The Udemy marketplace is home to tens of thousands of instructors and courses, and we strive to provide an opportunity for success for each one.
In order to increase the discoverability of quality courses, improve site performance, and support overall marketplace health, we've introduced a marketplace maintenance program to periodically audit and unpublish nonperforming, outdated content. This helps us surface the freshest, most relevant courses to prospective learners, and creates more room in the marketplace for new courses and instructors.
Content will only be flagged for removal if it has had little to no recent traction with new students, low historical traction, and no recent updates. Instructors with at-risk content will be notified via email and through their instructor dashboard. Before the content is unpublished, they'll have a chance to address outstanding issues and keep their course open to new enrollers.
Our goal with this program is to ensure the Udemy marketplace can continue to support the fresh, high-quality content instructors publish every day. You can read the details about this new program in our Help Center, and ask any general questions about it below.
I welcome this.
A great move from Udemy that benefits all serious instructors.
Well, I’m a serious instructor - and I view it as just another potential roadblock if it’s not implemented right. It’s couched as “so there’s room for more courses.”
really? Is there, like, limited “shelf space” I’m not aware of?
there are a thousand other things they could be working on - that actually help instructors. This isn’t one of them - and I can already see it for the black box that it will be.
The statement below is already scary looking:
Content is more likely to be flagged for the maintenance program if its Course Landing Page is sparse and/or has a significant amount of content in common with other Course Landing Pages.
What does that mean? Do I now need to worry about someone copying my landing page (which people have already done)?
And what does “significant updates” mean?? Are we supposed to now update our courses for the sake of updating them?
And what does “significant” engagement or enrollments mean? Vague terms = opacity.
Hi Tom (@Anonymous), thanks for sharing your concerns.
First off, I want to reiterate that this program only applies to content that has had no new engagement or instructor attention for some time. We don't want to unpublish any content that's still providing value for students or to its instructor.
Regarding the question about duplicate content -- some instructors "recycle" landing page elements across their courses, copy and pasting significant portions rather than creating descriptions specific to each course. If someone has plagiarized another instructor's landing page elements it should be reported to Trust & Safety as before.
We do believe this program will benefit instructors. Old content, "thin" content and redundant content are all issues that can harm a site's standing with search engines like Google. By removing courses that have these issues, we can improve the Google ranking of all other Udemy pages. We piloted this program this last year and saw concrete SEO benefits.
I hope this helps provide more context.
Thanks. That DOES provide more context and makes me feel a bit better about it.
@Anonymous I would say this is an EXCELLENT move.
I think 12 months is a great time-frame.
If an instructor has not updated a course in 12 months it should be removed.
If a student has not enrolled in 12 months it should be removed.
When courses are flagged and removed it should provide the instructor more motivation to buck up and develop better courses.
Literally nothing you just said was specifically mentioned in the announcement. Literally none of it.
In your attempt to disagree with my point, you actually made my point for me. The vague wording is open to interpretation, which is exactly why I raised the issue.
there are also many topics that do not require a course to really ever be updated.
@Anonymous I think they are looking for feedback. I would suggest 12 months as a timeframe.
Do you like the 12 month timeframe?
I have seen some courses that were last updated in 2016.
Doesn’t matter when a course was last updated. Some topics are evergreen and don’t require updates.
My question is why isn’t this awesome “AI” that Udemy seems to rely on for everything not already smart enough to just push the crappy stuff to the bottom of the pile?
I don’t have a problem with stuff getting yanked, but I DO worry about implementation, based on past experiences with Udemy’s weird algorithms (ie. a course rated 4.5 earning highest rated badge over a 4.6 course).
@Anonymous See @Bella 's last sentence
"You can read the details about this new program in our Help Center, and ask any general questions about it below."
Asking questions is very similar to soliciting feedback.
What? No it’s not. If they wanted feedback, they would say that. Again, you are making things up.
This sounds great. If an instructor has active students, enrollments, or are actively updating their content, the courses would stay. But if none of those things happen you get a heads up, can correct it, or let it be unpublished. I see no negative here.
Love this. I asked for this change years ago.
Obviously, there are courses that were published 6 years ago, which haven't had a student enrollment in years, and are just taking up search result space. Like a library that only adds books and never removes them. It's just clutter.
And as the announcement says, this improves Google SEO by not having useless results in the Google Search index.
This should be a benefit for all instructors.
Well, since I was a part of their beta program involuntarily I can see some issues.
