By Linda Evenson -- 

Normally, I don’t care what my competition says about ISS. I’ve always believed that the best way to market is to show folks why ISS is the best choice for them, not to denigrate other courses. The world is already so negative; I don’t want to pile more on that heap. 

However, I do feel compelled to address this misinformation because it says, “And ASE openly challenges anyone reading this that if you find a claim on this website that is disputable, feel free to contact us…” Okay, ASE. I’m your huckleberry. While I believe much of this material is aimed at a competing (to ASE) proofreading course, here are some of my thoughts:

Some courses go “over the top” when talking about scoping, and it makes prospective students “feel like you could conquer the world in a day.” Personally, I’ll take enthusiasm any day over complacency! After over 40 years of scoping, I am still a cheerleader for the profession and excited about it! I have been so blessed to have this as my lifetime profession. It’s actually humbling that I have found something that fits my aptitudes and interests so well. I will forever be thankful that I stumbled upon, or God led me to -- as I believe -- scoping. 

I give lots of information on my web pages. I think people want to be fully informed on anything they are laying down their hard-earned bucks for. I know I do. I am totally honest with prospective students. If they make a lot of errors in their initial email to me, I tell them I don’t think they have the aptitude with English to be successful in this career. In my opinion, the last thing this profession needs is more people who don’t have the skills to do the job. 

I don’t know about other courses, but the ISS course and the material on the website were all originally conceived of and written by yours truly, including videos. We have added information that students have expressed interest in and to stay current in the field. We don’t add sections to puff up our training; we don’t need to. We stand on our reputation and the well-known quality of our graduates.

Using one word from another course’s name is not illegal. How interesting that this came up because a competitor scoping course threatened me with a lawsuit a few months ago because they chose -- unadvisedly, in my opinion -- to use a descriptive adjective as part of their name. Just because you use a certain word in your name doesn’t mean that you own that word. That would be like me saying that any course who uses the word “internet” on their site is infringing on the name of Internet Scoping School. Ridiculous! But when it comes to my business, I take no chances. It cost me $500 to have my attorney research and respond to this ludicrous, frivolous allegation that I believe was nothing but harassment. I have no respect for behind-the-scenes, unscrupulous tactics like this. Compete in the open and use fair business strategies or go home.

Yes, ISS uses paid internet advertising. We are in business to produce the best ( if I may use that word), most professional scopists in the world and, unashamedly, to make money. This is the goal of every business, including ASE. As technology changes, smart business owners change with it. (Please see ISS blog entitled “Internet Marketing” for further information.) 

I think the following is an insult: “How a young mother with a toddler running around can ‘claim’ to do this job is a little beyond our understanding…” In my opinion, these are perfect careers for young moms who can’t afford to pay for day care and work outside of the home. I successfully scoped for many years when my kids were little. I used naptimes, self-entertaining periods, times after my husband got home from work, and weekends, if necessary, to get my work done. I didn’t get complaints from my clients because I did what I had to do to meet their deadlines. I loved being able to fit my work in around my life instead of vice versa.

What about comparison charts? Funny. I remember ASE used one of those when it first started up that supposedly compared BeST, ISS, and ASE. It claimed that BeST basically taught half of the punctuation it should, and ISS taught punctuation but not semicolons. How absurd! I approached Devon privately about it, and she admitted she only spoke to one ISS grad in total, and that person didn’t remember being taught semicolons. What a well-researched survey!

ISS does have a comparison chart as to how much experience scoping instructors had when they launched their courses. ASE was started when Devon had only two years of scoping experience; I had over twenty and had previously taught scopists in-house for a reporting firm. I can tell you that when I had two years of experience, I was still wet behind the ears. There were many, many situations I had not yet encountered as a scopist. Looking back after 40+ years of scoping, I now know what I didn’t know. 

From the very beginning, ISS was the only course that prescreened prospective students. That’s because the aforementioned reporting firm wanted me to train their new scopists, but they were giving me people who weren’t qualified for the training, so I devised a test to give candidates. I wonder how many students spent their money to be trained as scopists when they had no aptitude for it. 

Not one ISS student graduates without passing every test in the course. Obviously, some people will be better than others, just as some reporters are better than others. But I guarantee that every ISS grad has had to study hard to get through this course and pass every test. Does that mean ISS turns out only experts? No one does. But I ensure I do all I can to see to it that they know their stuff. 

Any recommendations or testimonials that are given to ISS are strictly voluntary, as are the graduates’ listings. We have never paid for a grad testimonial ever. ISS just asks grads, if they feel comfortable doing so, to leave some comments. One ISS scopist told me she didn’t want to be on the page because she had all of the clients she wanted and didn’t want to be bothered. What a great problem to have! Grads often pass on job leads to other grads because they simply can’t take all of the work that is available to them. 

ISS is welcome on Triple Threat Scoping Job Board, where ASE/Devon are not allowed. A prominent trainer in the field only recommends experienced scopists with great reps and scoping program graduates from ISS. NCRA, for years, sent all folks with scoping questions to me and recommended ISS to potential students who asked. 

I am proud of the ISS course and its graduates and the great reputation they have among reporters. I have put many years and my heart and soul into making ISS and every graduate a success. And neither they nor I need to run down our competition to be successful and never will. 

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