Is duolingo for free?
Hi all, I have a question I can't find the answer to anywhere. I have been using duolingo for a few months. A few days ago I had a message popping up on my screen, "30 day streak lost! Do you want to repair your streak? This helps us to keep education free." There were two options: repair for £3.99 or "no,thanks". I chose the first option and paid, but I am very eager to find out information about this but don't seem to be able. Is it not really free? Will I prompted to pay now and then? What are the rules? I'd like to like to know exactly how much it cost and this seems a bit vague? Can anyone help out? Many thanks!!!
UPDATE: i have in the meantime checked my itunes account, and I have def. been charged £ 3.99., as item it states "streak repair", under developer it states "Duolingo, Inc" and type states "in-app-purchase". I will post snapshots on here later today. Thank you
UPDATE: i guess upload of picture is not necessary anymore, since it basically looks like the one posted below. Thank you!
UPDATE: It seems established that there is a fee for "keeping the streak"... and that the answer to the question is duolingo for free is an open debate now... ;-)
This whole thread, the A/B test of charging for something, the lack of communication.... classic Duo. Top shelf.
Even free resources rely on having customers for the people at the top to collect a paycheck. No one would have provided a grant or venture capital for a product if they thought no one would use it.
And most of the content is built by volunteers. (Such as xavi_fr :-) ).
As has been stated before in this thread, the willingness and availability of volunteers may be affected by how the company decides to charge its users.
Thanks annika_a, without Duolingo we couldn't imagine this amazing resource for free, and optional payments are ok for me. Of course the way they offer you to pay is not the nicest, that's why they are testing it. I think it's dangerous for the youngest and oldest users. It should be a bit hidden in my opinion this option. ;)
I deleted my comment and somebody activated it again, not nice. I should also be a moderator in the English forum... :(
@jrikhal Yep, but then some comments appeared so better to leave it, It was a not very elaborated comment from my side xD
Srry Hohenems, but it was strange, maybe I didn't delete it, I hate to see negative numbers xD
@xavi_fr: I saw it deleted too...
But you should be able to delete it again, no?
In other words, for a small fee, you can pay the authorities to say you've been doing your work when you really haven't. Just like in the real world, huh?
With such a "recover streak" option, comparing streaks means nothing anymore so they could kick out from our public profile/next to our flags this info. ;)
And just keep it when we see ourselves our profile for those that are motivated by keeping it.
There are many ways to raise money that have been suggested on the forums, repeatedly. Things that users actually want that won't impede the learning process.
Buying a streak is the opposite of what the streak is allegedly intended for. It's sad to see duo going in the direction of dumbing down the apps even further.
I must say, I'm strongly reminded of selling indulgences to forgive sins...what does a streak matter if it can be preserved simply with money?
But a streak can already be preserved indefinitely by buying streak freezes every day with lingots; there's absolutely no way of telling if someone with a long streak has actually failed to keep it dozens or even hundreds of times. I don't see how this new feature for saving a streak with money is more damaging to the integrity of the streak system than the pre-existent feature of saving it with lingots.
Indeed, the new feature is just a tax on people whose vanity won't allow them to lose a streak—if one actually cares in an abstract way that one has really practised every day for X days, it will obviously make no difference as one will know that one hasn't. So it's not really like the sale of indulgences, which (to a believer) reduce the amount of penance for a sin to be forgiven, rather than just covering the sin up so the neighbours don't see it.
To be honest I'm not the biggest fan of streak freezes either. It makes me take everyone's streak with a grain of salt, including my own.
" .... there's absolutely no way of telling if someone with a long streak has actually failed to keep it dozens or even hundreds of times. ...."
That could be easily achieved if the use of the streak Feature would be be linked to the real start date of the streak and limited to - as a ball park let's say - 3 weeks in a year, like vacation days that can be used when needed.
Question is if duo is interested in spending man power to the improvement of a feature that only might improve the fairness but not the profits. Well usually one would think that the satisfaction of the customer automatically increases the profit. But this law seems to outdated since software became apps and internet user gratefully accepted Windows Vista, google and facebook.
It clearly matters in some way, since so many of us seem to be so motivated by it. I was never as hooked on Memrise ... until they introduced streaks! X-)
You're right. But as a motivator, it can work both ways. For some people, bought streak admittedly might not mean much. But there are many who felt unmotivated by their loss of a streak and the ability to buy it back could help them.
We can already skip a day thanks to the streak freeze. How much does buying it change things?
Somehow it feels like "selling indulgences to forgive sins" as lagomen puts it. It monetizes something that shouldn't be about money but about perseverance.
One might indeed argue that the streak freeze is "cheating", too, but I see that mostly as an insurance policy against Duolingo's strange timezone handling when traveling.
Others find that being able to keep a streak with just 1 XP a day means you don't really need to work for it, but to me it still shows a commitment to language learning beyond just fixing things with money (which many Duolingo users may not have, or, in the case of all those children they've been trying to appeal to, may not be authorized to spend).
I've never heard anything about paying for your streak to be fixed. And no, you should never have to pay anything, unless you buy stuff from the Gear store.
