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Udemy raises $50M at a $2B valuation from Japanese publisher Benesse (techcrunch.com)
121 points by h4l0 on Feb 20, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 124 comments

My issue with Udemy isn't their constant "sales" or the way they treat their tutors.

It's the 95% amount of crap on the platform. It's genuinely difficult to sort the good quality courses from the tons of bad courses. Especially the ones that have got tons of 5 star ratings but only because the tutor promised them another free course if they rate 5 stars.

Just because everyone can upload a course to Udemy, doesn't mean that they should and the platform suffers for it

I've bought ~20 courses on Udemy; variety of software engineering; music lessons; language lessons; and random; not a single one had reasonable "information density" - i.e., I'm sure if I watched all 20 hours I'd pick up some useful information, but probably only an hour's worth.

I've since moved to mostly either using free Youtube videos and just picking specific knowledge I need, or paying much more for targeted professional courses.

Mostly though, I've gone back to my preferred method of learning - books - where I can control the speed and repetition as it suits the moment :-/

I'm friends with a top course creator on Udemy and the info density issue is caused by the buying habits of users.

- Most buy based on sales (at a crazy discount), ASP is ~$10 off his ostensibly several hundred dollar course

- Most 95%+ never even _open_ the course

- Of the remainder it's about .25% that "finish" the course in any meaningful way

- Most people buying the courses are aspirational about it ("Yeah I should know about that") and aren't making a detailed analysis of the materials

- Most people buy on _length_ - that they'll look at two courses on the same topic and take the one that is longer and/or has more modules or chapters

- Udemy has a new program for enterprises that pays based on minutes/month of content consumed.

Should be noted this is a highly technical course aimed at developers/devops (situation might be different for guitar lessons).

>Udemy has a new program for enterprises that pays based on minutes/month of content consumed.

LinkedIn has something similar with what used to be Lynda. (Not sure what the payment scheme looks like.) I imagine this sort of thing is fairly common. Corporations have a relatively modest set of online courses they create (or have created) on topics specifically relevant to their products/market and they want to fill out their training catalog with a lot of general and relatively low cost material.

> Of the remainder it's about .25% that "finish" the course in any meaningful way

Some users don't pay for courses to "finish" them, but to check key lessons and refer to them when needed. Personally I've paid for a few MOOCs just to routinely watch/listen some parts, skip a bunch of lessons, and listen others passively.

As a non-software person trying to learn to code, I'll say that Fred Baptiste's python courses are an excellent blend between practical and theoretical with very high information density.

There are a few other good courses out there, but it's hard to know whether the teachers are that good. The review system is as broken and manipulated as any.

Ultimately, I'd love it if someone could come up with a third-party tool (kind of like review meta) that gave customized ratings and recommendations based on how similar other reviewers reviews were to mine. Not sure how possible that would be, but a cross platform product would be amazing.

Course creators are incentivized to add quantity not quality of content. 'Become a web developer from scratch' is ~40 hours of mostly shite content and it has sold tens of thousands on Udemy.

Most people don't take their courses so content doesn't really matter.

Udemy is a flash sale coupon course platform. Some people do actually learning on it but not very many.

Actually we had the same problem and we are trying to create a platform called Jooseph, which is basically playlists for learning. You can follow modules curated from different resources.

We realized there are a lot of great content out there but it is hard to suspect which one is time worthy or which is reliable or relevant.

So at Jooseph you can follow curated list of resources from different channels such as medium, youtube or podcasts anything valuable. Also, any user can create his/her own list for share or just to store it.

We are at Public Beta right Now you can try free from; https://jooseph.com

Hey checked out jooseph. Looks good.

I've browsed through Udemy and have the same impression. I used Pluralsight before I ever saw Udemy and when I saw Udemy for the first time it seemed pretty bad in comparison.

> My issue with Udemy isn't their constant "sales" or the way they treat their tutors.

Which was the same half a decade ago except they just sold another $50M worth of shares and will keep doing this for another half a decade.

Occasionally there are some gems. But yes like others have said I have gotten more value from free youtube courses in the last 2 or 3 years. Udemy courses have more so pointed me in the right direction, introduced me to concepts that improved my search strings to find what I really needed to know. I'm fine paying for that. I find that Udemy is really an incentive to learning how to funnel viewers to your own sites where you can still host on Udemy but they take less of a cut.

Actually we had the same problem and we trying to create a platform called Jooseph, which is basically playlists for learning. You can follow modules curated from different resources.

Like you said there are a lot of great youtube courses out there.

