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State of Monetization at Duolingo

There have been a number of threads about Duolingo's plans to make money, so I thought I would repost my answer to a question that was asked elsewhere in the forum in order to keep everybody informed.

How Can I Support Duolingo? I've been hearing things about Duolingo having financial troubles. I know the company doesn't run at a profit, and I wanted to know how I could help. I don't know of any way to give money other than the merch, which I've bought, and telling other people about the site. Is there any other way to support Duolingo? (Posted by Harryclark17)

Thanks for your concern :) We're definitely not in "financial trouble." We're very lucky to have significant funds from some of the world's top investment firms, including Google -- US$83 million to be precise. That said, we do need to find a way to make Duolingo viable so that it can operate forever. Duolingo has grown more than anybody expected, and today it's by far the largest education platform in the world (we have about 10 times more active users than any other language-learning website or app). Most people don't realize how expensive it is to operate a platform that is actively used by tens of millions of users. We spend about US$42,000 per day on servers, employee salaries, etc. And this cost keeps going up with our number of users, which doubles every few months.

It would be easy for us to start charging for the app, or, for example, to charge for any learning content after the first lesson -- this would more than break us even! However, that's not what we set out to do. Our mission is to provide free language education to the world.

So our challenge is to find a way to make hundreds of thousands of dollars per day while still letting anybody who wants to learn to do so entirely for free.

Many people in the community have strong opinions about how we should or shouldn't monetize. Some think we should try ads, others think we should sell lingots for money, or simply have a donation button. And for every idea there are many who are ready to grab their torches and pitchforks because they think doing it would be a capital sin.

The best thing you or anybody can do to help is to let us experiment different ways to pay the bills without getting up in arms. We're of course aware of all the monetization options available to us, and now it's a matter of trying them to determine two things: (1) how much they impact usage of the service, and (2) how much money each can generate.

Should we have ads on Duolingo? I don't like ads any more than you do, but we need to test if a small non-intrusive ad at the end of a lesson makes people use Duolingo less. (We know this would take us a long way towards breaking even.)

Over the next few months you will see a number of such experiments -- selling a way to repair lost streaks, selling lingots or other virtual items such as outfits for the Duo mascot, etc. The main thing I promise you is that these experiments will be carefully thought out and scientifically measured to ensure that Duolingo remains equally engaging, and that somebody who doesn't have a bank account can go through the entire learning content without ever paying us a single cent.

I should also mention that many of the ideas that people have suggested are simply orders of magnitude off in terms of the amount of revenue they can generate. Selling physical Duolingo t-shirts, for example, is not going to make a dent in our expenses. We currently sell such merchandise at cost (so it doesn't help us at all to support the company), but even if we made a few dollars per shirt, we would have to sell as many shirts as Banana Republic in order support the entire platform. It's not our intention to become a global clothing retailer.

Thanks for all your support.

--Luis (CEO of Duolingo)

May 22, 2016



Thanks a bunch for clarifying, Luis. That's the post I was looking and hoping for. Now people know your plans and that makes it also way easier for us moderators to answer questions and provide a link to this discussion. Furthermore, it's great that you pointed out your mission again:

Our mission is to provide free language education to the world.

Now I'm sure that most users will understand the background of your a/b tests. I support these necessary steps as well and I'm also looking forward to experiencing Duolingo's improvements in the future. Thanks a lot for this discussion!


Full support here. This site has given me so much. I recommend it to everyone I know who is interested in learning a language. I fully support Duolingo's efforts to make sure this never goes away. Learning languages any other way at the sorts of levels Duolingo teaches would be highly unsatisfying.

I think things like paying to reinstate a streak would be better than ads personally. I must admit, I probably would have paid 609 days ago when I lost my 120 day streak due to an unexpectedly full day and not having fully understood the streak freeze at that time.

I am thrilled to see you have some delightfully supportive friends like Google though. That is very reassuring.


I agree with you that reinstating the streak, while it would devalue the significance of a streak, would be much better than ads. A variation on that idea though, which would preserve the significance of a streak, would be to sell a streak history. Meaning, when you lose your streak, Duolingo offers the chance to have some kind of record or badge next to your name showing your best streak. It's like buying some kind of certificate for the best streak you've got. A proof for your efforts. Maybe Duolingo could also sell you a virtual certificate showing you the total number of hours spent on Duolingo for each language or how many wrong vs correct sentences you've got with each language. Basically, Duolingo could sell us statistics on our data in some shape or form. I'd pay for that, and maybe this would also be of value to potential employers as an alternative to the Duolingo test center, because it would be a proof of dedication and self-reliance.


I think the streak thing should have to be a long one to bother reinstating. The streak freeze appears to work imperfectly, so even people who think they are protected aren't always. The most common reason to lose a long streak also appears to be time zone changes or going on holiday somewhere without internet. I mean, they could make it expensive enough that a streak extension either meant you were rich enough and silly enough that having a long streak either mostly meant something or it meant you just had a lot of money to waste.

Selling them to save a 5 day streak or something would be pretty pointless and make the streak pointless as well, but perhaps for streaks over 100 days when you have already shown you are serious would be a workable model that wouldn't damage its meaning.


Good point. I guess for someone to have already lasted a 100 days, the habit is already formed and it's all about not losing motivation just for having lost a record on Duolingo. However, this would have to be pretty expensive to make financial sense for Duolingo as it would be safe to assume that most of its users never reach that high a number.

In general, making a financial strategy based on people who 'win' (meaning people achieving some kind of success here either through a long streak or progressing further down their tree) rather than people who 'lose' (meaning people who gave up too easily) makes no financial sense, and this would be a minority of users that would hardly be able to generate the amount of money needed to keep the service running.

But how about this: Make the price of reinstating the streak proportional to its size. A streak under 10 days can be reinstated for $0.99, a streak under 20 days for $1.99, etc... This would preserve more of its significance I think while generating more funds for Duolingo.


I think it should be the other way round: 1.99 for 10, 0.99 for 20 and so on and so on. Otherwise, it defeats the whole object


Most users don't have a big streak, and it is safe to assume that those users are not as invested in Duolingo as users who do have a big streak. Therefore, a user with a small streak with be less willing to pay a relatively large amount of money for a service they haven't yet taken seriously. A user with a large streak however, would be more willing to pay as the value of Duolingo has already been proven for them. Not to mention that the larger amount of users with a smaller streak would make $0.99 more likely to be profitable.

In addition, a bigger streak is more valuable, so it makes sense that it would cost more, otherwise, its significance would decrease and we're back to square one.


If you put an ad up at the end of each lesson, I would dearly hope you'll also allow an opt-out for a small fee. I would not only be seriously disinclined to use this wonderful platform, I would pull my whole family and extended family out along with me. For me, ads are an invasive deal breaker, especially when the mind is in an extra-receptive learning mode.


I will keep using DuoLingo either way, ads or not, but I will say that the opportunity to pay a small fee to opt myself out of ads is something I'd take them up on.


