Friday, November 26, 2010

Students are not familiar with Skype?

We know sometimes students will ask you general questions about Skype or how to use a particular feature.

We have now "Skype-guide" page.

If you receive a question about Skype, you can *politely* redirect them to this URL or FAQ(

Skype-guide Page

*Please check this article as well.
"Getting questions from students? You can direct them to our blog or FAQ."

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Thank you!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Start creating interesting contents for students now!

Dear all,

We're pleased to announce that we've just released our new "Learning Tips" feature.
You can use it to share news clippings, study tips, cultural tidbits and other pieces of information that students might find interesting. It's quite similar to the the General Notices function but allows students to leave comments on it, and so we're hoping it will be become a more social area where users can exchange their opinions or share their thoughts on a common topic.

Incidentally, because the General Notices feature only allows one-way communication it should be used primarily for lesson-related announcements in future.

The articles you post through Contents will be searchable. In future we'll definitely feature popular articles in one way or another, so we hope it will serve as another channel for you to promote yourself and get students.

However, please don't post articles which primary purpose is to advertise yourself or your courses. Post information that would be genuinely beneficial for students. Cafetalk reserves the right to delete any articles that it deems to be inappropriate.

So if you have information you'd like to share go ahead and try it out!
Just log-in and click "Learning Tips" on the left menu.

If you have any questions,feel free to contact us.

Thank you!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Now you can add textbook info on your service page

Dear All,

We have added textbook info on your service page.
We released it because many students asked us who use textbook, what kind of it, and so on.

So now you can log-in your page and click "services" on your left hand side, and choose from "none, original material, flexible, textbook( title,URL), other.

Please check it out!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Thank you!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some updates for tutors

Hi all,
We would like to inform you of some updates to

1. Now you can upload 3 profile pictures.

2. You can add a Youtube video on each of your courses.

3 Let me introduce our new team member, Kai.

Thank you!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Top page renewal and some feature additions

Dear all,
We would like to inform you of some changes we just made to

1. Changed the TOP page design

2. Added a "search by time" function. Students can now search tutors who are available during a specific time.

3. The category which was "Speaking and Pronunciation" has been separated into "Speaking" and "Pronunciation".
We did this in response to overwhelming opinion that the two are taught completely differently.
All courses previously categorized as "Speaking and Pronunciation" are now listed under "Pronunciation" (simply because most of them were, in fact, pronunciation courses) but please change it if necessary.

Thank you!

Cafetalk Team

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chat room function released

Dear all

We have added a "Chat room" to the Online function.
Now if students are interested in any of the online tutors they can initiate a chat message with them immediately.
We hope this makes online tutors get students more easily and allow students to find suitable tutors.

1. Click the "Make Online" button in your dashboard. In addition to displaying you as online in every student's dashboard, this will create a chat room students can enter to exchange instant messages with you. Note that this chat feature is completely accessible from your browser and is different from Skype.

2. Please be in front of your PC while you are online so that you can chat with students who may wish to have a lesson right away.

3. When a potential student enters your chat room you'll hear a chime, and your status will be changed to "Chatting" (remember not to have your speakers muted). While in this status other students will not be able to enter your chat room.

4. If you want to make you online but don't want to chat, please close chatting room screen. Your status will be changed to "No chatroom",then students will not be able to enter your chat room.
Your online status is showed on the top page of as well as in student's dashboard.(

If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

Thank you!

cafetalk team

Saturday, August 21, 2010

About "Vacation" function....

For those of you wondering where the "Vacation" function on the old cafetalk went, this has been merged into "blockout dates"
So if you're going on holiday and are unable to take lessons during your normal available times please add a blockout period.

1. Please block the date which you have holidays.
Click "schedule"on the left hand side of you page,
then click "Blocked Times" "+" buton.
You can add Block time so that students cannot request a lesson at that time.

2. Make a general notice
If you have specific holidays,please make a notice and write it down.
It will be shown on your tutor profile page as well as TOP of student's page.
Students will know about your info.

If you have any questions,feel free to contact us.

Thank you!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Getting questions from students? You can direct them to our blog or FAQ.

