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Udemy is a global marketplace for learning and teaching online where students are mastering new skills by learning from an extensive library of over 80,000 courses in 15 main categories and 100+ subcategories. Their bestselling categories include web, mobile, and app development, IT and software, business, marketing, and personal development. A few instructors have made millions of dollars (mostly because of internal marketing support from Udemy).
- Founded by Gagan Biyani, Oktay Caglar, and Eren Bali in 2010
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA
- 80,000 online courses in 50 different languages
- 24 million students
- 35,000 instructors
- Pay per course and subscription pricing (Udemy for Business)
Udemy Affiliate Program
When I discovered Udemy a few years ago, my focus was to create online courses, share knowledge, build my brand, and make money online. Soon after, I noticed they had a self-hosted affiliate program that appealed to hundreds of affiliate marketers. By the time I joined, they were in the midst of diluting their program and moving it to LinkShare, an affiliate network.
Changes to Udemy’s affiliate program caused quite an uproar and signaled that huge paychecks were over. However, their program remains worthy of consideration given their competitive advantages, continued growth, and brand recognition. Let’s review the pros and cons of the program.
Increasing demand for online learning equates to ample sales opportunities. Online learning is affordable, convenient, flexible, and efficient. Millions of learners are gravitating toward platforms like Udemy to take free and paid courses.
Udemy is a top-ranked website. They have a sizeable market share, robust brand, and have attracted millions of students, which is far more than many of their competitors. Udemy’s popularity can be appreciated by the countless unofficial Facebook pages and groups bearing their name.
Udemy has an extensive catalog of courses and has something for everyone. Eighty thousand courses, fifteen main categories, and over 100 subcategories give affiliates plenty of options. Also, Udemy offers many in-demand disciplines such as web development, entrepreneurship, marketing, design, and personal development.
Deep linking is available. Deep linking is the practice by which an affiliate creates a link to a specific page on the merchant’s site. For example, instead of using a generic homepage affiliate link, I deep link to an article that relates to my post. Publishers can create links and direct traffic to courses and pages of their choosing.
They have an excellent affiliate program team in place. Udemy’s previous affiliate team had no clue what they were doing or how to treat affiliates. However, they’ve been replaced by a new group of highly engaged, communicative, and supportive individuals who want to grow Udemy’s affiliate marketing line of business.
Udemy pays a low commission rate. Gone are the days when Udemy paid affiliates 40 to 50 percent per sale. They’ve lowered their commission rate to 20 percent (12 percent on FlexOffers), which makes their program less appealing than before. Programs that pay less than 30 percent don’t grab my attention or active participation.
Udemy’s offers a subpar, seven-day conversion window (it was previously 30 days before the transition to LinkShare). Thirty-day conversion windows are standard, but Udemy has chosen to buck fairness and sensibility. Seven days to convert a sale benefits Udemy, not affiliates.
Udemy is a sales and discount-driven marketplace. When sales events and promotions slowdown, so do affiliate commissions. Unfortunately, Udemy has created an environment in which buyers wait for deals and avoid paying full price for courses.
Education Affiliate Programs
If Udemy’s program isn’t to your liking or your application gets declined, you can capitalize on the burgeoning online course market through other education affiliate programs. Merchants typically list their affiliate programs in menus found at the top or bottom of pages.
- 360Training – 15% commission
360Training offers online courses for a range of industries including environmental health and safety, real estate, food and beverage programs, IT, software, insurance, HR, ethics, and compliance. Learn about the 360Training affiliate program.
- Coursera – Up to 45%
Coursera offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) through partnerships with hundreds of top-ranked universities including Stanford and Columbia. Learners can take courses, specializations, and degrees. Certifications and verified credits are also available. Learn about the Coursera affiliate program.
- CreativeLive – 20%
CreativeLive offers creative-centric courses including photography, video, art, design, life, music, and personal finance classes. Free “on air” classes are broadcast daily. Learn about the CreativeLive affiliate program.
- edX – 10%
edX‘s value proposition is similar to Coursera’s, and they boast an impressive lineup of university partnerships including Harvard and MIT. Learn about the edX affiliate program.
- ExpertRating – 30%
ExpertRating is a leader in online skill testing and certification for individuals and employees. They also offer online courses and training for many professions and industries. Learn about the ExpertRating affiliate program.
- The Linux Foundation – 20%
The Linux Foundation‘s training programs combine broad, foundational knowledge with networking opportunities that help attendees with their careers. Learn about the Linux Foundation affiliate program.
- Lynda – Up to 40%
Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning) is a pioneer in online, self-paced learning. Their video library offers a wide range of courses and tutorials to meet anyone’s e-learning needs. Learn about the Lynda affiliate program on CJ.
- MasterClass – 25%
MasterClass offers classes with the world’s best experts and practitioners, for example, Samuel L. Jackson, Gordon Ramsey, Herbie Hancock, Christina Aguilera, Serena Williams, James Patterson, Steph Curry, and others. The MasterClass affiliate program is on ShareASale.
- Pluralsight – Up to 75%
Pluralsight offers extensive online developer, creative, and IT courses that are taught by industry experts. They offer 4,000+ courses to businesses and individuals. Learn about the Pluralsight affiliate program.
- Shaw Academy – Up to $10
Shaw Academy is growing their presence one diploma at a time. Somewhat similar to CreativeLive, courses are taught live. Learn about the Shaw Academy affiliate program.
- Skillshare – $10
Skillshare bills itself as “a learning community for creators,” and they offer courses in thirteen subject categories. Learn about the Skillshare affiliate program.
- SimpliLearn – 10%
SimpliLearn is a leading certification provider. They provide online training in disciplines such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, project management, and data science. Learn about the SimpliLearn affiliate program.
- Treehouse – Up to 50%
Treehouse focuses on technical education. They offer more than one thousand videos created by experts on web design, coding, business, and more. Learn about the Treehouse affiliate program.
Udemy tops the charts for e-learning websites, but they continue to dilute their affiliate program. Their 20 percent commission rate and seven-day referral period make their program unattractive. Still, affiliates can join Udemy’s program and other education affiliate programs for an array of marketing options.
Note: While Udemy’s affiliate program still carries some advantages, I’ve stopped creating courses on their platform and have ended my affiliate relationship with them. I no longer view Udemy as a viable affiliate partner.