For me it will depend on what ads they allow and how invasive they are. Some apps do this well, others have made their apps more frustrating then they are worth.


Specially ads that make you think you got a malware! Gee, I hate ads that deceive unsuspecting people.


It would be great if the ads are from different Government's Tourists institutions. For instance in my case I am learning German, I'd love to see ads about cool places to visit in Germany or Austria; in German and with subtitles! or something similar!


If you learn English from German, then the ads will be displayed in German. However, the ads are still about businesses local to where you live. Of course, you can still learn German in this way...


Ads are a deal breaker for me often too.. I have ad blockers on all my browsers, even my phone. I'd rather pay than deal with ads... I get exposed to enough of them already.


If Duolingo accepted donations or required a subscription I would participate. Quality simply has to be paid for. The perfect option for me would be a subscription model that offered Ads Vs pay with a middle option of a few ads for less money.

Selling streaks, selling lingots, etc, all that is too gimmicky for me. I don't mind if they try.


Well, I'm glad you finally decided to say something about the tests.

I noticed a few updates back that Duo was now an ad supported app on Android and yet could get no feedback (beyond being called a liar for mentioning it) on here.

You keep stating that your efforts to monetize is bringing out the pitchforks but I have found that it is the lack of communication that has been your main issue. People have been coming across these "features" and not knowing if they are being scammed and or if they have been hacked or just downloaded a copycat app.

After getting over the initial WTF reaction people and after they have had a chance to discuss it with other users and read the various viewpoints most people have come to be very supportive. As an android user I'm quite used to a certain amount of ads in apps. As long as you are careful what companies you allow to advertise (I like the idea of a Rosetta Stone ad) and don't get so invasive that we are spending more time watching commercials than learning it will likely be an acceptable solution..


Seeing as Duolingo is used by a lot of children and in schools, I would support any kind of monetization strategy that Duolingo adopts except Ads, non-obtrusive or otherwise. Duolingo is optimized to get people into forming productive habits, and with Ads, it would turn it into a brainwashing machine to get people to buy yet more things they don't need and hurt the environment even more, or hurt themselves even more if junk food was advertised. In my view, this would drain all the positive energy coming out of Duolingo right now.


Thinking of Duolingo having ads makes me feel kind of sad inside. I've been here since 2012, and I guess I just hoped the site would never have to go that route. :/


Good points, especially since some teachers make using Duolingo mandatory in their schools!

As for ads, what if Duolingo did have ads but ones specifically not targeting children?

For example, instead of selling ad space to companies selling junk food or even alcohol, selling ad space to companies selling insurance or kitchen appliances? That is, high-cost items rarely bought on impulse (instead of low-cost items often bought on impulse) and almost never bought by children?

After all, it's much harder to trick children into begging their parents for permission to buy house insurance or refrigerators than it is to trick children into begging their parents for permission to buy candy bars or into sneaking behind their parents' backs to buy beer.


To be honest with you, the ideals that Duolingo inspires just don't go well with any kinds of ads. Duolingo gives us hope into a better future, maybe one were people think more for themselves and don't need to be told what to buy everywhere they go. Selling virtual goods inside Duolingo which are not essential to learning is a better idea I think, as it gives money directly to Duolingo without a middle man, and by the virtue of it being virtual, doesn't exert any kind of pressure on the environment aside from the servers that Duolingo already needs to run anyway. That's just one of the ideas that the Duolingo team came up with which doesn't require a 3rd party. I would feel so much better spending money on Duolingo knowing that every cent of it is going towards Duolingo itself, instead of Duolingo getting just a some small percentage of it.


teacher make using Duolingo mandatory in a school? in what country? of course i support duolingo but putting duo in "must do" is imho not so good idea


I am a high school teacher here in the United States, and I have been using Duolingo in my curriculum for the past three years with excellent results. It is as a supplement to the "Realidades" program by Pearson. Students have one day a week when they can do Duolingo in the classroom (or other Spanish homework); but yes, their progress is monitored and assessed, so if they want a good grade, participation is mandatory.


It's good that you offer Duolingo in the classroom, so that the student can still get a good grade :) even if the student's family can't afford internet access fast enough for the student to use Duolingo at home.


Yes, it's a double blessing because my grading rubric is complicated and I use that class time to assess each student's weekly progress, and put the grade into our online grading platform. ;) Though motivated kids could do DL at lunch or after school, or at the library if they don't have internet at home. It's really satisfying to see that some of them get hooked like I did! And it's also satisfying when they say, "I already know this from Duolingo."


thank for the answer jairapetyan! :-) my comment was based purely on my personal experience, as a student I didn't like things that was mandatory and my thought ws because of this - kids may connect duo or another learning system with a stress, grades etc, I completely agree with Michel Thomas on this issue. I hope you get my point and I wish you all the best! also to your pupils! :-)


I got the impression from some of the threads in the Educators forum that some individual teachers were making it mandatory, not an entire country's department of education.


I'm teaching a class this fall where Duolingo is mandatory. The classes that I'm teaching are called "Spanish with Duo" and "German with Duo". "Must sign up for a free Duolingo account" is in the course description.

This is for a class I'm teaching to homeschooled high schoolers. I'm using Duolingo as an alternative to making their parents buy textbooks.


Good on you, I know those textbooks can be brutal. When I was in college I always felt so shilled handing over 80$ (If I was lucky) for a book. PDF's were wonderful. I had to barely buy any books.


I should mention that all of our monetization experiments will be disabled for people who use the Duolingo for Schools platform.


Good to know. Thanks for being awesome Luis :-)


Any chance of getting grants from school districts or from states for the use of the Duo in the schools? It seems better received than textbooks.


Homeschooled children or children using it on their own for whatever reason also ought to have an easy, inexpensive way to bypass ads.


Duolingo for Schools works for parents homeschooling their children as well as for other teachers, so homeschooled children are already covered. :)


I can't speak for every school, but the ones I've been to block ads anyways.


That's great! :D


If you are selling those shirts at cost you are getting ripped off in a bad way.


They are for publicity not revenue generation.

Some companies even give t-shirts away, so you will become walking billboards. Are they being ripped off? No, they have made a business decision.


I believe Me_Tarzan was expressing skepticism about the price of the shirts being "at cost," since many t-shirts of fine quality can be purchased in stores for around $10; and we know the stores are making a profit.


Yes! A group I volunteer with has probably thousands of t-shirts made every year for different fundraisers and such, maybe several hundred at a time. They are nice quality and printed on both sides and when they sell them to us as uniforms, to cover the cost rounded up, it's $5 a piece. They sell them for a little more for fundraising purposes but it's nowhere near $18 bucks a pop that duo wants. If we charge a $20 or $30 registration fee for some event they get a free shirt and some food and we still end up making the charity bucks.

Even with hiring someone to pack and ship them $18 is too much.


