There are many e-learning websites popping up all over the place and there are more and more options for us as instructors to stretch our exposure to a wider student base. Having dabbled in a few thought I would share some thoughts and learnings for everyone.
I am not advocating one platform over another in fact I think you will find most successful instructors are broadening their catalogue across multiple platforms. There is a lot that Udemy could be doing better it doesn't take long to trawl through the posts here to see opportunities. But here are some positives I have yet to see a competitor rival.
Platform Maturity - I will let someone else google the origins of Udemy but it would be fair to say it has established itself as a market leader and has a platform that has minor bugs but is largely easy to navigate and work within as an instructor/student. As for its competitors I have struggled to navigate other sites and find my content using just key words, it required me to enter the complete title of the course to find it - chances of a student stumbling across my course, slim to none...
Ownership of material - Udemy's policy is pretty clear we own our material as instructors. Try and delete a course and you will see it can be done (obviously existing students still have access to the content). On other platforms maintaining the integrity of my content has been a massive headache for me to do, especially when I tried to remove my courses from their platform once I found that they were the source of pirated content (thanks to watermarking my courses).
Subscription vs Course Purchasing Model - Excluding UFB, Udemy's model is based on students purchasing specific courses and distributing the relevant income accordingly. There are other platforms that compete with Udemy using a subscription based model and pay instructors pro-rata based on number of minutes watched. This model makes it extremely difficult to gauge success, forecast income and strategically position yourself as an instructor.
Linkbuster Support - Udemy has a helpful guide and links to linkbuster where you can report links to pirated content so that they are removed from Google search results. This is a great tool and I have used this many times.
This instructor club, analytics and traffic and conversion dashboards- all make the experience as an instructor engaging and you feel like you at least share the cockpit of the plane and can influence how your content performs on the platform. I have yet to find a competitors that has these tools at my disposal as an instructor.
I have made an income from some of Udemy's competitors but only a select few, Udemy remains my cash cow. With plenty of new platforms promising large student bases and competitive income shares I would advise caution! Until they (Udemy's competitors) have a proven solution and can sustainably establish themselves in this aggressive market you share your content with some risk.
In summary I guess for all of Udemy's shortcomings if you are struggling to make your course successful on Udemy be cautious about blindly applying shotgun approach and send your content far and wide- it may not be the answer to success.
However I am keen to hear other's thoughts and experiences both positive and negative.
To be even more blunt, you can count the e-learning platforms that won't just straight-up steal your content and never pay you for it on one hand. If you're approached by a Udemy competitor that you don't know, assume you are being scammed until proven otherwise. Agreements with a jurisdiction outside of your own country are essentially impossible to enforce, and even within your country it can be too expensive to bother.
Also remember that if your course has any appeal to a business audience, you're throwing away your opportunity for Udemy for Business by publishing it elsewhere.
Udemy performs an order of magnitude better than any competing platform my content is on. My strategy is always Udemy-first, and focused on the Udemy market.