We know sometimes students will ask you general questions about Cafetalk or on how to use a particular feature.

If you receive such a question you can *politely* redirect them to our blog or FAQ(
We've picked up a few common questions for you so you can just copy and paste the URL.

①How to change the lesson date or time of request? or How to reschedule the request?


②How to make a feedback on tutors?


③How to make a "trial" request?


④How to use coupons?


⑤How to make a request outside of tutor's available time?


If you have any questions,feel free to contact us.

Thank you!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Some update info

Dear all,
We would like to inform you some recent updates on the tutor page.

◇Student list
We know some tutors have many many students on your list , and it is quite hard to handle it.
We've now updated student list page, and you can make groups and distribute students.
For example,you can make groups "regular""sometimes""trial".
Please click plus button on the page and make groups,then check the students and move to the groups.

◇Fee of trial
Trial is one of the important issue to gather students,now we added the trial fee "200yen" as well.
So you can choose free,200,500,1000,1500 as a trial fee.

General notification (Promote yourself to student) is also important way to gather students.
We updated this page that you can add picture or Youtube on your notification.
We'll tweet your notification through cafetalk twitter account when you upload it.Also we will present your notification on our Facebook Fanpage as well.

◇Order of your service
On your service page, you can click and drag on a service to change its order.
Please change as the students see easily if you need.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Thank you!

cafetalk team

Monday, July 26, 2010

How to judge and deal with "Free-Riders"?

So called "Free-Riding" can be a problem with any service like ours where tutors offer free trials.
(Free-riding is the act of hopping from one trial lesson to another without having the intention of ever paying)

Cafetalk does have limited safety measures to prevent this like not allowing consecutive trial requests. We could do more, but we don't want to create too much of a disincentive for students to request trials because, after all, trials do significantly lower the hurdles for a student to start using Cafetalk in the first place.

That being said, we do understand that some students will try to take advantage of the system, and in this post we want to introduce some of the ways you can deal with this issue.

1. Offer your trials at a reduced price instead of setting them completely free.

On the new cafetalk, you can choose trial with fee. They don't necessarily have to be free. Please login your page, click "service", then change the service details.

2. Check student's profile for potential indicators

You can see how many trial lesson requests a student has made before as well as the overall number of requests.
If the ratio of trial requests to overall requests is unreasonably high that's a good indication that the student is a free-rider and you have every right to decline his or her request.

3. Check the amount of points the student has purchased in the past.

Well, actually we don't have this feature yet, but a tutor suggested to us that this might be a useful piece of information to have when judging whether a potential student is a free-rider or not.
We kind of want to be careful not disclose too much information for fear of making students uncomfortable, but we will consider it if we get an overwhelming response from tutors.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions please let us know.

Thank you!

Cafetalk team

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Basic lesson flow for tutors.

For new tutors,we have just uploaded the video "Basic lesson flow".
Please check it out.



Thank you!

Cafetalk Team

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fee calculation will be based on a progressive scale starting August 2010

As you know, Cafetalk's fee (formally referred to as the Matching Fee) has been 40% of the lesson price since its inception five years ago. We know many of you would like to see that reduced. And although we can not give everyone a flat reduction (for these reasons) we thought it was about time our more active tutors were rewarded with better rates.

It may not be very obvious but one of our core principles here at Cafetalk is to make our platform profitable for tutors. We know that's the only way we can hope to keep the quality of tutors as high as they are now. Eventually, we would like Cafetalk to be able to support both the casual tutor and the hard-core professional educator alike. And to do that, we realize that a change in the fee structure would certainly be a step in the right direction. And so starting August we plan to introduce two new tutor classes (or ratings, if you will) with decreased fees depending on how many lessons you complete per month. The new ratings are:

Top Ranking Tutors

Cafetalk fees will be reduced to 30% and a "Top Ranking" icon will be displayed on your profile.
Qualification criteria:
  1. Must complete 20 to 39 lessons per month
  2. Must not have negative ratings for the past three months (or since registration) *1
  3. Must be in good standing with Cafetalk and compliant to our Tutor Terms.
Once you attain this rating you will keep it for at least two months (unless you violate the Tutor Terms or get a barrage of bad feedback).