Maybe, though, they are using responsibly raised cotton shirts or something like that and are paying the packers more than minimum wage. That would make the price go up if they're trying to be fair to the producer.


Ah yes, I read his sentence a different way. Now I can see he meant that the cost to Duolingo was not good value. Thanks for the correction.


Full support from me. I've run my own business, and have no illusions that things can function without bills being paid. And anyone who thinks idealism trumps functionality is naive.

That said, I'd like to see full immersion available to all languages as a paid option. But really, whatever works best.


That would defeat their goal.


I'm one of the staunch and repeat advocates of donations. I don't understand what possible objections there could be to this? Like, at the very worst, they could try it out and maybe weirdos like me who would want to chip in a few hundred dollars a year, would be few and far between, and there wouldn't be much money earned. Would anyone actively be offended by them having a donate button?


Duolingo is not a charity. It is not an NGO. It is a for-profit company.

I think all this talk about donations is because a lot of people are uncomfortable accepting that. Until now Duolingo has seemed to many like some magical thing that somehow existed without the need for grubby things like revenue.

Not only will the daily costs have to be covered but eventually the investors will expect a return on their US$83 million investment (and then some). Will anyone want to donate then? Many will probably be angry about donations already made.


I don't understand why people would object to donating to a company just because it is for-profit. I'd think of it as paying for a product or service where my payment is voluntary and where I get the product or service regardless of whether or not I pay. I feel gratitude towards companies that do this, not anger.

What would make me feel upset and betrayed is if the company ignored the possibility of accepting donations, even with a huge userbase that probably would want to donate, and then they never develop a sustainable revenue stream, and then the company ends up going out of business and the product / service is lost forever.

That would be a tragedy and I'd be very upset about that.

Another thing that makes me angry is people like you coming into this forum and telling me that soliciting donations would be a bad idea because of what people like me, potential donors, would or wouldn't feel. I am a potential donor, a big potential donor. And you're telling me that I would be angry. But I wouldn't be. Your statement, as it applies to me, is wrong.

If you, personally, would feel angry if you had donated money and then DuoLingo started paying out dividends to investors and/or repaying loans, then say that. Take responsibility for your own opinions. Don't claim to speak for other people whose opinions you don't know.

I've run two businesses and I also have had people offer donations to both of my businesses, because they appreciate the service so much. I've had people donate time, products, and I've had people overpay (sometimes hugely) on invoices. It's a natural part of the way business works. And none of these people have ever felt angry after the fact because I was later making a hefty profit and taking a hefty profit in the business. They gave me money (or other things of value) because they appreciated what I had done for them and they wanted to pay me back. The past angry customers that I've dealt with have often been the ones who were hyper-concerned with their own costs and trying to pay me as little as possible to get what they wanted. All my life experience points to those things.

When donors are angry, it's usually because they don't like something about how the company or the product or service is being run or managed. Examples would include: (1) soliciting donations and then later shutting down a service or changing a free service to a paid service (2) paying their CEO or other top people an uncommonly high salary while accepting / soliciting donations (3) mismanaging funds. And honestly, I think the DuoLingo userbase would probably be angry about these things regardless of whether or not they had ever donated any money.

I think in general, donors actually like when organizations are able to manage money effectively and even bring in a profit and pay back investors. At least my experience suggests that--both in terms of how I personally feel and other people I've talked to about the matter.

Your objections sound hypothetical and clash with everything about my life experience.


Your point is legitimate, and I think it was mentioned that several methods/ideas are going to be tested. I hope they employ more than one method when all is said and done. This could be one effective sourcing of income.


Maybe some of the people suggesting donations want Duolingo to become a charity?


There'd still be that matter of all that venture capital that has already been invested...


Excellent point. I know people don't like to hear it, but the saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" is Economics 101. Someone always has to pay.


They could maybe change the wording and instead of calling it donations, call it a pay what you want if you want button. Several restaurants and other for profit businesses allow customers to pay what they want down to and including zero in some cases and get by, and they rely only on that income. Most duolingoers wouldn't pay but it would still be an income, they would of course have other sources as well.

Even if it is just a small percentage of what they need it would be helpful, a lot of small sources is better than one or two big sources.


I like this idea, I think pay as you want is a great option in the cases where it results in a significant or sustainable revenue stream.

I think more people would pay for this sort of thing than other services like online radio, because language learning is something that is often costly (programs like Rosetta stone are expensive, and college courses or other special language courses are much more expensive). Also, language learning often can have a tangible payoff.

For example, it can open up new jobs, and if you already have a job and work for a business, it can open up new business opportunities. I notice this with my tea website, RateTea. Being able to read German has helped me to add material on the website related to prominent German tea companies, and even though my website is all in English, now I get a substantial amount of views from Germany, and these have a cash value.

I am also toying with the idea of translating articles into other languages...this will likely have a cash value too.

Basically, because languages have a payoff and people are already paying (often quite steeply) for foreign language instruction, I think there is going to be a much larger amount donated than is typical for freely available online services.

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Hi Luis, thanks for the posting; a couple of lingots from me;) Yet lingots will not pay Duo's bills; on the other hand, (which may be something people seem to forget) you put your money on the table to start Duoling, I trust millions of people who are grateful to have been and to are offered the chance to learn languages for free, are ready to do the same! So why not start an annual donation drive, like Wikipedia does; it would certainly solve the cash flow problem and make sure you can use your energies for the future development of Duolingo:))


Your post got me curious about how much the Wikimedia Foundation receives through donations and contributions, since Luis mentioned that Duolingo currently requires 42,000 USD per day ≅ 15,340,000 USD per year. It turns out that the Wikimedia Foundation received 72,236,884 USD in donations and contributions for the year ending on 2015-06-30; its expenses for the same period were 52,596,782 USD, so it seems to be working well for them.


I have a recurring monthly donation set up for Wikimedia. Very happy to support them; I believe what they (we) have achieved has historical significance.

Of course, Wikimedia is a non-profit, Duolingo isn't. But one avenue I believe Duolingo could look at going down is splitting off the course material (the tree structures and the sentence translations) to be further developed and administered by a non-profit duolingo foundation, while keeping the app with the original company. I'd be happy to donate to such a non-profit duolingo foundation.


I don't ever itemize deductions so there's no personal gain for me to be able to deduct. Effectively, I cannot "deduct" charitable donations. This is a privilege that only benefits certain people...for the most part, people who are in the early stages of paying on a mortgages. I did taxes one year at H&R block, in my roughly 100 clients that year there was not a single person who benefited from itemizing deductions who was not paying a large amount of mortgage interest.

So basically, I think it wouldn't affect donations much, whether or not it was a non-profit.


I'm not really worried about claiming tax deductions. It's just that I'm not going to donate to a venture capital backed, for-profit company.


All of this really depends completely on the taxation that applies to you, though. Duolingo is a very international place, and international taxation is basically a jungle.