So at Jooseph you can follow curated list of resources from different channels such as medium, youtube or podcasts anything valuable. Also, any user can create his/her own list for share or just to store it.

We are at Public Beta right Now you can try free from; https://jooseph.com

Udemy is selling a dream, more so, than an education.

They mostly target lower income internet natives, who have heard of coding, not enough to do anything dangerous but certainly enough to long for the good money and great perks.

You are not really committed to switching up your life, but a "premium product" at 90% off down to 20$, how could you not give it a try? It's an affordable dream and makes for an easy sale.

I don't have a ton of experience with Udemy. But I took an introduction to Autodesk Inventor class there in January and I thought it was quite good. Was only something like €10 and I was able to do quite complex drawings (at least for what I need) after two days. Much cheaper and probably almost as effective as one of those expensive corporate training classes that are often a €1000,- for just two days.

I owe my Java career to following a Spring for Beginners course. It did more to accelerate me forwards than, at that point, 2 years of university.

From my experience most corporate classes are pretty bad. It seems to sell these the main skill is to sell to execs and make them feel good, not to have good classes. Pretty much like enterprise software is sold not to actual users but to execs who will never use it.

How many managers would give you time off to study a udemy course though, vs a £1000 professionally run one?

It’s frustrating that the main advantage of paying a lot for a course, is having some proper time to do it.

My team which manages our company's ecommerce website inherited maintaining an iOS app that was being developed by a contracting firm. No one on my team had much experience in iOS. My company is extremely frugal. I bought an intro to iOS course on Udemy for the five of us for about fifty dollars total. It was excellent. Was definitely blown away by the quality and the price. It got us quickly up to speed on xcode, debugging, swift, view creation and publishing to the app store among other things. I am sure there is junk content on udemy, but there is also really good content that is worth more than the price.

We as a team also did a four hour course on TLS and PKI and it was a game changer. It was much better than reading up stuff.

Oh nice! Whats the name? I dont need it. But i try to teach this stuff to newcomer!

I've felt that Udemy courses are a good starting point for understanding a topic in a structured manner. Once you know the basics, you can move to a better, more expensive course.

For instance, I bought a course on mixing vocals in Ableton. I've watched dozens of YouTube videos on this topic and know enough, but none of my learning has been in a structured fashion. The Udemy course compiled all these lessons in a way that's better paced and structured.

Given that it was less than $10 compared to the hundreds of dollars higher-tier courses charge, I find it good enough value.

> They mostly target lower income internet natives

Seems to me they're increasingly targeting businesses, with their Udemy for Business offering that is a subscription service. I have a course published there and currently get about half of the revenue from the Udemy for Business share.

The TechCrunch article also mentions this: "It also has, in more recent years, expanded to enterprise services, where Udemy works with companies like Adidas, General Mills, Toyota, Wipro, Pinterest and Lyft and others — 5,000 in all — to develop and administer subscription-based professional development courses."

This is probably the case in a lot if instances, however, it's not always the true. I think there is a lot of value to be gained for existing programmers who wish to dip their toes into something new before fully committing or refresh their skills after some time away.

I say this because it's helped me do both of these things. When MongoDB came out and I was looking to start a new personal project that looked like it could benefit from a nosql db, I bought a cheap course and was able to quickly see that boring old MySQL was more suitable. There was also the time when I needed to get back into Android development after a couple of years of doing only iOS and back-end work. For $10 I was able to quickly get up to speed on what had changed and identify what I needed to do deeper reading on.

All that said, I have trouble seeing how they will be able to make this investment worthwhile for their backers in the long-run.

Agreed, but the courses do offer a good look at the work, and can give a good introduction to the field. Not sure how it is in the US, but here in Germany probably around 3/4 of people studying CS drop out in the first two years.

If people unsure about their path can get a taste for 20 bucks, then that's a pretty great deal!

If you do not have the tools you need then it is difficult to succeed.

The constant sales are annoying but the few courses I took were quite good and helpful especially if it’s something you know nothing about.

Exactly. I respect Udacity's founder Sebastian Thrun for actually owning up to the fact that very little learning was happening on Udacity and that they needed to work on that. They actually cared.

I prefer Coursera because I'd rather shell out 40 euros and get a high-quality course from say, Roughgarden at Stanford than pay 15 euros and get something worse than just scanning Youtube.

Also Coursera has the whole system of problem sets and programming assignments etc.

That said - I'd be happy if someone could show me some decent Udemy courses?