Premium Tutors

Cafetalk fees will be reduced to 25% and a "Premium" icon will be displayed on your profile.
Qualification criteria:
  1. Must complete 40 or more lessons per month
  2. Must not have negative ratings for the past three months (or since registration) *1
  3. Must be in good standing with Cafetalk and compliant to our Tutor Terms.
  4. Once you attain this rating you will keep it for at least three months (unless you violate the Tutor Terms or get a barrage of bad feedback).
Every tutor will automatically be checked at the end of each month to see whether she/he has qualified for these decreased fees. Calculations will be based on the number of lessons completed between the first and last days of the month in GMT. Incidentally, we plan to run automatic calculations around 0:00 on the first day of each moth. Students will not be able to request new lessons for the five minutes or so while these calculations are being done. If the necessary criteria have been met the new fees will come into effect immediately after the calculations are completed.

*1 If you think you've been given a bad rating unfairly we will review it and possibly have the rating deleted. But please understand that our honest disclosure of feedback and ratings is exactly why Cafetalk has gained so much trust from our students so we will not change ratings lightly.

The new rates will come into effect on August 1, 2010 based on lessons made in July.

Hopefully this should come as good news for a small percentage of you who already qualify for the new rates. (We know at least two or three who qualify for the Premium status, for example)

As for those who don't have enough lessons to qualify for the new rates yet, we know it's not necessarily your fault but more because we don't have the absolute student numbers to support that many lessons. Nevertheless, the prospect of reduced rates should be something to look forward to.

As always, we welcome any feedback. But please note that we have thought long and hard about these new rates and their criteria, so we aren't likely to change them. We will however, try our very best to address any questions or concerns.

Thanks again to all of you. We're ultimately targeting to increase our student a hundredfold so hopefully we'll be directing more students your way!

Cafetalk Team

Why are our fees 40%?

Some of you have asked us why we set our fee at 40% and can we please lower it a little.

We’ll in response to such requests we are considering a new progressive fee scale based on performance. However, we also wanted to let you know why our fees are what they are in the first place because we know many of you think it’s rather high.

Now, it's not like we don't understand the tutor's perspective. Several of Cafetalk's in-house development staff use Cafetalk to teach privately (as normal tutors without any unfair advantage whatsoever, we might add) and they've also said that lower fees will:

a) Give them more leeway to offer discounts to students when necessary.
b) Motivate them to do more lessons.

Yes, we completely agree. And we do understand that lower fees may attract more tutors who might otherwise be deterred from using our platform.

So we like to think that we do understand the pros and cons as well as your side of the story. Nevertheless, we also think that 40% quite fair for the following reasons.
  1. We put in a LOT of hard work to maintain the system and to gather students to the site.
  2. We give students discounts of up to 10% for bulk point purchases. (Although we may stop doing this in the future)
  3. Credit card processing company takes about 5%
  4. We use a considerable amount on advertisements, cross-promotional deals, giveaways, etc.
  5. We need to survive as a business so that we can continue to provide this service to students and tutors.
That leaves us with little to work with, and we need to pay for our dedicated servers and our support staff out of what's left. And to give a little perspective to the word "survive" we should mention that our founding members still remain unpaid (no joke) and we have no office of our own (which is why you see us working like nomads, wandering from coffee shop to coffee shop in search of open wireless connections). We don't take pride in our current situation, but at least no one can accuse us of being greedy profit-mongers until we're a little more successful.

But we're not complaining. We really love what we do. We started out with a dream to provide a platform to benefit both consumers and service providers alike, and we think we're getting closer to that goal every day (thanks to all the great work you guys are doing). What we do want you to understand is that we're not trying to rip you off. And that we just want to create a great service but we need all the support we can get.

That being said, we are very committed to making Cafetalk profitable for our tutors and we will continue to make that one of our top priorities. Like we mentioned at the begining, we are planning on introducing a progressive fee scale to make it a little more worth your while, but hopefully our efforts will not end there! So if you have suggestions on how we can make life better for you please don’t hesitate to let us know. (As always, no guarantees, though :)

Cafetalk Team

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can I change an order of my services?