I don't recommend implementing Wikipedia's approach to the donation drive, they're a bit pushier than I'd like DuoLingo to be (i.e. big pop-overs on the homepage or whatever page you view).

I'd rather just a donate button viewable from each page, like in the header or something. I'd also love to see a page where it shows stats or figures on donations too, I think that would make it more fun.


I especially avoid wikipedia during their donation drives. Those banners are annoying.


If you just give them a couple of bucks they stop appearing. And if a person values the product they should. Wikipedia is wonderful. However, the fact that you weren't aware that the banners disappear after donating makes me agree that it is not a good fundraising strategy.


Let's not forget that Wikipedia is a non-profit. Duolingo is not.

Whatever revenue generation measures Duolingo chooses will not only have to cover daily costs but in the long term provide a return on the investments made so far. One way or another that US$83 million will be returned and then some. Will everyone be happy to donate when that eventually happens? I doubt it. There may even be a lot of anger about the money already donated.


Why would people be angry? I feel super grateful for the service that DuoLingo provides me. As far as I'm concerned, it's provided me something worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, as it's been more effective for me to learn than classes I took.

I like supporting businesses that are providing products and services that I use. If they stop doing stuff that I like, then I can stop giving them money, no big deal. I feel like I've already gotten so much value out of DuoLingo that the idea of me being angry at them because they are financially solvent, seems ridiculous to me.

There's no reason businesses can't operate on a "pay voluntarily after you receive the product/service" model. And I would never react negatively to a business operating that way--quite to the contrary I think I would strongly prefer a world in which more businesses operated that way.

I think I would get angry if I saw that DuoLingo was taking donations and then paying their CEO an astronomical salary that was like, out of the range of corporations of similar size. But that has nothing to do with charity status. I don't give any money to my undergraduate college or the two universities I have master's degrees from, because I think they all pay their presidents way too much. Them being a charity doesn't make me feel any better about this stuff.


What about looking at Immersion again? I know it didn't work well before, but I think you should stop letting people upload their own articles and only have one's that will give you money. There were too many articles and that's why the one's you needed to get translated never were! I hope you listen to my advice or at least test it.


Also, what about seeking funding from governments around the world? I mean, you are giving free education to their people, so they might as well give you a donation.


I think this is a great idea in theory, as there are likely, many, many entities out there who would have a strong interest in the promotion of the study of their home languages. In practice, getting the money- well, I've never known that we all live in an ideal world...


There are a lot of organizations out there in the world doing good educational/health/social services work of various kinds.

Governments don't generally throw money at those organizations, just because.

Duolingo might be able to get some funding by working on various projects for different governments. (That of course, would involve application and/or negotiation to arrange.)

Some/many governments also subsidize charities either indirectly (i.e. tax credits to people who donate) or directly (i.e. donations matching individual contributions). Of course, to be eligible, Duolingo would have to reincorporate as a charity in every individual country where it wants to benefit from such subsidization or (as suggested elsewhere on this page) spin off a charitable arm.


I think this is an an excellent idea. If I recall correctly, I remember that Luis met President Obama last year. I mean, it's not an unfeasible idea. Duolingo does something extraordinary, which the US government at least recognizes, and may be able to support.


This is a link to an article with some information about why trying to get money from translation did not work. You will notice that articles not being translated is not one of the reasons cited: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2016/04/duolingo_made_language_learning_fun_can_it_do_the_same_for_language_testing.html.


I didn't realize he was the same von Ahn as REcapcha. I'm disappointed that the crowdsourced translation thing didn't work out: I was looking forward to reaching whatever "per cent fluency" it was that allowed me to graduate from Wikipedia articles to the commercial translations. Thank for the link.


There are still a few "subsidized" articles posted, although, as I understand it, articles for translation into English have always been rare. My understanding is that you do not have to be any particular tier level (let alone fluency level) to work on them.


It failed only partially because of not getting needed documents translated. The thing is that the prices of translations are mere cents nowadays.


I think that would only help if they made the requirements to translate the sponsored articles stricter and had more oversight on it. Right now there is a bunch of childish drama going on in some of the immersion that affect the quality if what is being translated. Which is fine on a non-sponsored article but if they want to sell it there really needs to be quality control.


Absolutely agreed. Recently I have worked with the finest and kindest translators, and I have learned from their corrections and helped them learn from mine. However, I have also seen plenty of childish drama, as well as translators who have arrived at, say, tier 219 copying and pasting from DuoBot. There should be some sort of quality control check for translators wanting to work on the sponsored articles.


Exactly why I think it should be an added paid service. All the kids with their cut and paste "translations" drive me buggy.


I think they should as well. They could hire a salesman and a few other folks and make some money with translation services.


Luis has said that translation services are a race to the bottom - there is always someone willing to do it cheaper.


I believe those doing it cheaper still make money and I believe Luis can do it cheaper than any of them since he uses mostly free labor. Translations from the immersion program are said to be surprisingly accurate. They could hire some people and expand into other more profitable areas than online news articles.

They seem to avoid things that don't make tons of money all at once, that's just the way young people think in todays world. Like the merchandising idea they won't pursue because it won't make them millions. A few interns and a really big closet and they could make tens of thousands with it if they found a cheaper than $18 a t-shirt source. They need a lot of little ideas to make it last, not a few big ones. I imagine they could cut a lot of costs as well.


I love immersion, but the idea that Duolingo could sell translations was doomed from the start. The only people making money translating are those in specialized niches, such as engineering. There are a lot of people who are fluent in two or more languages in the 3rd world that drive down translation costs, and they produce translations that are better and quicker than a group of language beginners.

Likewise for T-shirts, Duolingo need a net of 42k a day in order to break even on operational costs. Most individual big box clothing retail stores don't net 42k a day. Some are lucky to gross 42k on weekdays. And operational costs only grow. Duolingo would have to be equal to a big clothing retailer in order to break even, which is just not feasible.


If you haven't already looked at some of the articles in Immersion, I suggest doing so, if you have access. Speaking as someone who has been doing Immersion for a while, "surprisingly accurate" is not the phrase I would use to describe the translation of most articles.

The degree of accuracy can certainly improve, if a dedicated individual or group who sort of knows what they're doing makes a project of the article and goes through the entire thing, making corrections - but this happens with only a small minority of articles and, in my experience, takes much more time (say, weeks or months) than the average client would be willing to allow for translation.


Generally internet start-up type business people want to make a lot of money doing a few things. Not making small amounts of money on lots of little things. Most companies that try approach lose focus and die.


There are traditional ways companies make side money and merchandise can be a big one. duolingo has taken the big money maker off the table, that is their main product will always remain free. I think they could make a lot with ads but whatever they find to make money with, if it is just one or two things it will have to be as big a hit as their language courses to fund it. I'm not saying they need to find a hundred different sources, they just don't need all their eggs in one basket. Finding one hit as big as duo is a once is a life time event for most. Also if they do several small things which I'm sure they will because they already are, it won't be as annoying as one big one.

