Ethics are extremely important to us here at Switch. We pride ourselves on being transparent and open about what we do — we didn't start this company to simply market schools. Rather, our ultimate goal has always been to add balance to the rapidly expanding alternative education space by providing honest and objective content.
This is a subject that is close to our heart. We believe in transparency with advertising and for any school that we decide to partner with. We go through a rigorous screening process and will clearly label the advertising as a “sponsored” post. We prefer advertising and partnering with companies outside of our industry that we are not reviewing, as this allows us to remain objective and transparent with our practices. When forming third-party affiliate partnerships, we make sure the other company’s ethics and policies align with our own standards before accepting the partnership. Advertising revenue is important to help sustain the company operations and expenses.
Our hypothesis is that education, just like any other investment that requires time and possibly money, will provoke strong responses. Learners will have an outlet to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Prospective students and the program’s organizers will benefit from the feedback. We are not a PR agency for bootcamps. It’s our hope that our reviews will help keep this educational space healthy and honest. We are not currently a non-profit but are considering switching models.
We clearly and openly disclose any relationships we have with programs. This does not affect any reviews, positive or negative, that are submitted to the website. Again, we are not in the business of promoting schools: Most of our affiliate programs are with other services that our website does not review. We will clearly indicate all advertisements as affiliate or sponsored content. All editorial content co-produced with schools and other programs will also be marked accordingly. This allows us to maintain transparency within this community, something that is really important to us.
Starting October 1st 2016, SwitchUp will be instituting a three-step verification policy for reviews. First the reviewer must authorize the review via 2-step email confirmation. Second, the review will be reviewed by our moderators before being published live. Third, we have a flagging and commenting system. Should a review be flagged, our moderaters will followup with the reviewer and ask for proof of identity (e.g. passport copy) and proof of attendance at a school (photo or document). We strongly encourage our community to help us if they see suspicious reviews. We encourage reviewers to make their names public for the review, although anonymous reviews are also always welcome.