Thanks for your response... that's worrying - I did pay. I wonder whether anyone else had that. Is there any way to contact the people at duolingo? I did make a screenshot of the message... Can't find where to contact them...
Do you have a screenshot with the URL of the page?
Could you share the screenshot?
@jrikhal: Wow, that picture is disgusting =( What app were you using or where have you got this screenshot from?
I too find it disappointing. And question why Duo would choose to dilute one of their strongest motivators. I think I just stopped caring about streaks, mine and others, since some people can pay for them now.
And even if the moderators aren't normally informed about A/B tests, you should have been told about this, as is evident by the early (incorrect) responses to the poster. It makes your task more difficult than it needs to be. Thanks for ALL the moderators do to keep Duo running smoothly.
I didn't got it myself, another mod/contrib shared it with me.
Given the only "repair" A/B test is for iOS, I'm pretty sure it's on iOS app. ;)
i do actually. how do i share it? (sorry.. can't see an "attach" option anywhere?
@Katrin19731 Imgur is an image host company. You can easily upload pictures there and link them to the forums here, it's pretty handy.
- Send the screenshot to your PC.
- Go to https://imgur.com/
- Click on "upload images"
- Follow the steps (like "browsing your computer")
- Once the picture is uploaded, right-click on "view image" and copy the url.
- Post the url here by using the code ` (without any spaces in the code) and we'll be able to see your screenshot here.
If you can upload the image to Imgur, then type
!(and put the url in here), then we should see the image.
sorry I don't understand....I don't know what Imgur is? I am just using the app on my phone (only at the moment I am on the actual website on a mac) - so how would i do that? its just a picture (screenshot) i have on my phone... Thank you for your help
I've asked a couple mods, so they should get back to you soon. The motto of Duolingo is "Learn a language for free. Forever" Very strange...
I guess Duo considers the motto still valid: you can learn without paying anything.
But IMO, with such "pay to recover something" and potentially ads, Duo wouldn't be 100% free app/tool anymore. (I put a conditional because it's still an A/B test...)
it seems i have to learn another language - what are mods and whats the gear store? only (half)joking. Am very grateful for your response ! and genuinly puzzled - would be nice if they get in touch with me so that we can figure it out... Glad I made the screenshot
"mods" is the abbreviation for "moderators" and we moderate the forums, delete spam, help users keep a friendly language environment, deal with problems, we're in contact with staff and a couple of more things =)
I suppose not, but it's not entirely free either. I personally don't like this idea.
It isn't free if one decides to buy a lost streak. If one doesn't care about the streak loss or cares enough not to lose it, they never need to shell out any money. I feel its a good decision given the amount of posts I see in the forums from folks who lose long streaks and are willing to even pay to recover it. Duolingo just decided to play along with out impacting the learning experience on the website for other users.
I understand your point, but who is going to support Duolingo financially forever. If they cannot be sustainable they eventually will have to close and that will be bad or someone bad will buy them. I am not sure how much they can make with this type of fees.
Duolingo is free.
So it seems you've been victim of a third-party scam. Were you connected to https://www.duolingo.com? The important is the "s" in "https".
EDIT: Was it on the website? On an app (which one)?
Would it be a new option Duolingo offers but Duo didn't update their "we're 100% free thing"? (It's an option, but having the possibility to save streak with money make it 95% or 99% free IMO ;) )
I lose my streak when I go completely off the grid (backpacking) for a week or two each summer. As I have finally built up a nice streak, I dread losing it, as I find it very motivating. I would love to buy a vacation, say 7 days off Duolingo two to four times a year. How much would I pay for this? Maybe somewhere between $10 & $25 per week.
Maybe you should be able to buy Lingots. Thus you could buy STREAK FREZZE; Or maybe make 7 day streaj frezze for 100 lingots or maybe mix those 2 things!!!
What I would like to add might have been said already in some form. First of all (and yes, many people have said that already), the streak is not necessary for you, so having to pay for it (if you want it repaired) isn't obligatory in order to learn. Second, the streak repair is a new for-pay function, it is not a function that existed already for which you have to pay from now on. So, before that, if you didn't practice for a day you lost your streak; there was no way to overcome that. Now you can pay (helping with Duolingo running costs) and get it repaired. So, where is the problem? It's a new, optional service. It's neither obligatory to pay, nor was it offered for free before. So, I think that it's acceptable to support Duolingo financially this way, it's not much different than additional Duo outfits or backgrounds etc. that other users have suggested.
Y'all do know that the lingots you get from maintaining your streak are not actually negotiable currency, don't you? So what does it matter whether you maintain your streak when you're not actually taking lessons to do it?
Seriously, Luis (CEO) stated multiple times that Duolingo is free and remains for free. Seeing such a suspicious offer must have made you wonder what is happening and I don't know why you paid. It's pretty obvious to me that it's a scam. Duolingo is an American company and paying pounds (not dollars!) makes it even more obvious and suspicious. It's actually the worst that you paid the money because those thieves could have also stolen your bank data a.s.o, so better check everything, whether you lost further money a.s.o.
So I kindly ask you to write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and explain the situation in detail. When was it exactly? What browser/app were you using? Did you make screenshots? Could you tell them to whom you paid the money? Duolingo takes these things very seriously.