They just don't need to dismiss things that they think won't make a dent, in my position I've found that those things when combined make the biggest dent.


Interesting. I hadn't heard that. Even so, couldn't the same be said of many other services ... especially as we become more and more globalized? I suppose "cheaper" doesn't always mean "better" and eventually you reach a point of diminishing returns. It's so hard to find a niche market anymore these days. As soon as one is found, you've got who knows how many other people attempting to cash in on the same thing and seemingly overnight.

While some are racing to the bottom, others are racing to the next latest, greatest thing. In an unprotected global world with few regulations on matters of intellectual property, spoils go to those who can capture the market the quickest, find ways to maintain loyalty/keep people coming back for more, and squash all the other competitors out there who think they can do it so much better.

All in all, I think duolingo has done one heckuva job in a very competitive world and I wish it well as it develops new ideas on remaining a viable resource for years to come.


Never ads... please.. especially after a lesson, that's awful to even think about.


Hey, I'd rather have ads with my lessons than no lessons at all.


I would rather pay for duolingo than for them to get money through subjecting me to nasty poor-taste ads which seem to be the norm for anything from the ap store.

I do understand your sentiments though, I don't disagree with you there. But I also want to voice my personal opinion on where I stand on the situation. :)


For me that is true too. I'll pay in preference to seeing ads. But. I live in a high value currency country. How do you price a service that might be a few coffees to westerners and a weeks wages in a poor country?


It means they would simply "opt-in" for the ads in order to continue the privilege of receiving quality, fun, language learning for free.


Sure. I think being able to choose ads-or- choose to pay is a reasonable solution. My point is that the "pain threshold" at which choosing the ads becomes the best option will be different for different economies, and DL being a global business will have to think about that.


Makes it sound like our lessons would be hostages...yikes!


Thank you Luis so much for this public announcement, and for all you who have contributed and risked. And thank you also to the generous donations our community has contributed, to make this the amazing resource it is for language learning for now, for the benefit of the future, for all of our world.

To just do an executive summary ( the important bits ) of this announcement, I will do a summary of this here (if that is ok). I am wondering if some people would like to translate this summary into other languages, to assist those in our communities with other native languages, to understand this announcement ?

Executive summary ( the important bits) from the announcement above by Luis :
" Our mission is to provide free language education to the world. ...
.. we do need to find a way to make Duolingo viable so that it can operate forever. ...
So our challenge is to find a way to" ... [ raise funds to cover running costs and keep Duolingo viable so that it can operate forever ] "while still letting anybody who wants to learn to do so entirely for free. ...
The best thing you or anybody can do to help is to let us experiment different ways to pay the bills without getting up in arms. ...
Over the next few months you will see a number of such experiments ...
The main thing I promise you is that these experiments will be carefully thought out and scientifically measured to ensure that Duolingo remains equally engaging, and that somebody who doesn't have a bank account can go through the entire learning content without ever paying us a single cent. ...
.. all of our monetization experiments will be disabled for people who use the Duolingo for Schools platform. "


Hola Luis, como debes saber muy bien, en Duolingo casi no se aprende gramática, Por qué no vender e-books que la enseñen o e-books con pequeñas historias que contengan palabras con el vocabulario que la persona ha adquirido, por ejemplo, yo sé 1700 palabras en Alemán de Duolingo y podría entonces comprar un libro basado en ese vocabulario y así tener una muestra tangible de mi avance en el idioma, te deseo muchos éxitos e infinitas gracias por Duolingo, realmente amo este sitio y espero que encuentres la mejor solución para esta situación.

Hello Luis, as you must know well, on Duolingo we barely learn any grammar, why not sell e-books which teaches it or e-books with short stories which contain words with the vocabulary that the person has learned, for example, I know 1700 German words from Duolingo and then I could buy an e-book written based on that vocabulary and then have a tangible sense of my progress in the language, I wish you success and infinite thanks for Duolingo, I really love this site and hope that you'll find the best solution for this situation.


I like the idea of supplementary workbooks or readings. I look for such items myself. For example, I found a workbook for children who are learning Welsh that has helped my very elementary Welsh vocabulary. The physical acts of writing words on paper and coloring in pictures help fix the words in my memory.


How about selling lingots and having a lot more things in the store, such as mascot outfits, backgrounds, flag backgrounds, non-essential language minigames?


You all are brilliant. Duolingo works, and keeping it free above all else is what makes it the best platform around. Do what you have to do to keep the site alive.


Thanks for this Luis! I think a lot of people are very happy to let you experiment but were put off by the lack of communication - so this threat is highly appreciated! Also, it is not missed on us that you are posting this on the weekend ;-). Work never ends...

Personally, while no-one likes ads, and I'd much hope that a donation button would generate enough revenue, I'd be happy with adds, as long as they are not the flickering sound generating or pop-up kind. An ad that sits in the side of the page or appears after a lesson is fine, as they are somewhat distracting and annoying (as they are meant to be), but not enough for me to want to quit the page right away. But the flickering kind of ads give me a massive headache and would seriously impact my ability to focus on language learning. I think I close any page with flickering ads within split seconds or activate an ad-blocker for those because I find them so distracting. I cannot even phantom what it would be like for younger people, who are even worse at focussing on the relevant content.

Having said that. Go science! Test the $%^#$ out of it, and see what works :-)


I agree with most of what you said, but I have to add that flickering and animations aren't even the worst things about ads. The worst thing about ads is their ability to influence our life decisions without being able to easily avoid it. They infiltrate our society so badly, that even people who don't watch ads start getting influenced by them indirectly from the people who do, and lies start being viewed as facts. This is especially dangerous when a Duolingo user is in a learning mode trying to learn a language, and then indirectly learns about a product. This makes ads integrated into lessons much more dangerous than flickering ads (but I'm obviously opposed to both kinds of ads).

I just don't want Duolingo to turn into a brainwashing machine for dubious industries. Just look at what the fast food industry did to our society and how much work it is going to take to undo all this harm.


You are so right, and yet it's a reality that isn't going anywhere. It's already been said that children wouldn't see the ads, thank you. It is my understanding Duolingo is growing at such a fast rate that they must fund it with a source of income to match that growth. Ads don't have to be gross and obnoxious, some are actually pleasant and effective from my perspective. It's a brilliant company who pays close attention to it's users (even if we don't always see it). I have faith in Duolingo's ability to keep the advertising in line with their mission.


It is true that ads aren't going anywhere any time soon, but all I'm saying is that I wish Duolingo would continue on the same line of positive monetization strategies, such as the one they started with (immersion/translation, even if it failed), instead of adopting one that contributes negatively to society such as ads.

I am not debating the beauty or ugliness of ads here. All I am saying is that Duolingo keeps getting more and more optimized to get us into forming good learning habits. Using those same algorithms to get us into buying a product is 1984 territory. It's creepy and it creates imaginary needs for people to consume, which is my main concern.