I have a PhD in CS but am a huge udemy fan/user. The itch it scratches when I want to learn about a brand new topic. You asked for good courses .. Andrew LeMoth's course in electronics is absolutely brilliant. He does the lecture in a very unconventional style .. almost like he stayed awake for 40 hours and recorded the whole thing. It isn't college level .. I.e. no differential equations but it is brilliant. I have also gotten my money's worth from FPGA courses and those on arm/rtos programming. Oh .. once I got a course on wireless charging just to support a a blogger who goes by afrotechmod. It was short but great content, and let me say thanks to someone I admire.

The ai lectures on udemy are a bit weaker in my opinion. YouTube and university content is better.

In contrast, I have never paid for coursera, edx or audacity. A key thing is the price point of 15 bucks .. I don't feel bad at all blowing cash on the udemy courses .. it is like a movie ticket. A 100 usd course feels like real money.

The great thing about Coursera and edX are, the certificate is optional and auditing is free. I took courses on Algorithms by Sedgewick from Princeton, courses from MIT and Harvard, and so on without ever spending a cent. In fact, this is how I self-taught CS and programming (and eventually switched careers from law).

As far as practical skills go, a Pluralsight subscription was by far the thing that helped me the most. As long as you stay with the well-reviewed courses, the information density tends to be extremely high. It's how I learned enough about desktop GUI dev via WPF to score a volunteer 'consulting'-type gig with a nonprofit, and that combined with what I learned from there about Angular got me my first job.

There are some decent ones. Plus Coursera courses can be endless and dry. Udemy has a more... eeh free market model where the best stuff rises to the top and you have more competition. Even the quality of the video/áudio on coursera is occasionally very bad.

Having used both I think they’re just different. Udemy has very neat short courses while Coursera is really long and for some purposes, overly long and detailed.

Decent courses - I did a pretty great drawing course and Unity programming intro courses on Udemy that I really really enjoyed.

I've had really good luck with programming topics, specifically Docker, Kubernetes, Kafka, and Elasticsearch. These are narrow topics that you are unlikely to find on Coursera and many of the courses are published by well known figures in their respective communities. I have yet to hit a bad one.

Udemy has a 30 day refund policy as well, so you can try a course out with low risk.

Which are your favorites for docker and elastic?

I really enjoyed the v6 version of this one for Elastic: https://www.udemy.com/course/elasticsearch-7-and-elastic-sta...

And as for Docker, this was my favorite: https://www.udemy.com/course/docker-and-kubernetes-the-compl...

I've watched a bunch of this guys Kafka courses too, and they were all fantastic so I would recommend any thing that he's got if it picques your interest: https://www.udemy.com/courses/search/?q=stephane%20maarek&sr...

I think this really depends on what you want you're looking for. I agree with you in so far, that I don't think Udemy is particularly good for providing some solid theoretical (or semi-theoretical) basis for any given programming topic. I usually just use books (or sometimes coursera courses) for that. Udemy courses, however, are pretty good at providing you a decent idea of how to apply knowledge in a given domain to a specific problem without going into too much theoretical detail. To give an example, if you need to get up to speed with React in short time and you just want to see how one would structure or build one, two react projects, simply get a high-rated udemy course on react and you'll get a pretty decent idea. Sure, you could read the docs and then go through some popular github react projects and learn it that way. But I do enjoy just coding along every now and then, and I think it's fairly good at that.

If you are interested in ReactJS dev, here's a great course: https://www.udemy.com/course/react-the-complete-guide-incl-r...

I take a lot of Udemy courses. When I want to learn something new I generally buy a course (look for at least 4 stars and a minimum 500 votes, though popular topics will have thousands of ratings) and binge-watch the entire thing in a couple of days. It gives me an idea of what's possible with this particular technology. Later when I really need to use that technology I spend futher time doing code examples etc. Has worked really well for me to keep abreast of multiple technologies in my CTO job.

One main issue is that most of the courses only cover bigginner and intermediate level tasks only. I think the reason for this is that an instructor needs thousands of sales to be profitable on Udemy. Even for relatively popular topics like Magento and Salesforce development, one sees very less enrollment numbers. Only core popular techonolgies like Python, Node.js, AI/ML, etc see thousands of sales.

I've found this person's courses [0] to be very high quality, and they go through pretty advanced topics, such as convolutional neural networks for natural language processing, which might be to your point.

[0] https://deeplearningcourses.com/course_order

I've never taken an Udemy class, but am sure there's quality content on the website. However, I've always felt that the way they show their prices is a little fishy.