I seriously hope that you just lost £3.99. And thank you so much for bringing this up!
edit: Okay, seems to be an official Duolingo thingy. Would have been better to invite the moderators beforehand. Since I had no clue about that, I simply assumed that it was scam.
Anyway, always remember:
Streaks are really useless, pointless, they don't give you anything nor take anything away from you. Streaks do not change the way you use Duolingo, do not change your progress, do not change your earned XP.
STREAKS DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING
SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY AT ALL
It's still free in that sense, but I do agree it's a tricky thing.
(Ok, streaks help you keep focused, but only if you keep them without cheat$, of course)
Maybe exactly the point: it's a "pay-option" on an useless thing. So it make entering the idea of "fee-charge" on Duo on an "innocent" thing... ¿Before having more and more?
I would rather have a donate button or advanced language packages that cost some money.
I'm not sure all the volunteers would be as happy to donate their free time to paid packages.
I don't think anyone's assuming volunteers would do it. widle's comment was about whether volunteers would be willing to do it.
Also, most of the content here has been created by volunteers since the advent of the Incubator. If money is tight, I'd be surprised if there's enough of it to pay professionals with degrees instead of not paying volunteers.
Indeed and i think if they were specialised packages, such as medical spanish as has been requested on a different thread by a doctor or finace / enginerering or computing then i am not sure that duo would not need to bring in a few professional translators rather than volunteers for that bit, but people are charged for language certs so the issue is not insurmountable.
However, I have said for a long time there should be a donate button, which is preferable in my opinion. Duolingo patreon style would not go amiss.
Why do you automatically assume the volunteers would have to do it?
I would pay for an advanced placement package but only if it had professionals with degrees in the languages being taught helping to put them together.
Donation, why not.
Content depending on if you pay or not... I don't like it and it goes against the idea to "bring free education to the world" with making that a "complete/advanced" education would need to pay.
That's what would make me immediately stop supporting Duolingo - cutting off content to users based on charges. Charges for optional extras which don't affect actual content are much preferable to disabling content for people, as also are donations.
Exactly what I think.
So many people do love Duolingo and they would certainly like donating! It's much more suited to Duolingo's stated purpose.
I think it might be a case of Duolingo being a for-profit business, and therefore not being able to ask for donations. (I'm certainly not an expert on US tax laws, though.)
If it were possible, I'd be happy to donate.
According to a quick google search, donations are apparently OK but unpaid volunteers in for-profit businesses are generally not. :/
I'm no expert either, but as far as I understand it:
- Duolingo is a for-profit organization.
- For-profit organizations are allowed to receive donations (that's the good thing), but in contrast to non-profit organizations, the taxes of these donations are non-deductible (that's the bad thing).
- Thus in-app purchases, funds a.s.o. seem to be a better solution and it is certainly not easy to find the perfect solution for collecting 40k daily.
But as I said, I might be wrong with my observations.
Bingo, learned that the hard and stupid way. Well you get quite more and faster lingots, the higher your streak is, but they are worthless. Streaks and lingots hook you up and make you willing to pay ransom (after you already payed for protection in lingots.
This lucrative business model is centuries old, was used by the mafia and the church and many others and in the world of internet it seems to be normal and legal because no guns are involved, just the human condition.
Apparently it's a Duo thing...
There is an A/B test "ios_27_streak_repair_test" and after a discussion with other contribs, Duo has in its interface database some strings about such "pay to recover string".
So it seems definitely a Duo thing and even if Duo can still be used 100% freely but it's not anymore a 100% free tool, IMO.
Note also that Duo never excluded to one day add ads and apparently it's close to be tested.
If this is the case, and it's going towards supporting Duolingo in a totally optional manner, I actually think it might be a very nice idea. I'd actually happily keep up a streak and let it falter every now and then in order to support Duolingo :) As long as they stand by the idea of not cutting off sections of the site/app to users who don't/can't pay, then it's not a bad idea IMO.
It may be a good idea (or not), but it makes of Duo not anymore a "100% free" thing (but 95%-99% free).
You can use it without paying but the concept isn't "100% free"/"100% no money".
Is it bad or not, each one opinion. ;)
EDIT: But stating "100% free" (in the support page) is a lie (if such ads + pay "to recover" were to be confirmed), IMO.
Yeah. I have never had a problem with optional charges which don't prohibit the non-paying from everything bar little cosmetic/extra features. More power to such non-intrusive business models, IMO!
EDIT: But stating "100% free" (in the support page) is a lie (if such ads + pay "to recover" were to be confirmed), IMO.
I agree 100 %! (No pun intended.)
Very interesting! I must say that my gut reaction as a long-time Duolingo user is not exactly a positive one -- this might take some getting used to.
Regarding the ads, this is what Luis wrote a year ago here in the discussion:
"I should clarify once and for all: we at Duolingo have no plans of adding ads to the website. Our translations remain a source of revenue for us, and we are starting to concentrate on a secondary source, which we have been pretty open about: language certification through the Test Center."
(I'm sure jrikhal has seen this, but I'm posting this for the benefit of those who haven't.)