I was warned about a course I had published that was in danger of being removed from the marketplace. So, as the email stated I updated the landing page, the course material, and so on. Even Udemy's own system said the course was updated that month. So, I thought I was free and clear and I wouldn't get my course unpublished.
Sadly, it was.
So, in response I sent an email asking why Udemy unpublished my course when I clearly followed the directions in the email. I got back a non-answer from "Trust and Safety" which clearly didn't answer my question but ultimately I decided to just drop it.
The trouble with using AI is that you need to have a human training it.
In the future if you happen to get this email, just unpublish the course yourself, add new content and then resubmit it. You may then avoid this very problem.
If I have a course that doesn't make a sale in three months I will just unpublish it myself and then work on it and then resubmit it.
Such is life.
This is exactly the thing I was worried about. Support is next to useless so when you start unpublishing stuff, instructors are gonna want answers, none of which they will receive.
The idea “sounds” good, but implementation and support is likely to be a disaster - as demonstrated here. That is my worry.
Hi everyone, I just wanted to reinforce that our instructors' feedback is always very welcome -- this is one of the main reasons why this community exists.
That being said, thank you for your comments and support, @RajGupta! Also, thank you for sharing your thoughts, @Joshua George, @TameraDion, and @ScottDuffy, we greatly appreciate your trust and words of encouragement.
@GuilhermeMP, I'm glad you found this interesting!
We're confident that this new maintenance program will result in a significant improvement of the platform and contribute to your success.
@TameraDion There are no negatives to the "idea". I actually like the idea. My concerns about this are related to what @RichardCallaby mentioned. The actual process/implementation is what worries me somewhat. You notify someone of an issue. They take action. The platform shows the course has been updated. Course is unpublished anyway. Emails to support go nowhere. Instructor is left with an unpublished course and no viable avenue to address the issue.
Be Positive is one of the community values?
I have a question about that...
This reliance on AI on platforms is something we all should be worried about. For instance, YouTube recently sent some very large publishers, channels with 2 or more million subscribers that their channels were in danger of being deleted. Why? Because of the spam that these channels receive from others, and that is something out of their control.
Say for instance we have a large publisher on this platform that for some reason or another doesn't get a "heads up" email and their courses are summarily unpublished. Hopefully, these instructors would notice the problem quickly. But in doing so these very same instructors could lose thousands of dollars of revenue as they wait for the problem to be resolved.
Udemy just won't turn the course back on, you will have to go through the whole submission process again. How long could that take if there is a large glitch in the system? A week maybe two weeks?
AI can and will fail at some point. I am just a small fry on this platform and honestly, I am a bit frightened about saying anything here as I fear retribution from Udemy. Be sure to plan ahead for courses to be unpublished due to technical glitches in the system. They happen. Okay, I have said my piece on the matter. Done.
@ScottDuffy ... Sorry Scott. I'm not a cheerleader. I'm here to get information and to provide feedback. When there are kudos to be awarded, I award them. When there are things to be questioned, I question them. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. I'm pretty sure my posts in here check ALL of these boxes (most of the time):
Here’s what belongs in the community:
What does NOT belong in the community:
@Anonymous I think you're getting too caught up on the update element of this new policy.
It doesn't matter how many times you update a course to "comply" with this update, as ultimately if the course is not selling then it provides no value to Udemy and should be removed.
A course that is selling will not be flagged, regardless if it hasn't been updated in 2 years. The key word in the support doc is "AND" not "OR".
From an SEO perspective, this new policy is a game changer. I make a living from running an SEO agency and have seen many times how impactful it can be to remove deadbeat pages from a site. Google is constantly updating its algorithm to reward sites that have great user engagement metrics, underperforming course landing pages are having a negative impact on the overall organic visibility of Udemys site.
A message for @Bella to send back to the Udemy team, please ensure that once these courses are removed that the old URLs are be redirected to Udemys homepage to ensure no SEO value is lost. Some instructors would have acquired backlinks to their specific course landing pages which can be leveraged to boost Udemys visibility even further.
I like the idea @Bella there are plenty of abandoned courses with no activity in the marketplace.
I have retired a course that was not performing- even though I was fond of it the marketplace wasn’t! I probably should have retired it two years ago…
This is a great move.
Just a question @Bella .
There are many courses which may not have been updated for a while but add value for the information and knowledge they provide and get sales.
Like books they may not require updates
Would they be considered too ? I hope not ?
I like it
I'm glad to see this.
@Joshua George I agree. It should be either/or. Either you have had sales in 6 months or updated the course in 6 months.
