(Note: If you have already read our email announcement, please feel free to skip down to the Q&A below.)
As many of you know, Udemy’s journey began nearly 20 years ago in a remote village in Turkey. My parents’ gift of a computer opened the world to my sisters and me, giving us the opportunity to explore and learn online.
I think about that occasionally because it’s what you help students do everyday on Udemy – you help them explore & learn online.
In July of this year, you reached an incredible milestone. You taught more than 1 million students in 225 countries around the world.
Now, just 3 months later, you’ve taught nearly 1.5 million students.
I’m deeply humbled by the success you’ve had and the number of lives you’ve touched. I’m also very proud of the fact that the top 10 instructors on Udemy have earned over $5MM and our average instructor has earned more than $7,000.
We’ve been thinking deeply about this and how we can help take your success to the next level. We want to help you teach 10 million people… and, one day, 100 million people.
We’re dedicated to this promise, but we need to make some important changes to get there. We want to take this opportunity to explain these changes as well as the rationale behind them.
Udemy will be shifting to a revenue share structure that’s based on the source of the student. There are two changes:
First, when Udemy brings a student to your course, the revenue share will shift from 70% to 50%.
Second, when you bring a new student to Udemy, the revenue share will increase from 85% to 100% (net of payments fees). This means, you will keep all the LIFETIME revenues when these students purchase your courses.
These changes will be effective November 1st and will apply to all instructors (existing and future).
To make the impact of these changes a little more clear, let’s take a look at a few scenarios:
1) A visitor (brand new to Udemy) clicks a link to your course that contains one of your coupon codes. They then get distracted and start reading the NY Times. If they come back to Udemy and create an account within 24hrs, even if they don’t signup for your course, they are tagged as your student.
2) A visitor clicks your link, explores Udemy, but doesn’t signup. Then 2 weeks later (or at any point in the future), returns to directly Udemy.com, signs-up, and redeems your coupon code within their first 2 hours after signing up. This student is tagged as your student.
3) Udemy’s new international ambassador works on a promotion in Brazil that brings on 1,000 new students, 5 of which purchase your course. You earn 50% of each of those sales. Udemy is the source of these students.
4) Udemy’s marketing team runs a holiday special to our entire user base. 20,000 students purchase courses as a result, and 20 buy your course. 5 of those students originally registered through a promotion you did. For those 5 students you earn 100%. On the other 15 students Udemy acquired, you earn a 50% share.
5) You’re not into marketing (no worries), but you produce amazing content. You earn 50% on each sale. Udemy continues to re-invest the other 50% into our marketing engine. The number of students on the site grows and your monthly earnings grow as well. A rising tide floats all boats.
Why We’re Making These Changes
You are our closest partners and we are extremely dedicated to your success. Many of you have gotten to personally know Alex, Danielle, Eliza, David, and others on our team. They work tirelessly, everyday, to help you succeed.
Our goal is to increase your success even further. These changes will help us make the necessary investments to take you there.
We will be investing deeply in two areas: 1) marketing – so that we can double or triple the number of students you’re teaching, and 2) product – so that Udemy will be the best platform for you and your students to teach & learn online.
Some of the investments we’re most excited about include:
Mobile – Making your courses available on 1 billion Android devices around the world (happening in Q4),
Affiliates – Building a large network of affiliates who will sell your courses, and
International – Helping you reach an international student base. This may also include transcriptions and/or translations for your courses.
UFO (Udemy for Organizations) – Selling your courses into our corporate partners that want to use them to help train their employees. This is particularly exciting as it’s a pool of corporate $$s that you don’t have access to currently.
We know many of you may be thinking “Does this mean I’ll make less money?”
You may see a temporary drop in course earnings. But given these investments, we expect your earnings will be on a much steeper trajectory for the future.
We’re very excited about this next phase of growth. If you have any questions, we are available. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been an amazing past 3 years. We look forward to an even brighter future, helping you teach hundreds of millions of students, in the years ahead.
— Eren Bali, CEO & Co-Founder Udemy
Does this change apply to me?
The new instructor revenue share will apply to all Udemy instructors, existing and future.
How will Udemy track the students I bring to the marketplace?
You will be credited with bringing a new student to Udemy with your instructor coupon code. If a student follows a link with the code and registers for Udemy within 24hrs, or goes straight to udemy.com and registers, but types in your coupon code within 2hrs or registering, you are credited with that student. See the first few scenarios above to understand better how this works.
Will I be given credit for students I’ve brought in the past?
Yes. You will be given retroactive credit for students you’ve previously brought to Udemy.
- Why do I have to Use a Coupon Code to track students I register?
- We chose to use the coupon code system for several reasons, the most important of which is it gives you the most flexibility when getting credit for new students. See the example above where a student simply comes to Udemy but then uses your coupon code. This also allowed us to assign your existing students to you.
100% sounds great, but what do you mean by “net of fees”?
Fees include the 3% payments fee that Udemy is charged to process credit card purchases. Udemy pays these fees in all other scenarios, but we need to make sure that we’re not losing money when you make a sale, thus we do need to remove this amount. After that, the entire purchase is yours!
How will this impact the revenue share for Udemy’s Marketing Program?
Udemy’s Affiliate and Ad programs will continue to operate as they have in the past and are based on the default revenue share.
With the change, the split on the Ad program will be 75% to Udemy, 25% to instructors. Affiliate sales will now be 50% to the Affiliate, 25% to the Instructor, and 25% to Udemy.
How do I know that Udemy won’t change this again in the future?
This is a big change. We know that. Udemy has no plans to make any further changes in the future, and we promise to continue to remain as transparent and devoted to our community as we’ve always been.
How will this impact the course announcements that I send?
You will continue to be able to send course announcements just as you do today. Going forward though, if you’re sharing a course announcement with an instructor created coupon code, you will be receive 50% of the revenues from students that Udemy brought to your course(s) and 100% of the revenues from students that you brought to your course(s).
I’m a student. What does this change mean for me?
Glad you asked! As we’ve shared, we’re very excited about this change and as a student we hope you are also excited. We will be investing deeply into the Udemy platform and this will mean an even more amazing learning experience for you!
I understand that Udemy is making some investments, but will I see any value?
Many of you have seen your earnings double or triple while you’ve been teaching on Udemy. Our goal is to make this happen again. We know that when 10 million students are browsing & searching for courses we will be able to deliver dramatically more value to each instructor on our platform. If you would like to explore the potential for your specific courses or how these investments will affect your category of expertise, please feel free to reach us directly at email@example.com.
If I create a free course to bring in students, do I get 100% of the revenue from those students?
- The instructor coupon code system will be used to track the new students which you bring to the marketplace. As a result, new students that sign up for your free courses will not be tracked and credited to you. We understand that this may be disappointing for some of you, but if you do want to share a course for free, we highly encourage you to create a free coupon code for a paid course. Those students will be tracked and credited appropriately to you.