How to deal with online defamation?

ESLinsider and MyTEFL have been spreading false accusations about tefl online pro
(A full-time job for ESLinsider and MyTEFL)

Earlier this week, we received two excellent pieces of news:

  1. tefl online pro won the Teachers’ Choice Award, 2020.
  2. We discovered who was defaming us online.

Ever since late last year, we noticed a negative post here and there about tefl online pro. They were mostly posted on Reddit, all of them contained inaccurate information, and they were all written by anonymous posters.

We never respond to those sorts of online posts. We don’t reply because we don’t want to dignify their content by responding. Besides, people are not silly. People understand that a Reddit page can be set up by literally anyone with an internet connection, and that people who set up Reddit pages sometimes have an ulterior motive for doing so. It’s also pretty clear that posters almost never use their real name and post under the cloak of anonymity.

So, we continued on — preparing for the new school year in January. And then, just before Christmas, we saw that there was a website online — claiming that tefl online pro is a fraudulent website.

It was pretty shocking to see because it was clearly intended to damage our reputation. The creator of the website basically tried to convey the message that we were a scam business.

We simply had no idea who it could be. Who would create such a disgusting website? Who would have taken the time to do it? And who would have paid for it? We didn’t have any angry customers. It must have been a competitor. Possibly the same competitor that had been writing rubbish about us on Reddit.

This week, we found out who created the website and who had been writing the posts. It was a competitor. It was MyTEFL.

(MyTEFL: one of our competitors)

At first, we couldn’t believe it. We couldn’t believe that a competitor would go so far, sink so low, and invest their time and money into doing such a despicable thing. But, we read the documents that had been delivered to us as a tip-off and the evidence was clear.

MyTEFL have been defaming tefl online pro via a website they created, and through online posts.

When we did a bit of looking around, we noticed that we are not the only ones who have been attacked. MyTEFL have created similar websites, targeting seven other Online TEFL companies — one of which was to attack ESLinsider.

(ESLinsider: one of our competitors)

It was, therefore, of initial surprise that ESLinsider (a competitor) has also jumped on the bandwagon and started writing rubbish about us online. However, upon a simple Google search, we discovered that Ian Leahy (who runs ESLinsider) is a serial online defamer — pick any Online TEFL school and Ian will have written some sort of trash about it either on his school blog, or on one of the many discussion websites that he likes to frequent.

We would like to point out that as adults in the room, we are above all that nonsense. We won’t be wasting our time on creating websites in order to defame our competition with baseless lies, and we won’t be wasting our time defaming our competition with baseless lies on platforms such as Reddit and Quora.

Instead, we like to focus on our customer service.

And that’s the reason for the defamation.

We run a successful Online TEFL/TESOL international program, and we provide fantastic support to our customers.

We also consistently receive 5-star ratings — both on our company Facebook page and on Trusted TEFL Reviews.

Now, we can’t guess with 100% accuracy why MyTEFL and ESLinsider have chosen this route of action. What is clear to us is that we provide an excellent product/service and that our customers really appreciate that.

It could be suggested that because MyTEFL appears to receive a lot of negative press and because ESLinsider appears to be an under-achieving TEFL program, that there is a heavy dose of envy present.

And this nicely segues us to the question that we posed at the start of this article.

How to deal with online defamation?

  1. Treat it as a compliment, similar to when someone copies you.
  2. If you know who is doing it, call them out.
  3. Never give their actions dignity by copying their actions as a form of revenge.

Thank you for reading this Medium article.

Paul Murphy — Operations Manager

tefl online proTeachers’ Choice Award winner, 2019 | 2020

teflonlinepro.com — Internationally recognized Online and Combined TEFL/TESOL Certification Courses with unrivaled job support. Teach | Travel.