This statement is outdated I think: development of Immersion (="Our translations") has been abandoned but, more importantly, I saw Luis stating months ago that they don't exclude adding ads. Let me find this statement.
EDIT: found it.
here Luis stated 10months ago (so after the previous quote statement):
The facts are as follows:
(1) We are not currently advertising anything on Duolingo.
(2) We have not ruled out the possibility of "ads" to keep the site 100% free.
(3) However, there will never be annoying banner ads or anything that decreases user engagement. [...]
That's what I was referring to with
Note also that Duo never excluded to one day add ads and apparently it's close to be tested.
Sure, I can understand that things change in a year. But the statement I linked to was the last I'd seen on the subject -- I'd missed the statement you linked to but am reading it with interest now. Thanks!
(Indeed a pretty nasty situation for moderators to be put in...)
annika_a's quote doesn't exclude ads either. It simply states that they "have no plans of adding ads". Doesn't mean it wasn't talked about or that it wasn't going to happen. Just that at that point in time, they had "no plans". I still stand by my meme. :-)
Mmm... it means that as far as plans are concerned it's excluded. Well I read it like that.
However the quote only speaks only for website, not about apps and.... this "recover streak" fee-option is on iOS app. Maybe the ads and "fee-option" will be only on apps?
A "candy-crush"-like Duo apps? ;)
why are no emoticons on here? Where is the "ok now I am totally confused" one? ;-)) I sort of read between the lines its well possible that i have been charged and paid all legal and above board rather than falling for a scam? ;-)
why are no emoticons on here?
Here for the (text) emoticon for confused:
its well possible that i have been charged and paid all legal and above board rather than falling for a scam?
Indeed, I'm now pretty convinced it's not a scam.
And it's also not just for the app or for Apple. I got the intrusive banner with the sad owl via the website on a windows pc, I don't use any duo app, not on my pc, not on my iphone.
Tbh, I think it's a little unfair to overstate how obvious it might be. As users regularly surrounded by Duolingo for a long time, it would very much stand out to us. But that manner of transaction is perfectly normal for a huge proportion of phone apps. I highly doubt the average Duolingo user (by which I exclude the minority that uses the forums with any regularity) even knows who Luis is, or where the company is based. Not to mention that many apps adapt currency to location and so it would be perfectly normal to see pounds rather than dollars, US-based site or not. When you consider things outwith the Duolingo bubble, it's quite obvious why such scams continue to thrive.
Sure, you're right. It just would have been better that we moderators had been invited before. I actually didn't know anything about it and that makes moderating difficult. That's why I said it's pretty obvious to me.
pheww... thank you! I am one totally average user (not being sarcastic! i am really!) and consider myself fairly switched on when it comes to scams etc... So far so not fallen for one... ;-) maybe i just started - oh dear... It seems all quite regular - even on my itunes account... Only because i was curious i wanted to find out... and i thought to myself fair enough if I keep learning I might have to pay - nothing is for free at the end of the day... Thank you. P.S. Well done you for learning German. Is it difficult? ( ;-) i am German)...
Ich lerne gern Deutsch aber ich bin noch nicht sehr fließend. :) Kürzlich muss ich mich auf anderen Sprachen konzentrieren, also mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut wie es war. Derzeit muss ich mich hauptsächlich auf Spanisch konzentrieren, weil ich Spanisch auf der Universität studiere, aber ich ziehe Deutsch vor.
Hoffentlich war das zusammenhängend! :P
Hmm... wie kann man auf Deutsch „feel free to correct me“ sagen?
wow! your german is impressive - and i am not just being polite! Maybe: In letzter Zeit musste ich mich auf andere Sprachen ..... und Hoffentlich macht das Sinn. (although it just sounds better, yours in not wrong!) And "feel free to correct me" - I don't really know how to say that in German "Bitte korrigiere meine Fehler" oder "Du kannst gern meine Fehler korrigieren" ... Both sounds stiff ;-) That's why we Germans (at least the ones who've been here (in an English speaking environment) "a while" fall into "denglish", even when talking to one another, as sometimes there are no nice / good / smooth translations that get to the point as good as the English phrase (rarely the other way around)...
And in answer to a question I missed - yes, it is difficult, but the challenge is enjoyable. I find Spanish in some ways more difficult, even though objectively I perceive it as less difficult. This sounds contradictory, but I think perhaps my lack of interest in Spanish relative to German makes it harder for me despite the qualities of the language on paper. I also tend to find that German vocabulary and constructions stick in my mind better.
That said, I'm also studying Scottish Gaelic, which I find more difficult than German in just about every way! So, it's a nice middle-of-the-ground challenge! The biggest challenge was the first few weeks when I was trying to comprehend cases (as it was my first ever case-based language). Since overcoming that, it hasn't been too bad. And I've actually grown to love cases now, weirdly enough :P
Would you possibly be able to find out how Duolingo will be playing this? Might I be asked every 30 days? I personally would rather pay a regular subspriction fee and know what it is than to be prompted now and then to pay... It needs to be transparent in my opinion to make it honest and user friendly... But that's just my opinion... Thanks again, for your help
Would you possibly be able to find out how Duolingo will be playing this?