Looking at their offering now, all of the courses are priced between 10 - 13 euros, but each one seems to be "on sale" with the actual price being in the hundreds of euros.

There actually is a German DIY store that went bankrupt because of this practice. Their slogan was "20% off everything except animal food." Since it was pretty much always 20% off, nobody bothered going for any sale. Instead they only went when they really needed something or chose a different store because of their stupid slogan. Closed down a few years back. Having a constant sale doesn't seem to help your sales apparently.

Related lesson learned from JC Penny’s shift in pricing strategy: https://mmrstrategy.com/lessons-in-pricing-strategy-from-jcp...

However here in the states, Kohl's has been surviving kind of on this strategy alone. The quality of the clothes is actually quite low, but they price them at "normal" prices and then almost constantly have massive sales -- 20%, 30%, even 40%. My mom will in fact refuse to shop there until there's at least a 30% sale.

Meanwhile the value-accurate price of the clothes IS that prices that's actually 40% off, but she thinks she's getting a steal.

I noticed a course this weekend I was a bit interested in. And they said it was 94% off. 150 NOK ($16) instead of 2350 NOK ($250). It was some kind of offer that would expire this weekend, and I had "9 hours left" or something to get it at that price. I actually wrote it down because I had the same feeling of being manipulated.

You made me check, it's still 94% off at the 150 NOK price. Now it's some kind of offer that lasts until Feb 21. Will be interesting to see what the price is in two days..

Been following courses on their site for a while. Those 95% or $10 offers are around almost all year round. I have bought courses at random times and have never ever paid more than $20. They are fishy about the pricing but I personally did find the courses valuable.

An update to this: The offer expired yesterday. Then I however was prompted that the normal price was 2350 NOK, but as a new user I could get it for 150 NOK for the next X hours. So just a new offer with the same price lined up after the first expired.

Earlier today I checked, and then the price was back at 2350 NOK. However, checking again now a few hours later, it's again a new offer for 150 NOK as a new user. And if I log in, it's 250 NOK without any mention about why, just a "90% off!" tag.

So yeah, the full price is a fake one.

Update again: The last 150NOK offer is now over. There is however a new campaign where I can buy it for 163NOK for the next 4 days.

maybe they should understand the point that people who really want to buy courses don't look for sales.

I never bought a technical/educational book in my life till just because it was on sale

Also, opening their front page at the same time from different browsers can show completely different discount levels. And those will be different still from the prices that you see when you log into your account.

They used to be in the hundreds range, but for a few years now Udemy has been on a constant sale. They used to go up and down from the sale but I haven’t seen them go up anymore for ages.

I have stopped considering Udemy for my online learning exactly for this reason.

Anyone recommend any Udemy courses, on any topic? My experience is that there are very few where both delivery and content are good.

My own recommendations would be Stephen Grider’s React courses, and Chris Croft’s management courses.

"JavaScript: Understanding the weird parts" by Anthony Alicea is a high-quality course which helped me understand JS on a more fundamental level. This is the main one I always recommend for folks who know JS, but would like to take a step further: https://www.udemy.com/course/understand-javascript/

This hasn't been updated in 5 years.

That was the first Udemy course I bought, and was fairly surprised by the quality. Anthony Alicea hasn't released anything for a while, so I'm wondering if the relatively immense success of his courses has made him financially independent.

I studied Vue and Nuxt through Maximilian Schwarzmüller’s courses, which I liked. He has a very beginner-friendly teaching style, which was right for me at the time but might not work for everyone.

Yes can vouch for Maximilian Schwarzmüller. I have gone through many of his courses. He tends to cover everything from basic to advanced topics. The courses are generally longer also.

This is his YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSJbGtTlrDami-tDGPUV9-w

Cam here to recommend Maximilian Schwarzmüller’s courses. I started on the Advanced Javascript and once I compeleted that have gone and done a few more with him (including Vue). It was instrumental in getting me competent enough to be a developer today.

Its worth pointing out he is not only on udemy though.

+1 for Max. I'm a backend dev who got thrown on the frontend, and i enjoyed his React course and also the CSS one with some other guy.

For $10, these courses are a much better value to me than the somewhat absurd process for tech books from Manning and O'Reilly that are often $50 and will be out of date in two years.

I used to be a huge tech book fan and would spend hours at Barnes and Nobles and Borders during their heyday, and they had massive sections devoted to programming and IT.

I'd hoped ebooks and cheap publishing would have brought down the price of books, especially those related to some software version that will be outdated in a short time, making the book worthless. But the industry refuses to give up their old pricing model, so maybe Udemy and similar sites can provide an alternative.