Duolingo is free, and most people who use it (especially those learning English) probably aren't in the best possible financial situation as they are trying to learn English to improve their lives, and showing them ads for things they don't really need is either going to make them feel bad for not being able to afford them, make them spend money to buy something they don't really need or influence them enough to influence other people to buy yet more useless things.

I think adding paid virtual goods which are not essential to learning (e.g. reinstating a streak at a price proportional to its size, Duo outfits, pay for lingots, or even possibly domain specific language lessons such as ones related to medicine at a very low price, which, even though on the surface appear against Duo's mission to offer free language education, is effectively free because it would only be useful to domain experts (doctors, engineers, etc...), which I am sure can afford $1.99 or something, making it effectively free for them.) This would not only enrich the Duo experience, but also give money directly to Duolingo instead of having a 3rd party in the middle taking most of the money.


Advertising is simply not in line with their mission, and is incompatible with the user's need for an open, "learner's mind."


Some ads are enjoyable and worth watching.

Have you been to sites that allow you a choice of ads to see? They're the best because if I'm going to be forced to watch an ad before I can view the content, could it at least be about a product or service I'm somewhat interested in? I can think of several ads for women that many men would never want to see and vice versa.

Plus, some ads just aren't going to have universal appeal. If you're living in a home where it's a struggle to pay the phone bill, the rent, and the internet service, how interested are you going to be in an ad for a sports car or a luxury home? Who knows ... maybe those who are struggling the most need to dream the biggest.

Whether the ads are on a sophisticated algorithm that enables a high degree of tailoring or not, it will be interesting to see how it all rolls out.


Luis knows my name! I feel so honored.


I like ads with the option to pay for an ad-free service. It's fair because if you can't pay for service, you let someone else pays for you. Right now no one pays.

However, if there is a way to detect the internet speed and screen size, then you can avoid placing ads on people with low internet speed and small screen. That way the ads won't interfere with users' learning experience. I'm talking about ads on every page though. I doubt ads at the end of a lesson alone would be enough to pay the bill.


I am certain there are many (among both Duolingo users and its personnel) who loathe ads and hope Duolingo will remain as it is, but if there were a feasible means to monetize hope then we would all be rich. Duolingo is a for profit entity, not a charity; the bills must be paid and profit must become a reality at some point if it is to survive over the long term. I am no fan of ads, but dealing with them is a small price to pay for the continued fiscal viability of this platform. It is easy to rail against advertisements, but those who do so without contributing any useful ideas that have a realistic chance of sustaining the balance sheet are simply not grasping the realities of business and of life in general.


Ah, even charities have to pay the bills and make ends meet. The costs of running any organization that rents or owns its own work space and has even a few employees are non-trivial, even before the need for a business to make a profit is factored in.


I don't know if the Test Center works (economically talking) but I want the German and French test centers available!


What about a Pen Pal subscription service... you pay and you have access to pen pals and some sort of correction software to review the letters and make sure your are writing proper, in my case, German.


You can also buy some stuff from http://gear.duolingo.com if you want, I like their shirts :)


This does not help us. We sell at cost. And as I said in the post above, even if we made a profit, the amount of money that we could make from this would not make a dent.


This does not help us. We sell at cost.


I mean, I can appreciate the fact that you're using the store as an opportunity for acquiring walking billboards (rather than as a direct money grab), but people expect merchants to have a profit margin. Further, I'd be shocked if anybody buying a t-shirt @ $18 wouldn't do it for $20-25 too (see wikipedia's shop). Go ahead and take some off the top for yourself. Even acknowledging that it would only cover a bit of your costs, it's still way less offensive/intrusive than ads on the site.

On the topic of selling virtual goods (now that I've got your ear), I encourage you to take a lesson from some successful free-to-play games (MOBAs, specifically). Many of them have adopted a store pattern where there's two types of "currency", one that you can purchase with real money, and another than has to be earned in-game. Items in their shops then have a price in both currencies. The problem with selling lingots directly (rather than establishing a second "paid for" currency) is that it cheapens the effort put forth to acquire the "earned currency" (lingots, in this case). If somebody can plop down $100 and instantly get in lingots what I've spent 4 years "earning".... well, that makes the work feel pretty useless indeed.

On ads, I'd rather see them on the home page than post-lesson. During lessons, I want to focus on learning my new language. Having to sit through an ad between lessons would break the flow something fierce.


Oh, ok. But anyways, I'm honored you replied to my comment



Awww, that's a shame. I bought a T-shirt in the hope of helping you guys. I support you having ads to help pay the bills. It's such a wonderful service.


Understood, Luis, but still I was kind of hoping we might see that Duolingo Pillow in the store one day.

For those who haven't heard of the Duolingo Pillow, it is more than just a ...


Ooh, thanks for that link. I didn't even know about it. So many sentences I'd love to have on a tshirt.


That Gear link is at the bottom of every discussion page.


Did you even read the post?


I only hope Duolingo won't ever get sold.


And if it does, let's pray that it doesn't get sold to Rosetta Stone.


The worst thing that could possibly happen to a language site. Rosetta Stone bought LiveMocha for the sole purpose of destroying their competition. I'm sure they would be all too glad to give Duolingo the same fate.


Never heard of Livemocha. Guess Rosetta's strategy worked!


Livemocha shut down April 22, 2016, a little over 3 years after Rosetta Stone acquired it on April 2, 2013.


It did. LiveMocha used to be the BEST place to learn a language on the internet. You would get lessons (with pictures and sentences), then you were given a paragraph to read, then a writing lesson which would be corrected by native speakers. It covered all the basic skills you need to learn a language and made it easy to connect with natives. It had premium options, but it was good even with just the free stuff.

I miss it a lot and I wish someone else would make a site like it. The closest thing to it now (that I can think of) is the In A Month series by Learn Like Kids. Those are approximately $4 per language, though. Not free, but totally worth it.


Having read through many suggestions -- ads, donations, supplementary materials, advanced lessons, paid discussion boards -- and thinking them over, I think the intent of DuoLingo is to provide FREE instruction for everyone, worldwide, and it seems like that intent would be compromised if parts of DuoLingo are behind a paywall. There will always be people who could benefit from DuoLingo's instruction who can't afford even a modest fee.

As much as I dislike ads, I can see why ads with the option of a very small fee for an ad-free site (and by very small I mean pocket change per year, like $10 U.S.) would be the most egalitarian solution for individual users. So long as the ads don't disrupt the lessons themselves (displayed on the home page only, for example), and are appropriate for the site (appropriate example: Amazon ad for language learning materials; inappropriate example: those horrible clickbait ads with gross images you see on so many popular sites) and the cost of a "pro" account is small, I could live with that.

I could also see having a store for printed and/or e-book supplementary material at low cost but with some profit for the site. I'm one of those people who has to write things down by hand to remember them, and printed workbooks are really useful for me. I'm already tracking down and buying some supplementary materials anyway, like write-in workbooks and the Pimsleur series tapes for more speaking practice.