You can click "services" on the left side of you page,then you can click and drag on a service to change its order.

Thank you.

Cafetalk Team

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What if your student didn't show up ?

If your student didn't show up at the confirmed time, you can cancel the request.
Login to the request page, and click the request.
When you click "cancel", you can choose the reason "Student did not show up at the confirmed time".
You can also choose a Cancellation Charge of 0%, 50% or 100%.

If you choose this reason, the student will not be able to write your review, but you will, on the contrary, be able to write one for the student.

Thank you.

Cafetalk Team

Cafetalk here

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Why you're still getting requests outside of your available times (and what we're doing about it)

Some of you may be wondering why some students manage to make requests outside of your available times. How did these requests possibly slip through! Are the guys at Cafetalk completely incompetent monkeys?

Well, monkeys we are, but there is some reasoning behind what we do - let me clarify how this works.

The first thing you should know is that the system does allow students to make requests outside of a tutor's declared available times. This is because students may be doing so based on a prior agreement with the tutor. (I certainly allow some of my students to make requests at strange hours in the morning because I value their patronage. But I don't want to openly advertise the fact to the entire world or I'd go insane pretty quickly)

So that's that, and we don't plan to disallow this any time soon.

What we have done however, is generate warnings so students will know that the times they have requested are outside of the tutor's available schedule.

And we also have something similar when a student tries to schedule a lesson with less than 24 hours notice.

These changes were implemented only a few days ago. Hopefully you won't be getting any more strange requests unless you're expecting them.

P.S. Thank you Dan for the suggestions that led us to put this in place.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sending more Yahoo! users your way.

Hello all,

We just wanted to let you know of some of our efforts to spread the word on and ultimately get more students for you. The latest of such is our partnership with Yahoo! Japan. Users of Yahoo! can now register on Cafetalk using their Yahoo! ID. And for this, Yahoo! is generously promoting our site on their logout page for a limited time (something like a month). The results have been very positive so far. More students are definitely on the prowl looking for tutors and we hope to make the best of this stroke of good fortune.

Making a site grow is a long, uphill battle, but we're confident that we have the BEST tutors of any online teaching service, and we think it's only a matter of time before students catch on.

If you have any suggestions on how we can spread the word or direct traffic to worthy tutors please feel free to let us know.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How do you check and change the category of your services


You can login to you page, then click "services" button.

You can see the services you have,and you can check the category of each services.

If you want to change the details of services including category,please click the pencil icon.

Then change the category.

Thank you!

Cafetalk Team

cafetalk here

Interval function

Dear All,
The interval function is now released.

You can now set "Interval" to 30Min in your profile.
If you set the 30Min interval, the system will automatically block 30 minutes after the scheduled completion time of each request. Students will not be able to make requests during this time.
For example, if you have a 30 minute lesson starting at 16:00 the system will automatically block your schedule from 16:30 to 17:00. This could be useful if you would like to set aside some extra time between lessons in order to complete reviews or take a short rest.

Thank you.

Cafetalk Team

cafetalk here

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Please check your course category

Dear All,

We are going to open a "Search Lessons" function in addition to Search Tutors this week.

In the Search Lessons page, you can easily search by Category as well as Language. For example, you can search by English > Grammar, or English > Children's ,and so on.

To make this work properly, every service you have should be associated with a category.
So please log in to your account and click "Services", then check the category for each of your services.
Also, we recommend that you will register new services you are good at.

◇Why is category important?
If you have registered your service with category "English", it shows when somebody searches with English.
On the other hand, If you have registered your service with category "English > Grammar" for example, it shows when somebody searches with English > Grammar as well as English.
As a result, it can be showed more often than just registering with Language.

◇Current Categories
We have only categories details of English because many students are aimed at studying English.
-For Children
-Job Interview Prep
-Test Prep (TOEIC, TOEFL, etc.)
-Speaking & Pronunciation
-For English Teachers
・Other Languages

If you wish to add a languages or a new category, please feel free to mail us. We will consider whether it would be possible.

Thank you!

