Recently, there's been quite a hoopla surrounding Facebook and its business model. There is now intense scrutiny over the type of content the platform promotes, how FB promotes it and its effects on its audience and members.
And in the wider world. Facebook fallout is not limited to its billion-or-so subscribers...
One of the most striking observations to come out of the whole debacle is "If you get to use a service at no cost, you're not a customer. You are the product." That assertion gained prominence in 2018 after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how the social media platform was harvesting and reselling users' data.
Those explosive revelations led to several data privacy reforms, most notably in the European Union.
Today, we have more goods and services available to us than we could possibly consume. That forces goods and service providers to be ultra-competitive. They have to find an edge; a hook to make their product/service more valuable than their competitors so that consumers will choose them over everyone else.
At Superprof, we've found that edge; the way of doing business that benefits everyone involved.
Let us now explain what Superprof charges - how and why payments are structured the way they are and how you can get the most for your money with Superprof.
The Superprof Backstory
In 2013, the year Superprof launched, mainstream internet was a teenager. Barely 18 years had passed since societies' broad embrace of the home computer and the most popular websites were social media pages - MySpace, WeChat, Whatsapp and, yes, even Facebook. Music sites also enjoyed regular, high-volume traffic.
2013 was the year of the Internet of Things. Exponential advances in technology made new and improved methods of communication possible. Connecting disparate devices to the internet - from refrigerators to robotic hoovers was the next big wave.
Anything was possible and the internet had nowhere to go but up.
With all of the entertainment and information available on the internet in 2013, there was nevertheless a gap in the market.
At the time, education was still mostly thought of as something to be delivered face to face - despite a long history of correspondence courses and distance learning; educational formats that had been going on for centuries.
In 2013, thanks to advances in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and better webcams, online education - especially one-to-one learning surged, and Superprof was ideally positioned to ride that wave.
In just one year, Superprof welcomed their 100,000th tutor to the platform. Two years after that, Superprof went worldwide. We'd already built a strong presence in France - we became the #1 tutoring service just a year after launching the programme, and other European countries keenly awaited their chance to debut the Superprof model for their students.
The Superprof model isn't just a beneficial learning community; it's an economic exemplar of how an ideal business should run. After all, what Superprof does for students and tutors is unparalleled; we're so much more than just a tutoring platform...
A New Business Model
The Superprof team motto includes words like 'caring', 'involved' and 'utopic'. Indeed, those concepts and qualities drive our service aims. Still, despite our altruistic spirit, we are a business; we have to generate income to sustain what we do so well.
In the relatively uncharted waters, Superprof began their operations in, there were many ways to generate revenue:
- partnering with outside firms who would pay us to post ads on our sites
- collecting a commission from tutors' per-lesson fees
- charging students a percentage of their per-lesson fee
- setting up a subscription service to allow students the maximum availability and access to tutors
The first idea was a non-starter. We're about students getting the help they need and the tutors exercising their passion for teaching; not about promoting other companies' products.
Collecting a commission from tutors' fees was likewise unfeasible. To give our tutors maximum flexibility, we insist on their right to set their own rates. It would be impossible - for us and for them, to run a business without knowing what income to expect. Besides that, why should we take anything away from tutors, who sign up to our platform to exercise their passion for teaching?
The same logic applies to fees from students except, for them, it's a need to learn, not to earn.
The fourth option became our solution. Just as some retailers invite you to become a member - Costco, as an example, and others promote the use of rewards cards (lower prices in exchange for your permission to track your shopping habits and profit from that data), we concluded that offering subscriptions yielded the best possible value for your money.
So, where other tutoring platforms may require their tutors and/or students to pay fees, Superprof makes things simple. The student subscribes to our platform, has access to more than 10 million tutors around the world and whatever hourly rate the tutor lists on their profile page is the per-lesson amount that they will collect.
Make no mistake. Just like with social media sites, if other platforms aren't charging you access fees, you are paying for access in other ways: through data harvesting, higher tutor prices and/or the tutors having to pay a fee to use the platform. You may also be subject to periodic adverts.
Or, you may be required to sign a contract that could extend far beyond the time you need your tutor, obliging you to pay more in fees.
You might say that Superprof for tutors is an efficient way for passionate mentors to launch themselves into a tutoring business, all while protecting students' interests and parents' pocketbooks.
Does the Superprof business model work? Besides the explosive growth the company has enjoyed over the past eight years, reviews and testimonials on sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed and Trustpilot prove that, overwhelmingly, both tutors and learners are satisfied with the way things work at Superprof.
Of course, there are negative reviews; it would be suspicious if there were none, even if nobody had any actual complaints to make.
For the most part, students' negative reviews address the monthly subscription fee. These critiques all point in the same direction: students were unaware that they were agreeing to a subscription when they signed on with Superprof.
A typical experience goes something like this: a student surfs through Superprof profiles, finds one that they'd like to engage with and clicks the contact button. They are then directed to a page requesting their details, including payment details.
On that page, you will find the terms of the agreement laid out, including a notice that you are signing up for a subscription, with the first month being free of charge.
Before you sign up for a Superprof membership - or any other service available online, you should educate yourself. Read the reviews, get feedback from as many sources as possible.
And then, find out how Superprof works by reading through the terms and conditions listed on our site. Once you feel comfortable that your privacy will be protected and you understand what you're signing up for - and the protections afforded to you, only then should you hand over any payment details.
Superprof's Charges and Fees
Let's get this out of the way: as a student, your relationship with the Superprof platform is separate from the relationship you have with any tutor you work with.
Our business connects tutors with students; that's the extent of the company's involvement between the two of you. It might help to think of us as three separate entities - you, your tutor and the platform that brought you together.
To gain access to Superprof's 10 million+ tutors, the fee you pay depends on the country you live in. In the UK, it's £29 per month; it is roughly equivalent in other countries, allowing for exchange rates. Also, you should know that, after agreeing to your subscription, you have a one-month grace period to cancel your subscription before your account is charged the subscription fee.
Your subscription fee is separate from the per-hour fee your tutor advertises on their profile page.
Once you connect with a tutor and you both agree to take your partnership off the platform, you have the right to end your subscription. You will still pay your tutor their fee, though.
Note that, if you do not cancel your subscription, Superprof will continue to debit that fee from the account you listed on your payment page.
Tutors are not charged a fee for setting up their profile; nor do they pay Superprof to maintain their profile page.
Tutors are free to set their per-hour rates based on whichever criteria they feel is relevant, be it their level of education or teaching expertise, their geographic location - some places are more expensive to live than others, and/or the type of subject they teach.
Should a tutor decide to filter their lesson payments through the Superprof platform, they will be charged a 10% processing fee - but there is no mandate for any tutor to do so. They may set up their fee collections in any way they see fit.
Also, note that tutors are encouraged to offer their first tutoring session at no cost to the student but it is by no means a mandate.
There's a wide variety of tutors specialising in a host of different subjects on Superprof; some academic and others targeted to health and wellness... and everything in between.
We're honoured to be the bridge between students and the subjects they want to learn more about. That's really what drives the Superprof model.
The platform that connects tutors and students