Anytime you lose your streak apparently.
Would you possibly be able to find out how Duolingo will be playing this? Might I be asked every 30 days?
No. See previous answer.
? Are you working for Duolingo? I am assuming you forgot a "not" in your second to last sentence? I am living in the UK and connected through apple UK so to me it would be logical that I pay in £ rather than $.
I'm working voluntarily for Duolingo (like jrikhal), as indicated by our green moderator rings. We also stay in contact with staff. And why do you think that Duolingo doesn't take such an issue seriously?
Thanks for explaining that to me. (moderator ring). I don't understand why you are saying I don't think duolingo is taking it seriously? I interpreted your message slightly patronizing (I just re-read it and still perceive it that way). And then right in the end you said "I do hope you lost £3.99" - I just gave you the benefit of the doubt and hoped you'd meant "not lost £3.99." I have just asked a question and am grateful for support / tips / answers, I said that from the start, so I don't see the need for being unkind/lecturing. Thank you though for letting me know who to contact etc.
MultiLinguAlex means hoping you have only lost the £3.99 you agreed to pay, as it's quite unlikely that they haven't taken at least that already since you agreed to pay it. The post is simply saying that hopefully you haven't had more money taken from your account than that.
one extra word can make such a difference hey... not... only... ;-) it would have been much easier to understand... I guess i took offence because i am not stupid (in my own humble perception... of course i didn't give my details away, just said yes to an "in-app-purchase" for £3.99 which at this point in time seemed like an "informed decision") ... Thank you for answering...
Neither did I lecture nor did I mean anything patronizing, sorry that you receive it that way. I'm just a little bit angry with these scams since I know that thieves often try to not only steal £3.99 but your bank data in order to get full control of your bank account.
Also, please read exactly what I wrote: "I seriously hope that you just lost £3.99" meaning that whoever you paid the money to just got this money from you, not control of your whole bank account. That's a totally different meaning. I simply didn't write "I do hope you lost £3.99" - I meant exactly the contrary. Not in a lecturing, but in a worrying way since I also know too many people who just pay before they ask. That's why I also told you to check all your bank data before they steal more money from you and explain the case in detail so that Duolingo knows as fast as possible what exactly happened. I'm actually helping you here.
fair enough. misunderstood. thank you! (to the first message above) .... And as for the second message... ah well.. Glad i brought it to everybodies attention... ;-)
It is two years later now and this weekend I actually spotted for the first time, that duo asks protection fee.
In my case it sounds like: You gotta streak freeze? So what, we deleted your streak anyway. You want it back? Pay real money.
No way I write them, I just don' play their game anymore.
The lingots are for all the times I saw your name above friendly and helpfull explanations - for free. I dont need them anymore.
Hi everybody. I'm Luis, the CEO of Duolingo. This is a small test we are trying out on the iPhone app, precisely so we can offer education for free!
As we expand our operations to serve more and more users, we have to find ways to remain a viable company. We spend more than US$40,000 per day -- on developer salaries, server costs, etc.
The motivation for this test is that people email us every day asking for their streaks to be repaired because they forgot to practice the previous day. Many of them have offered to pay us for this, so we thought this was a feature we could offer to help us cover our costs without hurting the learning experience at all.
We will continue testing different ways to pay the bills, so long as they are compatible with our dream of being able to provide free language education to the world.
thx for making a statement.
We regularly see users saying they'd like to donate, why not making also an A/B test about a "donation button" on website version (since it's seems at least there users are wanting to donate) ?
Have you considered adding more products to the Gear store and to making that more visible?
I think quite a few users who are interested in donating would also be wiling to donate some designs for items.
Yeah, that would have to be a pretty amazing t-shirt.
I wasn't thinking all the money needed to come from one source. And shirts don't have much of an appeal. I would think that ebooks would be a better match anyways as many people on Duo forums constantly request ideas for books in other languages - usually starting with children and young adult books
Digital shirts, Luis, digital shirts! More outfits for Duo that you can buy, like I would pay for that Chinese new year outfit if it is made available. There are a lot of ideas here from NoahVee here too: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9698880.
It might not be a perfect analogy, but just like DOTA2, the game is free, but there are tons of cosmetic items you can buy. Also, because the rarity of some items, DOTA2/Valve even creates a whole virtual economy on it. I don't see why this cannot be emulated by duolingo: more owl outfits, various background themes. That way, if people want it, they can make their APP more fun, while the core functionality will still be free.
I'm sure a lot of people would tell you not to do business with American Apparel in the first place.
I do agree. I would have found a donate option a much better starting point to try to get money in.
I definitely like the donation idea, but since most people are students, maybe $5 a month or a range. It would take ~160,000 users donating $5/mo. to keep the lights on. That might be achievable. I will sign up right away!
Sal Khan made an appeal for the Khan Academy, it prompted me to donate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7o__CCMzmI. A December appeal would appeal to us grown-ups that can have our donations deductible from our income taxes. Also, a sort of Tom's (shoes) or Bomba (socks) 'buy one / give one' model could appeal to those of us that would like to donate for ourselves, and for another user that cannot afford to donate.