I like his style. I was able to watch a lot of his stuff start to finish like a tv show.

I stopped bothering with Udemy a couple years ago, in my experience 90% of their courses were junk.

Packt is OK but a few of their courses are unintelligible due to a strong foreign accent.

Lynda (or Linkedin now) has good quality but seems more geared toward beginners, it's rare to find advanced topics.

I like Pluralsight, they have advanced topics and their foreign instructors are intelligible.

I haven't been on Pluralsight in a while, but always found it to be high quality. Has anything interesting come out recently?


His Kafka course https://www.udemy.com/course/apache-kafka/ is highly rated and AWS courses get good feedback. A lot of effort gone in to the production and is knowledgeable on the topics.

Given the Kafka course has 56,023 registered students alone even at the lowest offer price minus Udemy fee's he's done alright out of it.

Glad to see someone mention this course. It and several other courses that he published were very helpful getting me up to speed on Kafka.

Sometimes authors give away a course for free for a few days and post on places like Reddit. This helps them to get the initial mass and ratings. So we can't always assume that all registered students have paid for the course. I have taken a few free courses like these when I saw them on reddit.

Stephane is legit.

I have the same experience, in fact for the most part I feel like everything I've tried on Udemy has been the same level of quality as a YouTube tutorial.

I've been generally happy with Ben Tristem's beginner game dev courses. Specifically because they make an effort to stay up-to-date with the engine updates, and they demonstrate every single step involved in the process so if there's anything a beginner Unity/Unreal dev gets stuck on in the process, they'll find a video demonstration of how to do it there.

His Unreal Engine C++ course is especially great.

I'm half into Colt Steele's "Web Developer Bootcamp", it's been really good so far.

But according to some reviews it's also above average for Udemy content.

As it seems we have moved away from just Udemy courses - I think the content on linuxacademy is generally good, and their labs are useful.

Linux Academy's lab based approach is pretty helpful, but sometimes their course content (videos) is pretty horrendous. Some of the course content (particularly Kubernetes and other container related courses) often seems like it is made by people who aren't as familiar with the technologies as they think they are, or are just not capable of intelligibly organizing slide decks (making things headings that shouldn't be, leaving elements out of lists of items, etc.).

I had done some of the AWS courses and was just about to move onto their Kubernetes stuff -- is there another resource you'd recommend instead?


The ultimate drawing course taught me a lot of helpful little tidbits that improved my drawing - https://www.udemy.com/course/the-ultimate-drawing-course-beg...

GameDev.tv courses on game development are pretty good, their Blender course was also pretty good.

Would you recommend it for someone who has good experience in programming apps but has zero experience in game development? Any other suggestions?

That is exactly me! Some parts of the course may seem too easy if you have programming experience, but the Unity part is useful.

All the courses by this gy-uy are very good https://www.udemy.com/user/andrewmead/

Frontend Masters, Egghead and Kent C Dodd’s testing course are all much better if it’s programming (especially web) you’re interested in.

The official Flutter course was very good, hosted by London App Brewery.

Definitely worth it if you’re looking into cross-platform frontend development.

I've been enjoying Mike Meyer's Security+ course, though professor Messer's course is a good and free alternative.

+1 for anything by Stephen Grider.

depends, there was a Golang course that I really liked, but it was deleted and lost access to it !

Which one? It should be archived in torrents.

I sell a course on Udemy for 189 Euros. They constantly sell it at around 9 Euronand keep a big chunk of it. The only way to make money is to bring in your leads but at that point it's just better to sell directly.

Classic rent extracting platforms.

I always wondered who gets to decide what's on sale! How does your agreement work with them?

I am not sure as the Udemy account is managed by a friend. I'm pretty sure we have no saying on the price. With 100 students we cashed $329. So, there it is: 3,29 $ per course.

Basically a tip.

I sell the Italian version of this course directly for 200 €.

What delivery platform do you use?

Do you mean for the Italian version? Own Wordpress website with s2member plugin

OK. I just set up a LearnDash site trying to focus on content and not the engineering for an MVP. Thinking maybe Moodle when it's time to migrate.

They should send them $5M and claim they saw they were on sale at a 90% discount on the website. That would give them a taste of their own medicine, it is exactly how they treat their authors.

