TEFL Affiliate Marketing Scam
The TEFL Affiliate Marketing Scam is a massive issue within the TEFL industry.
Every month, thousands of TEFL students get conned out of their hard-earned savings via false advertising and misleading information.
What is affiliate marketing?
“Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services. The third-party publishers are affiliates, and the commission fee incentivizes them to find ways to promote the company.” – Investopedia.
This means that in an ideal world a TEFL graduate promotes the TEFL program they took online (because they genuinely thought it was excellent and useful) and in return, they receive a commission from the TEFL program.
Why is it a scam?
The TEFL industry is highly competitive, with big money to be made from selling and promoting TEFL courses, and this has created a niche market for affiliate marketing.
Because of the large sums of money to be made, bad business practices are the rule rather than the exception.
Some common examples of the TEFL Affiliate Marketing Scam:
1. An affiliate marketer that has never taken a TEFL course wants in on some of the TEFL money. They start promoting one (or more) TEFL courses and to do so they hype up the benefits of taking the TEFL program – such as lying about its accreditation status. The affiliate marketer begins to earn a steady stream of income, but graduates of the program soon discover that the TEFL course and end certificate are not as “internationally recognized” or “amazing” as they were led to believe.
2. An affiliate marketer starts out as a genuine TEFL program graduate. They believe in the program that they are promoting, but they could make so much more money if they were to promote other TEFL programs as well. They start promoting more and more TEFL programs, without having any direct experience of those programs, and end up falling into the same moral bankruptcy stage as the affiliate marketer in example (1.) – hyping up TEFL programs with false claims.
3. An affiliate marketer has been promoting various TEFL programs for a while now, but they still have a desire to earn more money. Problem is, that there are no more TEFL programs willing to partner with them. They get around this by publishing false and misleading content about the business competition of the programs for that they earn money. This way, the affiliate marketer’s website shows up in the Google search results for the TEFL programs that they are trashing online, and they can convince the new traffic to take one of the courses that they earn an affiliate’s commission instead.
How can I detect whether a website owner is an affiliate marketer?
This is pretty easy to detect.
All affiliate marketers have one thing on their minds: convince you to take a TEFL program that they are going to earn a commission on.
Therefore, you should be EXTREMELY WARY of any third-party websites/blogs that promote a TEFL program (or multiple TEFL programs).
Not only will you run a strong risk of purchasing a course that is being falsely advertised, but you will also be inadvertently paying a percentage of your TEFL course fee to the affiliate marketer.
The TEFL programs that are notorious for selling their TEFL courses via affiliate marketers are:
None of these TEFL programs is fully accredited, and yet they remain popular TEFL programs – due to the proliferation of their affiliate marketers.
In addition, and something that is really low-moral bar, quite a few of the TEFL reviews websites earn their money via affiliate marketing.
This means that a TEFL reviews website that might appear to be an industry authority, will actually be deleting negative reviews behind the scenes and allowing fake positive reviews to be published on their site because they earn money from the TEFL programs that they have listed.
Trusted TEFL Reviews has a zero-tolerance policy for affiliate marketing.
There is zero affiliate marketing on Trusted TEFL Reviews.
We don’t allow TEFL companies to manipulate their reviews on Trusted TEFL Reviews, and we don’t charge TEFL companies anything for listing their programs.
The only advertising allowed is granted to the TEFL program winner of the annual Teachers’ Choice Award. TEFL Online Pro is the winner of this year’s award, so they have been given the opportunity to promote any TEFL course discounts that they may run during the year. This additional exposure on Trusted TEFL Reviews is without charge for the TEFL program currently enjoying Teachers’ Choice Award winner status.
Other than this one advertising benefit, no other advertising, in any form, is allowed on Trusted TEFL Reviews.
How can I avoid this scam entirely?
The most reputable TEFL companies (the ones that are really fully accredited and internationally recognized) are not known for employing the services of affiliate marketers.
They choose not to largely because they are not allowed to by the accreditation bodies that fully accredit them. It simply isn’t possible for them to risk placing their online marketing in the control of a third-party individual.
Therefore, we don’t recommend purchasing your TEFL course via the TEFL affiliate marketer because you will likely end up investing in a course that is claimed to be “Fully Accredited” but in fact is without fully accredited status.
Can you recommend me a TEFL course to take?
We are asked this question a lot.
Trusted TEFL Reviews is an unbiased TEFL/TESOL certification reviews website and we do not specifically recommend any of the TEFL/TESOL programs listed.
What we do recommend, however, is taking a look at the TEFL Directory for guidance:
The best-rated schools in the directory are top-rated for a legitimate reason.
One final point worth noting
In the TEFL world, there is one individual that is notorious for writing trash about any program or institution that he sees as being an existential threat to his TEFL program livelihood.
His name is Ian Leahy, and he clandestinely runs the ESLinsider TEFL program.
I write “clandestinely” because he tries to portray an image online of being an impartial TEFL expert.
In reality, he is just trying to sell his (unaccredited) TEFL program.
Having already been banned from Facebook, for repeatedly publishing false and misleading content (and having had some of his videos taken down from YouTube) he now resorts to publishing attack articles on his school blog – mirroring the end development stage of the affiliate marketer.
Choose any reputable TEFL program or accreditation website: Ian will have written some outright rubbish about it at some time.
Here is a classic example of ESLinsider at work:
Like the later-stage affiliate marketer, Ian Leahy also does this to drive traffic to his website, where he sells a subpar TEFL program.
Despite the many scams out there, there are a handful or two excellent TEFL/TESOL programs available to take online.
You just need to be aware that the TEFL programs that are not fully accredited are the ones either hyping up their TEFL programs or trashing their competitors.
Trusted TEFL Reviews is one of the few TEFL review websites that will only publish verified TEFL student/graduate reviews. We also never delete a review – even if a TEFL program tries its best to have it deleted.
The result of this is that we tend to be favored by reputable TEFL programs, and singled out for “special treatment” by the less reputable ones.
One of the classic moves by a less reputable TEFL program, when they are notified that a review will not be deleted, is for them to try and reduce the credibility of Trusted TEFL Reviews.
They hope, by doing so, that people will be less inclined to believe their bad review(s).
Therefore, a final tip is to be extremely skeptical of any TEFL program that goes out of its way – often via an affiliate marketer – to try and discredit Trusted TEFL Reviews.
Over the years, we have seen how some TEFL programs have tried to spread the false info that we are owned by such and such a TEFL program.
So far (and I have been counting) it has been claimed that we are owned by 7 separate TEFL programs.
Trusted TEFL Reviews is in no way affiliated or connected with, or owned by, any of the TEFL programs listed on trustedteflreviews.com.
If a TEFL program is rated high, they are rated so because of genuine (verified) customer feedback.
If a TEFL program is rated low, they are rated so because of genuine (verified) customer feedback.
This TEFL Affiliate Marketing Scam article has been written by Mia Williams – co-owner of trustedteflreviews.com
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