The t-shirts currently offered could also be sold for a couple bucks more and many people would buy them. Tote bags, coffee mugs, blank books ("For taking notes while learning!"), and other products could be popular as well. For a slightly higher price, have a custom-order section to have your favorite DuoLogo sentence printed on an item.

For an example of advertising done right, look at the worldwide knitting/crochet website, Ravelry.com. It's the only site I go to where people actually WANT to see the ads, which are low-cost for advertisers and only feature products directly related to fiber crafts (there are several other ways they raise revenue, including an online store, low-cost photo hosting to post pictures on the discussion boards, and donations). Also, look at the ways in which the National Novel Writing Month site funds itself (though The Office of Letters and Light is a nonprofit rather than for-profit organization).


Another thought: If there is advanced or bonus content to "buy," such things might be purchased with lingots (for those who are either without funds or who are patient) or with real money (for the impatient with the funds to do so). Right now there isn't a lot to "spend" lingots on, so more extras that can be either earned OR purchased makes some sense.


I'd love to be able to financially support people that are working on new languages, as a way of getting new languages built faster. That doesn't solve the problem that your post describes, but it would help niche-y languages to be made available faster.


I guess if they can't keep up with funding, they aren't gonna wanna speed up the process of developing new courses. But yeah, I'd love to have that option as well. Maybe after they figure out basic funding.


I agree, but unfortunately for many people here, politics trumps progress. :/


Thanks for taking time to address our concerns. I am all for Duolingo making money and I know that DL has wonderful people and you guys are going to come out with an innovative solution. However to push the testing service to people who have competed the English tree is perhaps not the right way, after finishing a tree the level is mostly A2 (if the person has really study) and this level for most people is way too basic to require a test.

Personally I would pay for a more advance German tree (tree 2.0) or for added services such as exchange lessons with natives etc.


I know how you feel. I can go to other websites after I finish my tree and continue learning elsewhere by paying for their services. I am so grateful to Duolingo. How much nicer it would be if I could give my money to them instead of some other business! :-)


Great ideas Luis (and other employees). I would like to see a donations button (as it is simple to add and requires minimum maintenance). I would like to know if the adds, if they are added to Duo, if they would be monitored, and if it would be possible to "choose" what adds one wants to see (as I understand that some people could find certain adds offensive or off-topic). Also, adds that one has to close or watch (if they are video clips) before continuing learning I, personally find VERY annoying/frustrating.

Is it possible to offer other websites, for a fee, to have their website translated into other languages, using immersion?

Thank you for your time and this AMAZING website.



I just hope you don't make us translate sentences like 'McDonalds is good for you.', 'Pepsi is the best soft drink,' or 'When they turned on Netflix they saw many new shows they could watch.'

Though one add like that per course should be effective enough advertisement for a company that Duolingo shouldn't ever have financial problems again. Haha


How do you say, Netflix and chill? :)


Glad to know that Duolingo won't be charging for content anytime soon, way to stick with the slogan. ;)

I get it, bills need to be payed. I for one wouldn't mind an ad here or there if it means Duolingo remains operating.


I really like the idea of having ads in the language to be learned. It might add to my experience, actually, rather than detracting from it; one of my Spanish teachers had us listen to news articles and ads in Spanish to practice for homework, and I feel like it helped me understand the language a lot better.

Also, it might give a nice real life tie-in with the cultures the languages come from - I've been wishing Duolingo could do some cultural stuff anyway. Maybe have one or two of the questions in sessions be about the ad, to fully integrate it?

As long as there is still a way to access the bonus material without paying real-life money, I wouldn't object to selling extra Lingots, either! Or introducing a new, real-money currency for non-language things, like new outfits for Duo or changing the color/font/look of the app.


"....virtual items such as outfits for the Duo mascot..."

Give me a 'know where your towel is' outfit for Duo and I would literally have a seizure...

Oh how about a public suggestion box for mascot ideas :) ?


I wouldn't mind an ad next to the tree or next to the forum, next to threads, as long as they aren't viruses, something like cars or travel, or other websites.


If your unobtrusive ads were geared toward language learning (businesses), it would feel as beautiful and natural as dancing alone by yourself, when suddenly an interesting talented dancer steps up and begins dancing alongside you -- actually fun and interesting, IMHO. I know you will find appropriate way(s) to achieve your goal(s) while we users support you by being patient as you search for the answer(s). My best wishes to you and your team!


I would suggest adding paid specialist / detailed chapters. NOT making any current chapters paid but adding chapters. For example:

  • An animals expansion chapter with a loooot more animals than in the free animals chapter.

  • An in-depth economics chapter.

  • In-depth organs body parts chapter.

  • Verb expansion chapters (up to the 1000 most common verbs for example)

  • Etc.

Simply charge 5€ or max 10€ to unlock ALL of these for one language or something like 1€ / chapter. Or allow for them to be paid with Lingots (and sell lingots for real money), with those who reached lvl 25 in a language having earned about enough lingots to unlock several / up to max half of the expansion chapters. They would be very usefull to for those wanting to learn words specifically for their field of expertise or just to increase their skill level.

Also add paid preperation courses for official language tests for a low cost, for example CEFR (A1,A2,B1,B2,C1,C2). I know I'd pay for this! This would be extremely usefull & make Duolingo more valuable for those who don't just want to learn languages for fun.

This would benefit everybody: those who want to learn more advanced things are able to at a very affordable cost. It would make Duolingo more attractive to professional users too. And obviously Duolingo would get some decent income from it, perhaps not enough to cover al costs but enough to at least partially cover them while also increasing the quality of the platform at the same time.


As someone who definitely has to travel now and again, I do like the idea of a 'paid' streak repair. (ie, "I know I'm going to be gone and out of reliable wifi/internet range for 7 days, so... here's $70 to cover it".) Since, like "Whose Line Is It Anyway", the points are made up and the scores don't matter anyway (save for how it helps you develop your mind), it's an interesting way to allow the folks who care that much about them pay for features that matter to a smaller group.

But that might not be, itself, a bad idea - monetize things that some users would find useful, but not the main. As was mentioned by another responder, it's the idea of "Memrise Pro", where the main site and general features are free, but you can pay for extras.


I totally agree about paying for a streak freeze. I have been using Duolingo every day for the past two years, except when I am traveling. I lost my streak once while traveling in Italy and again, 8 months later, while traveling in Turkey. I will be traveling again in September, and I am dreading losing my streak again. I would happily pay to keep the streak intact. I imagine that the people who are willing to pay to keep a streak intact are pretty committed learners.

Also, I would happily pay to have more detailed statistics. I try to practice at least a little on four languages each day. The lessons, though, tend to happen at random times. Sometimes I do a lesson or two when I first wake up in the morning, sometimes when I have a bit of downtime during the day, and sometimes in the evenings. I often lose track of which languages I have done each day. (Gosh, have I done a Turkish lesson today, or was that yesterday?) I would love a premium/paid feature that would show me, for example, that I have done two French lessons and three Italian lessons today, but that I have neglected Turkish. As it is now, everything is lumped together. I only know how many total XP I have for the day.