Hi guys! I hope I’m able to contribute by bringing some of my own experience and real data to this discussion. I'm the founder of Classpert (https://classpert.com), a search and comparison site for online courses. In the last 6 months, we’ve managed to sell over 2000 courses, in 8 different languages and across 80 different countries (Udemy alone is selling around 200 courses each month through Classpert). So while it is true that price has an impact on low-income customers (especially from developing countries), even for developed countries (USA, Canada, Germany, Japan) Udemy still is leading the race in number of sales (at least if we use our database as a proxy of the market)

Much of their success stems from the fact that Udemy has by far the largest catalog of online courses on the web (something around 110k courses). And while some people may argue that this comes at a cost of providing low-quality courses it also naturally provides an extremely aggressive long-tail SEO strategy. The majority of potential customers don’t correlate e-learning platforms and quality (most of their customers are not high-profile HN users), so if you are googling for an online course chances are that Udemy will be ranked at the top (and on a global scale). This also explains why they have 10x more traffic than Pluralsight or 3x more than Coursera.

On top of that (an here is much more my personal intuition than data-based analysis), Udemy not only offers cheaper courses but also has not yet adhered to “subscription models”. Subscription models target specific users. Subscription models are awkward and feel totally unnatural to most “normal users”. Why on earth a normal user, seeking for a specific bit of knowledge will lock himself on a subscription? The subscription business model seems to work much better on B2B than B2C.

Good point and I will agree to that; I am pretty much the target audience for Pluralsight, but unless my employer offers it, every time I took a subscription, I felt a strange "pressure" to utilize it (turning learning into chore rather than fun), as well as pressure to unsubscribe unless I can really justify it.

I find it strangely easier to buy a course on either Coursera or Udemy because of seeming lack of pressure :-/

I liked the site. Congrats! Very useful. Is it Bootstrapped?

Nice! We're open for feedbacks too! We received a seed from Quero Education(YC S16). Last year, we’ve made our ways to the finals but eventually got rejected by YC (S19). Not sure if we are trying a second time

You are a Udemy affiliate?

NO for offers, YES for tracking sales.

NO, because all content is regularly scraped by an in-house crawling engine specially crafted to deal with all kinds of crawling shortcomings! Typically, we crawl hundreds of thousands of courses in 4 days. The offers available through affiliate marketing networks would never work out, they just look like ads

Yes, we currently use affiliate networks to track sales (soon to be changed). This metric ensures that our product works end-to-end. At this very moment we are growing at 30% MoM and we really don’t care about revenue. We know that the e-learning landscape is completely overloaded and we’re trying to solve this problem on a global scale. Whoever wants to solve this problem, will have to think big from day one

Udemy is one of the most corrupt / worst marketplaces I've ever encountered in the world -- for the folks who make courses at least.

For reference I've had some of my courses on their platform for years and it's not like I'm bitter because no one bought my courses. I've made a solid amount of money there over the years (6 figures).

The problem is they constantly sell your course for $10 and then take 50%+. Any traffic coming from Google results in them taking 50%+ too. If you opt out of their controlled pricing then your course will be hidden from all search results, in which case you'll make nothing because no one will be able to find you and that defeats the entire purpose of using a marketplace.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. Udemy heavily hand tunes search results and cuts behind the scenes deals with instructors in certain niches, and when those deals happen, other people in the same niche get completely fucked over night.

For example, I was selling close to 50+ courses a day, then Udemy signed a contract with another person in the same niche (they told me directly). A few days after their course went live, the traffic to my course dropped by over an order of magnitude and my sales dropped by 20x. My graphs literally looks like a nose dive and I went from being able to sustain myself to having to stop creating courses.

The hilarious thing is my course is even higher rated than theirs and I've had people message me privately saying they took both courses and much preferred mine, yet it sits barely on the first page with a 4.7 average rating and like 1 sale a day with little to no traffic.

Every time I email Udemy asking about this they say they don't modify search results, but then every time I show them screenshots of very strange ranking behavior they change what they say and usually I get in a bump in sales for a day and then it drops off.

For the last few years I've spent a lot of time (and a lot of hard work) attempting to build my own audience instead of making new courses so I can drop Udemy all together. I'm not there yet, but one day I hope I'll never have to deal with that platform again and I wouldn't recommend using Udemy for both buying or selling courses to my worst enemy.

Oh, and one fun thing about being on Udemy too is, you can expect people to black mail you for unreasonable things. I've had more than 1 person on the platform email me saying things like I "MUST" help them with their custom project for free and if I don't then they they are going to give my course a 1 star review. I think due to Udemy's low prices, it attracts a certain type of person.

