Changes in teacher reviews [Fighting fake reviews]

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. 

[Summary] What are the changes?

  • Students will be able to review a teacher only if that student paid that teacher through us. 
  • Existing reviews from students who haven't paid that teacher through us will not be displayed.
    • Hidden reviews will not count towards the aggregate rating.
    • If a student pays a teacher, we will link any existing review from that student with that payment and show that review.
    • If a student reviewed a teacher but didn't make payment 
  • We will show the total amount that the student paid to the teacher with the review.

Why we allowed anybody to review teachers?

So far, we allowed anybody to review teachers without verifying the payment as we wanted input from the most students possible.

  • We didn't want to make teachers feel that we were forcing them to take payments through us (and pay a 15% fee).
  • Teachers in some countries still can't get paid through us. So those teachers won't be able to get reviews at all.
  • Not all students can pay online. 

Why are we making this change?

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. 

$5 reviews

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).

Advantages of the new system

In addition to saving us from massive headaches, these changes have the following advantages for teachers:

  • This will eliminate fake reviews.
  • Teachers who have positive reviews get more students, and teachers with the "Payment verified" label even more so.
    The positive impact of showing the total payment from students will be even more pronounced for genuine teachers.
  • Increased transparency and trust among students will bring in more students through referrals, growing business for all teachers.
  • Reviews due to petty disputes and disagreements will cease altogether.

Problems with the new system

  • Some students won't be able to give genuine reviews.
  • Many existing genuine positive reviews will be hidden.
  • Many genuine negative reviews will be removed, which may result in a bad experience for students.
  • Not all teachers will be comfortable sharing the payment data with the world for privacy reasons. If you are one of those teachers, please ask your students to remove the reviews. 

These are just those problems that we know. If we haven't considered anything, please contact us. 

Why we are still making this change despite all these problems

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.