Cafetalk Team.

cafetalk here

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Old Cafetalk to be fully migrated on June 28th

Dear All,

Before anything we would like to express our gratitude to all of you who have moved your profiles over to the new system (
Thanks to you the new system is chugging along nicely and we've heard only good things from students so far.

Now, this brings us to the sad part of our announcement, which is that we have decided to retire the old site ( to eliminate much of the confusion caused by keeping it alive. The JP site has served us well, but it's time to say good bye.
We will be putting it into one of our happy retirement servers according to the schedule below, so please make sure to have your profiles on the new system (cafetalk.COM) if you haven't already.<>

JP site ( migration schedule

June 23, 2010 14:00 Japan Standard Time
New requests will not be accepted in the old system.

June 28, 2010 14:00 JST
You will automatically be redirected to the new site ( when you access the old site.

* It should be possible to access your old account even after June 28, but all other access will be automatically redirected to the new site.


Cafetalk Team

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Automatic billing function and sending multiple messages

Dear All,
The automatic billing function we promised last month is now up and running.

You can now set "Auto Billing" to ON in your profile - this will trigger the generation of a payment request on the first day of every month. This payment request will include fees for lessons completed during and prior to the previous month. E.g., The payment request generated on July 1 will include all outstanding lessons completed on or before June 31.
However, please note that the 1000 Yen minimum payout still applies, so a payment request won't be generated if your accumulated total is below this amount.
And don't worry if for some reason you forgot to "complete" a lesson for a particular month because that will automatically be picked up and incorporated in the next billing cycle.

That being said, you also still have the option to manually create your payment requests if you want more control over when and how much you'll be paid. But hopefully this will make it just a little easier for those who'd rather have it on auto-pilot.

Right. That's it for now. As usual, if you spot any bugs or issues with the new billing system please email us or leave them in the comments section of this article and we'll get on it as soon as we can.

One more thing...

You can now send a message to multiple students as long as they are registered in your favorites. Hope that helps.

Cafetalk Team
cafetalk here

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Please Confirm

Dear Tutors!

It is just a reminder about the Fees and Payment.

Please check out below.

(the old

Payment for lessons done through the old platform ( will
be automatically calculated and paid out by the 15th as usual.
It is paid by Bilingual Partners Inc.

(the new

As you know, in the new system you have to make a "payment request" in
order to be paid.
For all Payment Requests made on or before the 3rd of the month,
payments will be made on the following 15th.
So if you want to be paid for fees of May, please make Payment Requests on your "My Page".
It is paid by Small Bridge Inc.

Also, as per the notice on this page

we are in the process of building an automatic billing function but it won't
be available for a few weeks yet, so please bear with us and create a
payment request for the month of May if you would like to be paid.

About fees and payments of the new cafetalk, please also look at this page.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Thank you!

Cafetalk Team

cafetalk here

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How to Use Coupons?

Coupons - anyone who's shopped online has probably used a discount coupon at one point or another.
Cafetalk also lets tutors issue coupons to students. We introduced this function primarily so that tutors can raise their rates but let existing students request lessons at the original price by making use of their discounts. That way you won't find that you've suddenly lost all your students when you make changes to your lesson price.
You can also issue coupons to get new students or increase customer loyalty.

Coupons can be limited to a particular student, course, or be applicable for all your courses and students.

Here's how to make one.

First log into your mypage and click "Coupons".

Click "Create New" and enter your coupon name, discount rate and validity dates. The cost of the discounts are shared equally between you and Cafetalk. Note that both the price you charge to your students and your rates will be reduced by the percentage you enter.

Once you successfully create a coupon you'll need to let your students know about it. The best way to do this would be to send your student a message. You'll find a list of your students in your favorites page.
Once inside your message creation screen, just click on post coupon info to paste your newly created coupon onto the message body.

Students can receive a discount by entering the coupon code every time they request a lesson.

If you wish to create a coupon that is specific to a particular student, you'll need to select the "Create New Coupon" link from the student list in your favorites. Then repeat the previous steps.

Cafetalk Team
Cafetalk here

Monday, May 24, 2010

A few changes to the system > Complete function & reduced min payout

Dear All,

Just wanted to thank all of you who have transferred your profiles to the new system and especially those who have given us feedback both through this blog and through private email.