You should totally branch out on your own. Maybe put some "teaser" courses on Udemy with good content, but not premium, and do premium on your own. I want to take your letsencrypt course but would rather pay you directly. So as an example of my suggestion in this case, your Udemy course would maybe explain SSL, explain LetsEncrypt, and show how to get around, but the best, most usable scripts and info would only be available in your course.

It's like all the other platform stuff: You're basically a contractor for Udemy. Their rules, their terms, and you're ditched when somebody makes them a "better" deal.

I tried many different strategies over the years. The only real move is to never use Udemy for anything.

If you put a watered down version of a course on Udemy and then try to sell your premium course at the end, then a ton of people who go through the course will just slam you with 1 star reviews saying things like "this idiot gave us a 5 hour course where I learned a lot but now he wants us to buy the premium course on his own platform".

If you put a free course on Udemy, with intent to move people to your platform by gently mentioning a premium version of the course, you'll get the same type of negative reviews no matter how good the course is.

This is especially bad too because Udemy students are trained by the platform to only ever pay $10-15 for a course, even if it has 20+ hours of content, full time support and life time free updates. Suggesting a price that isn't $10 results in hostility and practically 0% conversions.

If you go the other route and create some type Udemy-specific mini course where you don't even talk about the "better" version of the course, and you really make it the best it can be then you end up hurting yourself because Google is going to rank the Udemy version higher than your own version, so organic traffic will be driven to the Udemy version.

You're waaaaay better off never to even step foot on Udemy's platform and just build your own audience with your own platform. Most successful courses are successful due to word of mouth, not the marketplace. That's the whole idea behind the "1,000 true fans" concept.

Well your $59 flask course looks awesome, you’re definitely on the right track and I see the value over having a direct connection to the creator rather than through Udemy.

Udemy is in business to make money. Be it the 50% or tweaking SERPs, why shouldn't they do that?

Udemy is ostensibly in business to help people learn something.

Udemy's business model is, as far as I can tell, identical to Valve's: get digital pack-rats like me to buy a ton of stuff we'll never even open when it's on sale. Can't fault them for doing what works, though. Of the courses I've actually gotten around to taking, I thought they were pretty good.

Udemy stuff is always on sale for ~2 years now. Maybe 5-10% of the time they aren’t.

I dont know what you guys expect. Its an opportunity to learn at $10-$20 a course. Yeah a course can be bad, but so can a book.

The sales part is definitely dishonest, but as far as people who make content, if they get more $$ on youtube, why dont they post on youtube?

Did Udemy get around to putting controls in place to stop course stealing? I remember Troy Hunt in particular had issues with people taking his material, narrating over the top of it, and selling it on their Udemy channels.

Even sentdex had to deal with the same issue - https://www.reddit.com/r/Python/comments/8sl76u/sentdex_on_u...

I wonder why he made the video private. It was a really good video.

You're probably referring to this incident back in 2015: https://web.archive.org/web/20151129084740/https://blog.udem...

Udemy is a great platform for beginners who want to try different field or a niche without shelling lot of money (hey 90% off). They also have refund policy which is great too. I had purchased courses for photography, aws and newer javascript frameworks (e.g vue.js) in the past. There are many courses out there for the same topic, have to be careful in selecting quality course with good feedback.

It makes a lot of sense for Benesse to get into online education, let's see if they can do something that works with Udemy. It might help Udemy as well to get Berlitz co-branding on some content on the platform and start a path that's almost like Masterclass but instead of curated around industry legends, it's brands and institutions.

Also, having visited Benesse House museum this winter, I'd be really excited to see content come out of this that covers more of the art on Naoshima in a highly accessible way.

The change in Udemy's pricing policy after 2016 - applying aggressive discounts and setting maximum prices for courses - has affected many instructors in a bad way. This is directly related to the perceived low quality of their courses (obviously with exceptions). Many instructors today use Udemy to try to attract traffic to their own websites where they sell the "best versions" of their courses.

Content quality and personal goals do make the difference in continuing education, but people really need to be clear with themselves before purchasing courses, summaries or hands-on tutorials: none of these is a shortcut to a degree if you want accreditation, none of these is a shortcut to a portfolio if you want original case studies.

Don’t know if it’s a reaction to their new raise and they want to try to get full price signups with the new traffic, or what, but I’m seeing all courses full price at the moment.

Check on a private window

I've always wondered how japanese companies (looking at Softbank especially) had so much cash to invest? Why do they want to invest that money abroad?

My issue with Udemy is they stole my Python videos from YouTube and sold them to 12,000+ students at $199.99 listed price .

There is no way that is true.