Things I would pay for:
Takes little work:
Printable flashcards from my course
eBook of course: each topic is a chapter, starts with notes, then a list of words used, followed by the sentences (this is basically what TeachYourself is).
Memrise replacement. In App Purchase for a course that only focuses on my Duolingo tree with advanced word lists for an in app purchases.
iTalki replacement. Instructors only work using the topics within the tree and they can check your progress through the classroom feature. Instructors can then better clarify what a student is having trouble with. Additional classes for advanced topics. Duolingo gets a cut.
Check work of translations. Duolingo doesn't do the work, other approved users do and Duolingo gets a cut.
A donation button is a good thing to consider! This website has so much support, and I, for one would be willing to donate so that someone else could continue to get their education for free, and I know that there are many out there who feel the same!
Thanks for the explanation, Luis.
Please, please make sure your community managers inform the volunteer moderators about changes like these. They can only help users if they know what's going on.
It's very respectable that you're opting to explore such things in a way that doesn't separate users from sections of actual learning content. Well done for that. I hope to see that continue in future!
Thank you Luis, what an honour to have the CEO responding! ;-) I feel a little like a guinea pig now... I would have liked to make an informed decision - its about transparency. If I would have been told in the app that this is going to happen and I will have the choice fine, but it was just popping up out of the blue and put me on the spot. I thought oh no I was so good I don't want to loose my streak (and please no further explanations about that, I understand... its not important...) But it wasn't rational thinking exactly for that reason. And I am actually utterly convinced that I HAD DONE my exercises daily, as I was religiously doing it and was really proud of myself. So that message popping up was a sort of emotional blackmail. Lol.
That all aside I'd happily pay for the app or donate. Well I guess in a way I have done that now. £ 3.99. And I spend a couple of hours (ok, minutes) worrying, I might have been victim of a scam for the first time ever. Would rather have just paid £ 3.99 without the worry.
Thanks everyone for helping to figure it out.
Just a little suggestion, I think it would be better to post about these new features, especially if they involve money, on the forums, so people know that it's not a scam.
I would prefer that it only ever extend to pointless stuff like streaks. Don't ever monetize languages or extra lessons.
What about a small fee that allows you to customise what exercises you. At the moment you get a lot of exercises translating from the language your learning to English. There are also a lot of multiple choice exercises.
You can already turn the headphones and microphone on and off in the Settings. A similar feature to turn off multiple choice questions, as well as the ability to adjust the ratio of translations to and from the language you're learning (from between anywhere 0-100 to 100-0).
I'd rather not have to pay for such a feature (since it makes Duolingo much more useful for serious language learners); but it's better to have a feature that you can pay for than not having the feature at all; and if it supports the site, so be it.
Another feature which could be payed for is the ability to make custom language trees. At the moment you have volunteers making the courses, but there are always many people waiting to contribute to a course before it enters the incubator. If people could pay to make their own custom course (or even individual skills), you would have all kinds of volunteers completely willing to make courses for dozens of new languages. If a course is of sufficient quality, then you can make it official. This could replace the current incubator system.
For example, with this system I could pay a small fee, and then I'd receive the same tools that moderators on incubator courses are receiving. I could make a course in a language (let's say Latin, as a random example), and other users could do the same thing (after a fee). A Duolingo user who wants to learn Latin can then check what official courses there are. If there are no official Latin courses on Duolingo, they can click "Search Custom Courses" and see what courses and skills other users have made. Of course, these unofficial courses will differ greatly in terms of quality and length. If a custom course is good enough, you can make it an official Duolingo course. This could also be used to provide alternatives or extensions to existing courses, or even just to provide extra skills (e.g. a "calculus" skill might not be useful more most people, but for someone who needs to learn it, they could look for it in the custom skill search).
With this, you can keep official Duolingo courses free, but make people pay to make custom courses and/or to use other people's custom courses. This will be particularly useful for people wanting to teach minority languages.
If nothing else, you can show learners ads in the languages they're learning :-D
If nothing else, you can show learners ads in the languages they're learning
I have thought about this idea before, and I'm not sure it makes sense from the point of view of the company paying for the advertising.
Typically, they would want to reach an audience that understands a certain language well, and is probably based in a particular market. Learners (certainly at the A0 to A2 levels where Duolingo learners tend to be) do not fit these criteria.
Alternatively, the company would need to translate the own advertising just to be able to advertise to, say, Americans learning French on Duolingo. That'd be way too much hassle compared to other advertising options.
If they go for ads, its more likely going to be part of the content. So, we could have a penguin drinking Coke or an elephant having a Kellogg's breakfast.
Oh the fun of product placement. If that happens I want to see a moose putting together some Ikea furniture in the Swedish course.
According to the latest article about Duo the free catered lunches are still coming. But why cut back on expenses.
The way I see it, using the lunch analogy, we get free lunch, though optionally we could pay for add ons if we want one.
I understand your concern, and it's totally valid. However, it's a bad idea, I believe. Although, personally I don't care, currently, the number of ''Streak'' language-learners have acts as something to be proud of, something that shows their day-to-day commitment.
