the validity of TTR, as a source of verified TEFL reviews, written by real people.
We could have just ignored this obvious online attack – likely begun by an Online TEFL school listed on TTR, with less than stellar Online TEFL course reviews, or by an Online TEFL school not yet accepted to be listed on TTR.
But instead, because we fully believe in the community ethos of TTR, we responded with a very polite, to the point, factual reply.
The resulting comments were ladled with under-the-table, anonymous attacks, and peppered with openly obvious astroturfing tactics of various Online TEFL schools – some of which are listed on TTR, and some of which are not.
I can therefore conclude, that reddit is a superb platform for underhanded marketing a product or service that you offer, without the financial gain to pay for traditional forms of marketing, as long as you win favor with a moderator or two.
It all came to a head this morning , when we were gobsmacked, temporarily banned from reddit.com. We used no profanities. We responded to each question in a polite manner, but we did call out reddit for adopting a prejudice stance role. Oh, and we published this verified review of Ian Leahy’s Online TEFL school: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2019/10/08/there-is-absolutely-no-excuse-in-2019-to-objectify-women-for-marketing-purposes/. This resulted in his Online TEFL program being blacklisted on Trusted TEFL Reviews.
Perhaps the last, sinister, nail in the reddit TEFL coffin of questionable ethics, is that Ian Leahy (‘TEFLoutsider’ / ‘TEFLinsider’) is one of the moderators on reddit.com, and he also runs his own Online TEFL certification program. This is a clear case of a conflict of interests, and further questions the legitimacy of reddit as a source of unbiased, impartial information.
TTR has decided to now boycott reddit completely. It’s lost its importance, and we simply can’t be an active member of an online forum platform where anyone can, and does, write whatever they wish to, in order to promote their own agenda, and act with impunity in defaming competitive businesses.
Besides, there are other much more respectable Online TEFL forums available on the web, with a far higher focus on impartiality.
In other words, reddit has evolved into an online platform, which more or less resembles an elite boy’s club, and where incorrect, nonsense comments, and fake opinions form the foundation of what was once an excellent online resource.
Is this the future of internet forums? Sites where anyone can write anything and get away with it, for as long as they are long-term members of said forum?
By all means, use reddit. But use it as a resource for those late night, midnight, internet tumble weed surfing binges, when your brain is at its slowest and suddenly obsessed with knowing whether Koala Bears do, or don’t fly?
In conclusion, The original reason why we set up TTR, was that we wanted to clean up the TEFL industry, and the refreshing news for us, is that as owners of TTR, we can do just that: publishing verified Online TEFL course reviews, written by real people on trustedteflreviews.com: an Online TEFL certification, diamond in the rough, reviews site.
Written by Mia Williams for Trusted TEFL Reviews.
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