I welcome this policy. It is ‘AND not OR’
* Historically performed courses will be excluded, this is quite important. Some of the software courses may not be selling now. But somewhere at end of world haave old version of the software who want start start leaning can still do it. It also an symbolic guarantee how much the instructor is knowledgeable about the topic.
The implementation of the policy literally worries me. Means, in case of false positives, how we are going to address that to Udemy. Based on my recent experience support response from Udemy got deteriorated. There is slow response or no response in small technical issues.
thanks for the update.
How about those courses which are ranking very high and got 10k + students with help of free coupons given out on different social media.. although I did think of this platform once to boost my audience rate, my heart cried seeing those spammers and bots buying my hardwork at Zero price and then mis using or not doing anything with my course. My goal is to have only paid customers who try and complete all the modules and give some honest reviews and I have improved 95% areas where they had given remarks about.
but talking about free students of 10k + and getting highest rated as against only looking for 10% of free students (like me) and growing slowly… Am worried ppl and courses like mine will become very slower compared to fast runners with 1000s of free coupons.. what r your views on them and any tips for me ?
+ few courses in my domain/subject providing 1000+ ready made excel templates to use and getting ranked as no.1. In India I know these templates are available 2000+ templates in marketplace available for Rs.200.. but how does it add value to learner’s to learn something new?!!
I support this idea.
I support this idea, it might be difficult to implement and could lead to wrong courses being unpublished so I hope that does not happen. Secondly, udemy courses should somewhat be passive income so it shouldn't remove but i think the benefits to udemy such as lower server costs and better SEO end up having the benefits outweigh the possible disadvantages.
This seems like a necessary move to position Udemy as a home for quality, premium content, and in a way that should inflict the least amount of pain. While the potential SEO gains are encouraging, just making sure new learners get a good first impression is even more valuable. That drives up Udemy's perceived value, which ultimately leads to better revenue per enrollment.
Hi Bella, my videos on Principles of marketing have been posted just yesterday on the Udemy platform. I had not availed for subtitles/ captions but it's on auto- caption mode which has resulted in wrong words being typed in many places. How can this be rectified as it may give a wrong message to my students.
Lots of great feedback and questions here -- thank you! To respond to a few specifics:
@RichardCallaby -- You expressed concern that courses could be unpublished when they're still generating value for instructors, resulting in instructor losses. We definitely don't want to risk anyone's revenue here, so the program is only targeting content that has little to no recent or historical traction with learners. Courses that have had strong past performance or that continue to attract even a few new students a month aren't at risk. Separately, I'm sorry to hear you "fear retribution" for sharing your thoughts -- please know that offering feedback here in the Community won't affect how your courses are featured or treated on the Udemy platform. We want this to be a space for all constructive feedback, positive or negative.
@Mufaddal -- We agree that not all topics require frequent updates to stay valuable. If you're still getting sales and engagement from new learners, your content won't be flagged for the program, even if it's been a while since your last update.
@NextGenHR506 -- Different instructors take different paths to getting their course off the ground -- for some without an existing audience, free coupons can be a way to get the initial social proof they need, but we hear you that it can be frustrating for those who don't use this strategy. Our ranking systems (and the new marketplace maintenance program) do differentiate between paid and free enrollments, so for now, it sounds like you're doing the right thing: focusing on driving engagement with the students you have and responding to their feedback.
Separate to this program to retire outdated and non-performing content, we're actually taking a closer look in the coming weeks at how different instructors use free coupons and how they affect students' behavior on the platform.
And finally @Joshua George -- Thank you for the tip and the vote of confidence! The plan here is to route students back to the topic or subcategory page the unpublished course belonged to. This maximizes the chance they land somewhere where they see other relevant (and fresher!) courses to check out.
Hi @Sanjeevani, auto-generated captions are created using speech recognition technology, and as a result, they may not be perfect. We are, however, always working to improve the quality of our captions. While Udemy provides auto-generated captions for English-speaking courses, instructors will always have the ability to turn off the captions for their courses by clicking the “Disable” button on the Captions page.
We've found that automatically generated captions can be helpful, especially to students who do not speak English as a first language. All new courses will automatically have captions generated, but instructors will continue to have the final say to prevent these captions from showing. As always, you can also edit the auto-generated captions for accuracy. You can find more information on how to edit the captions using the captions editing tool in this support article.
For further assistance, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org - the team will be happy to help.
Oh, and congratulations on publishing your first course! Wishing you all the best. 🙂
@BellaHow does this change affect private courses?