However, when you can pay to restore your ''Streak'', then it loses its functionality, and later on nobody would even pay to restore it ;-) Although, I would say, with the 'streak-freeze' people are already suspicious of what the Streak means, if anything. Anyway, I guess ''donation'' is a much better idea in the meantime.
A big thank you to you and all the wonderful Duo-Lingo team,
I found this conversation just because I was looking for some way how to donate and support Duolingo. Can't believe how much are you doing without asking for any money.
But as someone said in this thread, instead of plain donate button, give us some virtual rewards! It's cool and fun. Oh I'd like to buy more owl skins and fun things, just to support this awesome thing.
I'm seriously in love with Duolingo. I really have to force you into giving us some nice way to support your awesome job you guys are doing! DO IT NOW! :)
Hola luis, I think it is a good idea. I will also will pay for a German tree 2.0 to continue leaning German in Duolingo.
I saw that you were replying to ideas that people replied to you with and wanted to give an idea of my own; what if you had a feature to crowdsource new courses?
I certainly understand the need to make money. And, people (myself included) should ease up a bit when an "original vision" goes a bit sour, and changes, because money is needed (Hi, Netzero!). However this is a bit iffy, in my opinion. What happens when the streak loss is due to technical issues, iow, Duo's fault? I lost my 700-something streak due to a change of policy. I had it restored eventually (and lost it again, legit this time), with much pestering of the poor developers, but it does raise the question. When something other than user error causes the problem, this gets really sticky. One could even argue that streaks are being deleted to make money (a bit paranoid, but hey). So this is definitely a touchy thing to do, I'd say.
On the topic of being free forever, if Duo really wants to be free forever 'someday', that is, after it is not profitable and cannot cover the costs of running, there are still options:
- Make it a standalone app that runs on the user's hardware. I think this is what Ankhi does. And/or,
- Open source.
Those options would certainly be putting your money where your mouth is. :)
Hi i lost my streak yesterday, but there is no option to pay to get it back. What would you suggest I do? Thanks
As far as I know, this feature is not (yet) available to everyone, so there's probably nothing you can do.
I lost my streak as I did not want to be in first place continually in the Duolingo club I was in. Losing did not matter at all as I could start my streak all over again.
However, Duolingo sent me a Streak Repair offer. I am paying for this repair not because I want my streak back but because I wish to support Duolingo.
Duolingo should have had a Donate button somewhere so that all its users can show their appreciation and support.
Being a Language Educator and on behalf of the underprivileged especially in Third World countries, my wholehearted gratitude goes to Duolingo's Luis and his Team for making Language Learning freely available worldwide.
May Duolingo flourish and prosper!
Please combine my two accounts reajrdn and carljordan1 if possible. I want to continue SPANISH, JAPANESE AND GERMAN --- THAT IS ALL.
Duo doesn't do such merging (I'm not sure they even can).
Since your carljordan1 is "only" level 4 in JA and that reajrdn is already level 13 in ES and 7 in DE, the best way is to start learning JA from reajrdn.
Take, under the account reajrdn, the shortcuts of the skills you already completed in JA with carljordan1 (or even the shortcuts to validate several skills at once). With the shortcuts you'll quickly be at level 4 in JA with reajrdn.
Hi Luis (Plus)
I understand how important it is, to keep up Duo and how difficult it is, to earn such high amount of money on a daily basis. Duo is fun, useful and a better option to spend your time than playing some silly solitary games online. I would gladly donate some money per bank transfer to any site, that has to offer so much as Duo does.
But this is about honesty, fairness and trust. If you need to ask for financial support from Duo users, fine, more than fine. But please in a transparent way and at time. Wikipedia and many other sites show how it works and succeed like this for many years.
I am a member of a few days more than 521 days and during this time I used and visited Duo on a daily basis, no matter if I felt like it and no matter the time of the day, which actually should be called night in my case. In this time I gained 48.164 xp, with constant eye trouble, sometimes limited hearing and a broken keyboard on my laptop, so what, I had a goal and the streak helped, compare the day of my registration with my lost streak and you will see that I used the freeze for a very small amount of days.
That's gone now, and to be honest, not a bad thing. I might have written a mail to Duo, asking what happened and if they can make it undone since I actually HAD a freeze and logged in about 5 minutes after midnight. But the moment that banner popped up, telling me, I could BUY my streak back, was the eye opener. After not being on facebook, not using google, not using twitter and after having bought my first mobile phone ever just a few month ago, I realized that I am still not en garde enough to not to be lured in. No disrespect, just my feeling.
So no email to ask the streak back, no streaks and no lingots either for me, you can have some of them back, the others go to good comments and even more, to those people, who make Duo worth to stay, the volunteers.
I don't tell you all that to hang out the cry baby, I tell you as a feedback and in the hope, to make Duo not forget, that their members are more than avatars, visitors, clicks and stats. They are all just another human, with limited time, with dreams and hope, with limitations, enthusiasm, goals and the willingness to learn and to evolve.
Best wishes from just another Duo user.
Let me point out it is not "just" a small fee. I was charged $15 to keep my 200+ day spree. I was out of the country and had no access to internet.