First of all, Udemy doesn't "steal" anything. They're a platform for people to post videos. Like if a Udemy course appears on YouTube, you cannot say "YouTube stole videos from Udemy."

If someone stole videos, that's on the thief. It's called piracy and it's been a thing on the internet since the beginning.

Second of all, people who steal other people's videos often given them away for free. Post them to black hat sites, etc. So most of those 12,000+ are probably free.

And finally, Udemy holds the money for like 45-60 days, so if a course is found to be pirated, all students get refunds and the instructor gets banned. And doesn't make a dime.

Find me a real example of a pirated course in 2019 where the pirate made money. Go on. You can't find it, because it doesn't happen.

I love Udemy. I've learned so much from their courses, including React and Flutter most recently. Our employer has an unlimited subscription which is great for checking out a lot of these courses, I definitely don't watch every single one available however, but enrolling in a few courses of the same topic shows me what's possible with some technology and which teacher is the best.

I personally prefer Andrew Mead's courses as he actually waits for you to complete a part by yourself before moving on, which I don't see as concretely with other teachers like Girder or Schwarzmüller, who sometimes say to try it on your own, but Mead actually has a moment where you can pause the video and try it, built into the course.

With regards to not having informational density, I've solved this problem by downloading the courses locally [0] and watching them at 4x speed. In a browser, you could set `querySelector("video").playbackRate = 4`, but since the video changes every few minutes, especially at high speed, this isn't too useful. I've actually made a Chromium extension that changes the video/audio playback speed globally since I watch a lot of YouTube at 4x speed as well [1], but again it isn't smart enough to detect when an underlying video source has changed.

Therefore, I use a local player, SMPlayer in specific [2], which is an mpv-based player. The problem, however, is that Chrome is very good at allowing you to understand voices at high speed, and nearly every other player, such as Firefox [3] and others, do not. This seems to be because they saccade the audio, where they skip parts of it, so that it sounds tinny or not understandable (edit: looks like it's fixed in Firefox!). Chrome does not use this approach. I've tried loading playlists into Chrome for this exact purpose, to simply use it as a video player, but the tab crashes because the video files are too large. Now, we return to the local player, SMPlayer.

SMPlayer, as it uses mpv, is able to pass any command line options to mpv. In this case, we are able to change the time-stretching amount by ourselves instead of waiting for Firefox or another player to do so. To do so, go to Options -> General -> Multimedia Engine: mpv, and then Options -> Advanced -> MPlayer/mpv tab -> Options: --speed=4, Audio filters: scaletempo=stride=10. You can play around with the speed and stride, but for the stride, around 8-20 sounds good [4]. It's still not as good as Chrome but it's usable and understandable. I wonder if there's a full way to solve this bug.

Edit: Looks like from [3], someone figured out that you can use the following filters with mpv as well. This just adds the overlap and search arguments in the audio filters. This sounds significantly better than without the overlap and search arguments as above, Chrome level basically.

  mpv --af=scaletempo=stride=8:overlap=1:search=10 --speed=4 test.mp3
Anyway, hopefully this helps others move through content faster. You might balk at 4x, but you need to start at something smaller, like 2x, before gradually moving up in speed. I like experiencing content at high speeds personally, and I use similar hacks for other media as well, such as audiobooks and podcasts. For audiobooks (on Android), I use a fork of the Voice Audiobook player [5] which supports speeds up to 6x because the original author did not seem to want to raise the maximum listening rate, citing simplicity concerns for most people. As well, it also seems like only AntennaPod goes up to 4x for podcasts, most podcast players I've seen only go to 3x [6].

[0] Udeler - https://github.com/FaisalUmair/udemy-downloader-gui

[1] Speed - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/speed-global-video...

[2] SMPlayer - https://www.smplayer.info/

[3] Firefox bug with time-stretching - https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1427267

[4] SMPlayer solution for time-stretching - https://forum.smplayer.info/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9069

[5] Voice Audiobook Player fork - https://github.com/brandonocasey/Voice

[6] AntennaPod - https://antennapod.org/

Udemy is just like all sorts of things in the economy: it’s a stupid-people tax. You can learn the same information from free videos or just a book.

Actually we are trying to create a platform called Jooseph, which is basically playlists for learning. You can follow modules curated from different resources.

We are trying create a platform that you can gather those kind of resources for someone to learn that topic easily.

So at Jooseph you can follow curated list of resources from different channels such as medium, youtube or podcasts anything valuable. Also, any user can create his/her own list for share or just to store it.

We are at Public Beta right Now you can try free from; https://jooseph.com

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