Some of the courses that were not relevant with time, I changed them from public to private. That way these courses are pulled out from the marketplace and I am still able to support my existing students in that course.
Good question, @SandeepKumar! Just want to reassure you that you will still be able to continue supporting your students. The maintenance program will not affect private courses.
Up to the North we soar, really. Nice innovation.
Success is definitely inevitable with Udemy, instructors and the students, if Udemy continues to be flexible and be motivating like this.
No doubt about it, Udemy really wants us to play our roles like football players on the pitch, while it plays its part too, which I find very reasonable.
Guys, I think this is a great idea -- we work more and earn more too, as our students get more as well, they don't get to get stuck in primitive approach ways of solving challenges in this fast growing generation. Let's keep focusing on what we can contribute, I mean, what we can bring to the table, since that is what we have power to change. I wish us all huge success
"Positive vibes and energy all the way!".
Thumbs up to the freshness-oriented rule coming up soon.
To the North we soar.
Back to work, later.😉👍
@Bella even though the autogenerated captions are not perfect, I'm really amazed by how accurate they are. In my courses I use a lot of scientific, less-known terms and the software is able to recognize most of them. Most people that work with audio trancription would not be able to recognize some that terms I use unless they are from the same area as me
That's great, @GuilhermeMP, so glad to hear that the auto-generated captions feature is working well for you!
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this positive feedback with us. 😊
@SAPBuddy @Anonymous @RichardCallaby ... I have similar concerns as you, everything with this new program sounds good on paper, however, when put into practice my concern is if/when there's an error or an instructor does update the course to no avail, support from udemy seems to be lacking. In the past the the answer I'm often given is, "It's the algorithm."
Thanks for expressing your concerns @ScottB016. To better explain, instructors who are actively visiting the site and maintaining their content are unlikely to have a course flagged. If it does happen, applying the recommendations and guidance in our Help Center will prevent removal.
We acknowledge that there were some bumps in the pilot implementation last year. We've taken in the feedback from that process and made improvements that we're confident will make the process smoother this year. If an instructor is unable to work on their course or their landing page before the deadline, our team will be happy to help them with the re-publishing process.
In theory it is a good idea: update the course every 6 months to make it more attractive to the buyer. I am all for providing as much value as possible: it can only benefit both me and Udemy. In practice, it seems a big problem: if I have to add 5 minutes of video, it is not long enough to teach anything with any real depth; and if I have to add a lot more than 5 minutes, I might as well make it a separate course, but I can't because if I don't add something, my published course will be unpublished. Add to this that it takes me up to 40 minutes to create a 2 minutes video (yes, really. I edit out all the useless bits, pauses, ramblings etc), and now adding 15 minutes to teach anything would take me hours. And if I have to do that for 10 courses, then it becomes a real problem.
Further, the course is already thought out to stand the way it was devised originally.... if I have to add little bits, it becomes difficult to integrate them. It's not as easy as 1,2,3 to just add a 5 minutes video, because, again, it is not enough to teach much in any detail. I can teach a ton of stuff, but picking bits just to update a course every six months is not easy. But adding more than 5 minutes it would take a lot of work. It is as if I wrote a book, and then I am asked to add a new paragraph every 6 months....it would take a lot of thought just to think of what to add, and where. Some instructors can teach more naturally, especially if English is their first language. For me it is not so, so every word I say must count for something, I literally edit the video second by second. And yet some of us, like me, are making but a few sales because Udemy stopped promoting our courses. I don't blame anyone for that: I know I am certainly not the only one creating courses, and Udemy can do as it sees fit; all I am saying is that I have less incentives now than I had before to do all this work, and I am starting to get discouraged. Udemy has already flagged 3 of my courses, and it took me hours just trying to think what to add without creating an additional course for each "update".
So I see lots of problems. I really love Udemy, but frankly this keeps getting harder and harder.....something has to give. I will try to do what I can, and I hope things get better, but so far this is not happening. Again, the ideas seem great, and I understand why Udemy wants to be as competitive as possible, offering as much value as possible, but I am not confident about the future, and I am looking for alternatives. As the proverb goes, "don't put all your eggs in one basket". I say all this with due respect for Udemy, it's a great company but the burdens for small instructors like me are getting heavier. I have tried all Udemy suggests for promotions, etc, but things aren't working well enough anymore. They were, but not anymore. In part, I am part of the problem: I am no internet person. I don't like "social media", and I quite detest internet marketing. I am a musician, not an internet marketer. I just want to teach what I love. Maybe Udemy could give us the choice of paying for promotion? (of course, I would have to earn a little more than I pay for promotion). I'd rather pay Udemy than Facebook, for example. And youtube, I detest it. Who wants to sit in there sifting through inane comments, and trying to be a dancing monkey for people who are just wasting their time looking for empty entertainment?
