An article titled "College Admissions Process: 18 Tips for an Outstanding Admissions Essay" was recently posted by italki from the user 'TopAdmit' - an outside international corporation. The Terms of Service on italki (http://www.italki.com/tos) state that users cannot "Suggest or solicit another User to contact you directly in order to buy or sell Services outside of italki."
Also, other articles are written by registered teachers or tutors here on italki, while 'TopAdmit' is a 'user' who joined just a few days ago and whose only activity has been to post this article advertising their business. Check out their 'profile' for yourself: http://www.italki.com/user/1525299#activity
I feel that italki should clearly state any special affiliations or financial benefits they receive from outside businesses. This is usually done through the use of clearly designated banner advertisements. However, this article is posted as if it is equal in content and intention to other articles in the database.
Does anyone else feel that this is inappropriate?
I think businesses probably don't belong here or shoyld be cleaely identified. But part of what is so nice about the aite is lack of advertising. In any event, I visited this 'user's' page and the article appears to have at least temporarily been deleted.
Well, I flagged the discussion related to the article at which point it seemed to have been temporarily removed. However, the original article is still displayed when clicking on the 'Articles' link on the toolbar or by direct link: http://www.italki.com/article/181/college-admissions-process-18-tips-for-an-outstanding-admissions-essay#.U63uTo1dUs0
It's true that now I realize the banner advertisements here are just italki itself, though they are linked with Google AdChoices. If italki feels that it needs to begin accepting external advertising (though they already receive revenue from their 15% fee on sessions), that would certainly be an ordinary decision. However, posting advertising veiled as a genuine language learning article is deceptive. I agree with you that such business affilliations should be clearly identified.
The reason why I joined and started teaching here is because of the (more) direct connection between students and qualified teachers. I also thought that they promoted transparency by posting teacher credentials and feedback from students. Unfortunately, this recent step they have taken is in the opposite direction.
I submitted a message via the Support link about these concerns. I would encourage anyone bothered by this decision to contact italki staff directly.