What offended me was that I ANTICIPATED I needed to freeze my streak prior, and bought a streak freeze prior to that. This new feature was not announced, not told to people, and implemented all of a sudden. Streak is the one most useful feature in Duolingo, and now I can't be bothered anymore.
I know Duolingo is free, not-for-profit. But there are other ways apart from SNEAKING payment schemes into the game.
Just a small correction: Duolingo is not not-for-profit. They do intend to make a profit, they just haven't really found a way of doing it yet, like many recently started companies.
Another small correction: the streak freeze did not in any way get replaced by the streak repair. The streak repair only gets shown/triggered when you lose your streak and you don't have a streak freeze. It is essentially an additional (optional) safety net before you would actually lose your streak.
I was out of the country and had no access to internet.
I ANTICIPATED I needed to freeze my streak prior, and bought a streak freeze prior to that.
So you were out only for one day and bought a freeze to protect" your streak on that (only) day and bought it at least one day prior to said missed day?
Streak is the one most useful feature in Duolingo, and now I can't be bothered anymore.
And this feature is still here, exactly the same as before.
The only new thing is an addition to the existing system (nothing already existing has been changed nor deleted): if you weren't protected by a streak freeze and miss a day, then you have an extra new (costing money) way to not lose your streak.
It's one more "protection" (the first one is free, it's the streak freeze, the second one has a fee, it's this new feature).
This new feature was not announced, not told to people, and implemented all of a sudden.
As any of the thousands of features/changes that happened over the years on Duo. ;)
What annoyed me tremendously most recently is that I was on a 77 day streak and remember VERY CLEARLY completing the lesson for the day only to be told the following day when I logged on that my streak was gone and I should start again from scratch or pay money to continue with the streak. Of course I didn't pay, if I had wanted to freeze the streak I had 54 lingots and could easily have done so without paying money.
So demotivating! I haven't used Duolingo since then. I did send a bug report but to no avail. I prob will use it again but not with the same dedication and zeal, I mean what's the point if the app just wipes out your streak when it feels like it?
In the Android app V3.50.2 (last store update from 06/15/2017) the price to buy the streak repair is 10.99€.
Not 10.99$ (~9,65€), not 4$, not 4,99$ and also not 4/4,99 euros!!
The 10.99€ (~12,5$) price is the same on Android like the newer Pro monthly subscription.
Still I think the price is quite costly, as the offer does NOT include either ad-free or Pro subscription for one month.
The price of 4,99 (either dollar or euro) sounds IMHO a little bit more fair to me for a streak repair?!?
PS: They seem to be missing a popup vote feedback button or formular, to tell them, once you buy the repair, if you think as a recently buyer if the price is fair or not or give any other more detail feedback in a text field.
The general Android app feedback option from the top right corner menu is buggy in V3.50.2 on Bluestacks. It actually shows NO feedback formular, but only a deep black screen.
Wasn't there an announcement of the team to trying to find out the "best price" options by A/B test groups across multiple users and platforms???
There was no popup streak lost - repair? message when I started the Android app, like it was mentioned by othes for the IOS app several times!!! So BIG difference here!
The username data was stored from before, so the app did an auto login for me.
It directly routed me - like normal - to the tree; also e.g in my profile page no popup message appeared.
Instead of, I had to go the shop icon on the right in the Android app, and there was shown a special repair streak sale button, which I could select manually just like a "streak freeze".
However, I have to say that I am glad that the DuoLingo developer team even brought this option from IOS to Android.
Without that, I would not have been able to recover my streak lately.
At least there is Android emulator software like Bluestacks available, which you can install on Windows on a PC!!
For the IOS app plattform there is AFAIK no emulator available for PC?!?
But if you don't pay, then sound is lost. Would rather pay an upfront charge for the app than not knowing when, or how much money will be demanded.
Luis, thank you for a great product. Please consider allowing some willing users to pay for use. I'd rather pay to support your business than see the adds and intermittent requests for contributions. Kind regards, Lisa
I have the same problem. I use Duolingo on my iPhone and it often tells me that I can pay $3.99 to continue. I chose not to pay Snd it locks me out of the program for up to 24 hours
I began using Duolingo at my grandsons request.He assured me it was not cost and that interested me as an 82 year old retiree on a limited budget.I progress well for a week or so then when I tried to move to the next stage, suddenly Duolingo said I had no more lessons available for 24 hours or so, unless I bought and paid for "early" access.After several 24 hour waiting periods I lost enthusiasm and quit.My grandson says he's not been asked for any contributions and said "Are you sure you reached the free Duolingo site".I didn't know how to answer.
This is because of IOS health/gems issues.
DuoLingo is A/B testing it on IOS (and maybe even beta testing it on Android devices) and user account relevance (not all users see it).
I would NOT have expected that you (as an 82 year old retiree) are going to use a small Apple IPhone (or Ipad if that issue is related using the app on this device too) device?!? :)
Why don't you just try the (full) website www.duolingo.com in a web browser?
I can assure you that you won't have any health issues on the web.
I do not even have any health issues on my Android app with the Bluestacks Android emulator on PC/Windows.