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A reasonable concern

I get the feeling sometimes that DuoLingo, which is now free and has been advertised as free, is going to begin to grow rapidly. When it grows very big I get the feeling that the developers are going to charge for it, like many other small sites on the web have done when they increase in popularity. If DuoLingo becomes commercial, I will stop using it immediately, not because the developers do not deserve money for it, but because it was advertised as free and they can get money in other ways for DuoLingo. I would like to know other people's opinions on this.

June 8, 2012



We have absolutely zero plans to start charging for learning a language on Duolingo -- this means no "premium" paid services, no subscriptions, just 100% free.


or it could stay free and they could sell the translations to the websites themselves...it would make sense since most web sites want to open their content up to the English speaking world...


As I understand it, this is basically how it already works. It's been about a year since I learned about it, though. It might be in the TED talk.


@mikeydee: I'd totally buy an Owl Plushie. Also, note that if you rate your "answer," it gives you the option to edit and delete it. There's a bug, since it should always show those options, but beta is beta.


Plushy owl? I want 10!


They could probably earn some funding by introducing a scheme for schools and colleges, where-by the school registers for a scholarly account, which can have self-set administrators (teachers), moderators (teaching assistants) and self-allocated accounts (students). All of the progress each student makes is ranked up into the global statistics for that school. Obviously this is a huge step into a different direction, but as an alternative to charging their users, this seems like a fair idea. I guess the teachers would also be able to set targets and homework assignments that must be completed, thus making the app an integral part to their class.


Every beta tester should get a plush owl for free!


Heck, give me 20 plush owls..


I gather that in future it may be that Duolingo will sell translation services to for-profit websites. That seems totally fine to me. Obviously Duolingo has expenses, and the developers certainly deserve to be compensated for their hard work. One way or another someone has to pay for Duolingo. What I don't want is for Google to buy it...

I'd totally go for one of those plush owls though. :)


reCAPTCHA is free, not only to the users but to the sites that use it... However, I just had an idea that DuoLingo could make those posters that they have been posting images of online and mass-market and sell them... Sort of like a PBS kind of fundraiser except not as intrusive.. Make promotional items (towels, posters, maybe even umbrellas) and sell them to the public to raise money for DuoLingo.


@burgesszachary1, I think you may need help. Meantime, I reckon plush owls will make Duolingo a fortune just from its users!!


@vkd1 For sure... I can't go to bed at night without Duo beside me...


I think this project is like Wikipedia (at least I thought when I watched the TED presentation http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration.html : this IS the NEXT Wikipedia). And reCAPTCHA (the other project presented in the TED presentation) is still free, although it is used million (or billion) times every day. I hope the creators of this awesome project switch to a donation model (like Wikipedia) when they run out of money.


burgesszachary1: Rate your posts, then the options to edit and delete will appear. On a side note, I just got about 10 emails.


OKAY!!! you found a glitch, now don't use it to spam.. We believe you.


@ mikeydee: I like your fractal btw. You just need an owl to complement it :-)


I got the ad today about schools plans free and $10 monthly fee (I can't remember the exact ammount, the ad doesn't pop up all the time even thoug I click on the "go pro' button; some differences are ads/no ads, customer service Mon-Fri (yes-no), etc... And I'm willing to pay as long as I can get additional services, including control of when can students study the sets assigned, and testing students over the sets of words assigned at a specific time, to check that they really study/remember/understand the vocab and sentence building, etc. I have problems with students who do the assignments months earlier and others who don't do them on time: It is a problem. Likewise, the LABS duolingo stories are fantastic, and I need to be able to test students over the stories, so I need to be able to run a test on DUO after we watch it, so that the kids can answer the questions and I can see the scores, frequent mistakes, etc.


Of course they will need to gain stature first before towels or umbrellas are sold, but posters are not out of the question for the immediate future


@Beardy haha I went crazy earlier trying to figure out how to delete my answers.


@mikeydee: LOL :-)


Duolingo sells student translations to support themselves.


I hope there will be at least three plans at least then: For Schools - A school buys to all studens, and get features for teachers - "Pro", gets a few more features (Not too big), For Students, A student gets discount on "Pro" and Free, which "Pro" without the small extra features


I wouldn't mind paying for something beyond the existing tree when finished. Maybe ther could be an advanced tree etc.


You state that the company can get money in other ways, what ways are those?

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