Surely these student profiles are bots / fake?

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Surely these student profiles are bots / fake?

I created a short course to test the water in Udemy:

 

It has 700+ students enrolled, and nearly zero minutes watched. So I dug into the data a bit. Many of the enrolled students are enrolled in *thousands* of other courses.. This seems quite odd, but I guess maybe people just click 'enroll' on thousands of courses?

 

So I looked into the handful of students who had actually watched some of my course, and it starts to look even weirder.

 

Three out of 700+ students have watched > 0 mins.

 

Two of those have watched ~10mins ... but they have somehow done that in the FIVE SECONDS which elapsed between them starting the course and their last visit.

 

One student has managed to watch the whole 1hr+ of video, but they have done that in the FOURTEEN SECONDS which elapsed between them starting the course and their last visit:

 

Started Date: 2022-02-09 22:10:48

Last Visited: 2022-02-09 22:10:53

 

What's going on?

 

Seems likely that lots of the accounts who sign up to thousands of courses are bots, but what is the scam here? Are they posting fake reviews on all these accounts? Is this some gaming mechanism to get courses ranked higher?

 

And what's with the watching one hour of video in 14seconds thing? Does the bot account look more credible if it has actually watched the course? But surely Udemy can spot if someone is watching the entire course at 250x normal speed?

 

Or maybe the "Last visited" timestamp is wrong, maybe that's the time they last commenced a visit, so this user did then watch the whole course in one go? Although that user is enrolled in 7896 other courses, with no obvious theme, which does look a little odd to say the least.

 

I'm left feeling there is some kind of scam going on here which I cannot spot. I can see, if I login as a student, that there are some real courses here, with real instructors. But there seems to be this strange underbelly of weird gaming / scamming going on under the surface. Very peculiar.

 

Any other instructors have thoughts on this? Or can Udemy comment on:

 

(1) Why some students are enrolled in thousands, or tens of thousands, of courses?

(2) How some students appear to be able to view the content at 250x normal speed?

 

Thanks.

 

5 Replies

Pasted the wrong timestamps. The start / last visit timestamps for the user that watched the whole course are:

 

2022-02-10 19:10:52

2022-02-10 19:11:06

Bella
Community Moderator
Community Moderator

Hi @BruceG837, thank you for raising this here in the community. 

 

Just so we can understand the situation better, have you distributed free coupons to your course at any time? We have found that, when a free coupon code is shared on social media, a lot of students like to "collect" courses in case this course becomes paid or in case the free coupon code is no longer available in the future. It is common for most of the students who enrolled for free to not complete the course or go through it by marking the lectures as complete, rather than watching them, 

When a student enrolls in a course, we offer lifetime access to it, and they will have the course unless they request for a refund. When a free coupon code is shared on social media, it's hard to control how many students will enroll in the course. In this case, I suggest you disable the coupon code to prevent more students from enrolling in it.

If you haven't distributed free coupons and are concerned about the users who enrolled in your course being ilegitimate students, you can always report it to our policy team via policy@udemy.com. They will be happy to investigate this for you. 

 

Bella Almeida

Udemy Community 

Thank you for your reply.

 

I didn't distribute free coupons.

 

The course was originally free. It is now paid.

 

I guess the 250x watching speed is indeed best explained by someone marking the lectures as complete without watching them.

I do notice similar patterns.

What about student watched video, after a while select the completed button?

This is the new strategy now, all of the students with low review scores are enrolled in a bunch of classes they have never ever started taking.   I emailed Udemy and actually have proof that they are sending trolls on purpose.   Udemy has partnered with companies specifically to do this.   So you log in and see that maybe a student has watched your course in 5 minutes!!!  Lol, timestamps are correct and if you noticed they have never even taken the course THEY ARE ALLOWED TO PUT A BAD RATING WITH NO COMMENT.   That's the game Udemy does.   They encourage spam, 0% courses taken and speed though fake students.  They want and need this, they believe their research proves that DRAMA makes a good marketplace for them.   We are in a sort of teenage Facebook here.   Other Instructors will try to attack me here so be prepared for the bullies to come and respond and start insulting me and referring me to their "Top Instructors".   They will be ignored and I am leaving this up for everyone to see.    I've been fighting this high school strategy on Udemy for quite a while now.  Trust me IT'S REAL.

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