Sorry about the rantings here and there in this post. I wish a great day to all.
You do not need to update your courses every six months. This is a misunderstanding that has already been clarified. Note the "AND"!!
Here is the Maintenance program documentation found in the Help Center.
What content is at risk of being unpublished?
Content may be considered for removal as part of the marketplace maintenance program if it:
other things I wanted to mention is that for small instructors like me who for example create music courses (which don't sell as much as other courses in other fields, unless you teach beginners, which I don't because it would be too boring for me; then again there's a lot more beginner musicians than intermediate or advanced ones) it's a catch-22 situation: X course doesn't get traction for a while because Udemy doesn't promote the course anymore, so it gets unpublished.
So it looks like more and more a case of: if you weren't successful from the start, you are done for.
In theory adding a few videos every 6 months should not be anything problematic. In practice, there's no time to do everything: life keeps whooshing by, the problem is not so much adding to a course, but finding the time to do so; I'd rather spend it on a new course. And putting in effort when your course stopped getting promoted, it's not a great motivator for adding videos.
As I wrote before, maybe Udemy could offer to provide paid promotion the way for example ebay does. The difference is that on ebay you can choose to promote the item, and if it sells, you pay for the ad.
Of course, I will try whatever else I can, if I have not tried it already, i.e. the stuff that AI suggested. I have already fixed some of these. I just hope my course won't get unpublished simply because I made no sales for a few weeks. The "no traction " part of this program is a bit worrying. I have already tried to do the youtube thing, social media, etc, didn't work and don't like it. I am willing to try things I haven't tried, but generally I only try once: if it doesn't work, I just forget about it, as time and energy are not unlimited.
I am only interested in creating courses. I am not interested in making a ton of sales, either. My sales goals are modest, I am not trying to make a lot of sales. Just enough to keep me on this track. Hopefully this partnership with Udemy, which I value, will work well enough to continue.
one last bit of feedback from me to Udemy in regard to this program.... personally I don't have a problem selling my courses for less. I see lots of instructors complaining that they get less and less for their courses. Well, I am not one of them. I only am trying to earn -something-.
But without Udemy's promotions this is not working. Yes, I have heard the "you need to do your own promotion work" before, but as I wrote earlier, I tried it all but it didn't work. In part this is because my courses are not for most people, (let alone "for all") but actually for a few.
I am willing to send promotional emails.... these are useful. And I am willing to create more courses. And to tweak the old ones, IF they get a little promotion afterwards, otherwise there's no point doing all that work and updating courses every 6 months. That's all I can do. If I have to add to a course every 6 months for 2 years, I'd rather have created another course, unless the course I updated the first time, gets a little promotion.
In other words: I will make the updates requested by this AI, but if the course gets no promotion at all afterwards, I won't bother updating again. What I am suggesting here, I guess, is that once an instructor updates the course, Udemy offers a little promotion for the updated course.
As for the traction, I can understand if a course hasn't made any sales for a year: if so, it must be a reflection of its own worth. But I think it is a bit unfair to unpublish a course because it made no sales for, say, 3 weeks. For small instructors like me, I don't think this is very unusual.
Thanks, Udemy, for reading my feedback. Apologies for being somewhat long-winded.
Hi @Baghi823, thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts about this, we completely understand that it can be discouraging to have your courses be flagged by the Marketplace Maintenance Program and we would like to address the concerns you raised. Updating your course with new video lectures is only one of the options, but there are numerous ways to keep your content relevant and up to date, such as making sure your course landing page is unique to improve the searchability of the course. We have many support articles to assist you with this:
thank you for your reply, it is much appreciated. Yes, I had read the info about the landing page just a few days ago, and noticed new info that was not there the last time I checked. I have indeed fixed the faults Udemy has found.
It is very useful to know that adding new videos is not the only way to avoid having the courses flagged. If I understand correctly, it would seem that adding new videos every 6 months is not a strict requirement, if all other things are in place? That would be a lot more reassuring.
What you mentioned about the searchability of the page makes complete sense, I had missed the info that Udemy added in the last few months. It would be useful if instructors could subscribe to the marketing section of the Help files, to be aware of any info added or changed, as these things are really important. However I will now check regularly every few weeks just in case.
Many thanks again for your reply.
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