Reviews are important. What's even more important is that the reviews are genuine so students can trust the teachers and the website.
If you can't trust reviews on a website, there is no point in having a review system.
That's why we are changing how teachers get reviews.
So far, we allowed anybody to review teachers without verifying the payment as we wanted input from the most students possible.
Since anybody could review, tutors got many fake reviews - negative reviews from the competitors and positive reviews from friends or fake accounts.
This problem started small - with a few fake reviews a week. Within a year, it became a full-blown epidemic with hundreds of fake reviews a day.
What really broke my heart while investigating these fake reviews is that it wasn't just some bad apples who were doing these things. Many genuine teachers who have a history of doing good work were also involved.
The "Payment Verified" label in a review helps gives it credibility. To get that, some teachers just got the minimum amount ($5 or equivalent). Some of these payments/reviews were fake. But there is no way to be sure, so all of these reviews remained public.
We will do what we usually do when unsure about how to handle ambiguous data - we make the data transparent - for everybody to see.
We will start displaying the total amount that a tutor received with their review, thus allowing new students to judge whether all those minimum payment reviews are genuine (or not).
In addition to saving us from massive headaches, these changes have the following advantages for teachers:
These are just those problems that we know. If we haven't considered anything, please contact us.
The advantages of the new system outweigh any issues that come with it.
Even though this change means fewer reviews, the reviews that we will have will be genuine and transparent - thus more trustable.