Also, one general announcement before going into the topic of this post. Cafetalk has now been released to the general public as of today. Last week we only sent notices to a thousand or so students who had signed up for our newsletter. And so some students may not have heard about the new system yet. Sorry we didn't make that clear before, and we apologize if that caused any confusion with any of your students.

Okay. Now for the changes... Based on discussions in this previous post (New Cafetalk Sneak Peek) we're implementing a few changes to the system. Hopefully all for the good from your perspective.

  1. 5000JPY minimum payout reduced to 1000JPY
    Many of you thought the high minimum payout was a little uncalled for so we reduced this to 1000JPY. This has already been implemented in the new system. As we said in the earlier post, we thought some form of minimum payout was necessary because we need to pay as much as 420 Yen per transfer to a Japanese bank. And on top of that we give about 5-8 percent to credit card processing companies when customers first purchase the points. So, as much as we'd love to do away with the minimum payout altogether, we're hoping this reduced value will be an acceptable compromise.
  2. "Automatic Payment Request" coming soon!
    As you know, in the new system you have to make a "payment request" in order to be paid. There was a little resistance to this also (and for good reason). So we are going to build some sort of function that will enable automatic monthly billing. However, we're kind of super-swamped right now so we're going to have to ask you to wait about a month for this. In the meantime, please bear with us and use the "payment request" function to get paid.
  3. "Lesson Completion" button now available to tutors as well
    Tutors can now complete the lessons just like in the old system. But please, please use this only if the lesson has really been completed. I know this goes without saying but some of you have misunderstood this button for something else.

Most of these changes were made thanks to feedback from Mr. Spears and Zoe (and a few others who probably wish to remain anonymous). To see a detailed exchange of our discussions and the rationale behind each change please refer to comments on this post.

One more thing. The changes are not yet reflected in the Tutor Terms but we will be doing that very soon. Although they're not in the terms you can take our word that these changes will be made if they haven't been already.

Thanks again to all of you. Again, please do leave us comments if you have any issues or requests. I can't promise that all of them will be accommodated but we will make changes to the system as long as they benefit both tutors and students.

Cafetalk Team
Cafetalk here

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Cafetalk update!

Dear Tutors

Before anything we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of
you for your continued services on Cafetalk.

And thanks to the few of you who have taken the time to transfer your
profiles to the new Cafetalk.

Details here!

Here's an update:

We're releasing the system to students on Thursday this week! (5/20)

Furthermore, students will NO LONGER BE ABLE TO BUY POINTS ON

(They'll still be able to request lessons but only until their current
points last)

So now would be a good time to have your profile set up on the new
system and get yourself ready for the transition.

We've tried to make transfer as painless as possible.

Just login to the new system with your current email and password and
the rest should be fairly self explanatory.

We've also released the new Tutor Terms which will apply to all things
done under the new site

You can also check out the Tutor FAQ for more details

If you have any questions please direct them our way, and we'll post it here. Thanks again!

The Cafetalk Team
Cafetalk here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Cafetalk Sneak Peek

Hello all, This announcement is a little sudden, but the long promised new version of Cafetalk is finally here! It's still not available to the general public yet, but we're giving you pre-release access to log on and play around with it. For more information please watch the videos below.

Some of the more notable features in the new system are:
  • Fully bilingual Japanese/English interface for both tutors and students. With more languages planned in the future. (Yes, we're going global so you'll be able to reach out to students all over the world!)
  • All times displayed in your local timezone with daylight savings time support.
  • You can let everybody know that you're "online" and ready to take lessons.
  • Other self-promotion features available and many more in the pipeline.

Please take this opportunity to login and check out the new interface.

You current email and password should work. If it doesn't, please let us know. Chances are your profile wasn't migrated properly and needs some manual work.
Sorry. There's a five minute time limit to our video capture software so we're doing this in two parts...
Finally, we just want to say that many more features are in the pipeline. We know many of you have given us valuable ideas for improvements and we will try to incorporate them soon. That's it for now. Please feel free to leave feedback on this blog post or just email us through the inquiries page. Thanks again to all of your for your patience and support!