I am sure that the Duolingo team could cook up some other interesting statistics about my learning profile. Do I do better in the morning or the evening? What sorts of things are giving me problems? Typos? Conjugations? Wrong words? Accent marks? I would be willing to pay for that kind of information.

Also, perhaps Duolingo could come up with some sort of "Duolingo Seal of Approval" or "Official Duolingo Sponsor" for grammar books and outside language learning resources? The publisher of the content would have to pay a fee and meet certain standards to carry the Duolingo label.

Overall, I support whatever Duolingo needs to do to keep the company financially viable. Ads, sponsorships, a donation button ... it's all okay with me.


I liked the idea of sponsored bonus skills you mentioned a couple of years ago. Is that still a possibility or has it been abandoned?


hmm, I dunno about this idea. I like the idea of people being able to purchase lingots. Then they could use the lingots to purchase the bonus skills. But they should offer more things to use the lingots for bc otherwise that's not gonna do much for funding.


I would love to pay for access to a "members lounge" where learners of a language can voice chat with one another. The lounge would be staffed by at least one native language speaker either all the time or during designated "office hours."

I'd also be willing to pay for next-level lessons. Say you gild your tree and reach level 20 in a language, you can then pay some amount of money for a course that has been developed by professional staff (basically a French 201 college course, or something like that).

It'd be great to have access to a collection of media in the target language. I can certainly find those websites and apps on my own (and I have), but collecting them all in one place would be great. And if any of them have a fee associated (say, a theoretical premium version of Radio France), paying Duolingo members would have access to that premium media included in our membership.

It would also be great, of course, if there were a lingot-to-dollar conversion rate. I have 1219 lingots after 296 days on the site, so if the rate were 1 lingot to 1 U.S. cent (that is to say, 100 lingots to $1 USD), I'd have $12.19 to spend on a membership that might cost $15/year. In other words, if I used the site with the same frequency I use it now (which is pretty intense, I think), I'd be able to pay off an annual membership with my work.


I'd like to thank you for your commitment to keep lessons free. I've always disliked the easy answer, the drug dealer approach to learning, "The first one's free, kid. Then you're expected to pay."

I don't have an answer for you though, so good luck.


There would be something dirty -looking and -feeling about external ads. I recommend internal offers or services as a way of keeping the right 'feel' about the place.


I think if you guys do ads, it would be cool to make them for language-learning related products if you could. I honestly wouldn't mind some non-intrusive ads if it helped give you guys more money to improve the website.


Thanks for keeping us filled in on this kind of thing! I hope your experiments go well, and give you a clear picture of how to get steady revenue.


Donations work better than you think, Luis :)


If it were ad based, I would probably not use it as much. I really hate ads on sites. Possibly purchasing extra lingots with real money might be something to think about.


One thing I would be willing to pay for: some permanent recognition of a streak. Right now I've got a streak of unbroken days lasting almost two years, and it would suck to have that erased should I ever decide to let it lapse - say if I were to do more advanced language training elsewhere. If I could trade some lingots to have my highest streak permanently recorded on my profile, I totally would.


I don't know if you saw what I wrote in that other thread you posted in, but I'll copy it across to here just in case:

A useful 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/learn minority languages.


Duolingo needs to make $42,000 a day to break even. How much are you (hypothetically) willing to pay to make your Latin course (which would itself increase Duolingo's overhead)?


I don't know what people would pay to make courses. I know a lot of people are very eager to volunteer for courses, both for popular languages and minority languages. I'm sure many people would lay down a small amount of money just to make one or two units of a language (even languages which are already out). I can't imagine they'd make $42, 000 a day from it, but it could still contribute some while at the same time providing a (in my opinion) better alternative to the current incubator system.

It's ultimately up to Luis and his team to do the statistics and figure out what's viable. In the end they may need to implement multiple changes to generate the revenue to keep the site going.


We can at least do a little math to explore the idea. Let's imagine 100 units in a course. Even if it were to cost contributors $420/unit, a whole language would only cover one day of operations. And then Duolingo would have to devote extra developer hours and IT resources to maintaining each new language, increasing overhead as I said before. Assuming there's no way people would pay anything close to $420/unit, I simply don't see this as anything more than the potential for a headache, at this point.

Selling the opportunity to advertise to several million users, on the other hand, is a feasible idea. Or introducing a paid learning tier, which so far seems not to be in the cards. Perhaps some advertising, with the option to subscribe to an ad-free experience. Lots of apps work that way.

And maybe when some revenue is coming in, that will free up some resources to devote to languages they've been having trouble with (like Chinese, for example).


Yeah... And probably sounds bad but... why would I pay to work?


You shouldn't. And I don't think it sounds bad to say so.


paying to make courses? seriously who would do that? it is true that a lot of people volunteer to make courses, but many will disappear after seeing how much time and commitment it requires. I wish we had statistics here, but I would say at least half the people you invite to a team will leave (or stay inactive ) after translating a couple of sentences (my experience from creating 3 courses here). So Duolingo, and it is users, should already be very happy that people are creating courses for free. I don't think any of us would like to pay :) That being said, I really hope Duolino stays free forever as promised, since I believe this has been the motivation for most of the volunteers. I am personally very happy to help bring free education for everyone.


Your idea is to make actual language content paid for which is the opposite of what duo is hoping to do.


My idea would effectively monetise phases 1 and (possibly, depending on how it's implemented) 2 of the incubator, but it would keep phase three free. Free users wouldn't lose anything they don't already have for free now. Ideally absolutely everything on Duolingo would remain free, but if unfortunately it seems that's not possible.

Where people are volunteering to make courses now, you'd instead have anybody have the ability to pay to make their own, custom courses (for any language). My idea doesn't charge anyone who's come just to learn a language a cent (well, I did leave the option open when I added "and/or to use other people's custom courses" at the end, but that was just an afterthought).


You're essentially asking people to pay a company to work for them? That seems odd. Will those course creators be able to ask for donations from the users of those courses? Or get school credit for them?

I'm thinking there would need to be some incentive to them now that on top of asking them to donate their time you would be asking them to pay to donate their time.

And how will this affect quality? I suppose with the right incentive, like school credit if a certain grade is achieved, may encourage higher quality but that would require professionals overseeing that.



You're essentially asking people to pay a company to work for them?

Hey, Tom Sawyer was able to get other kids to paint a fence for him. I guess this is taking that concept to another level!


I just upvoted you in hopes that you'll get enough that your post will show up again, because I don't think it's a bad idea at all. One of the reasons I switch between here and Memrise is because of the ability to make my own courses over on Memrise. At Duolingo, I'm limited to what Duolingo thinks I should know.

Memrise has managed to side-step the ad situation by making a pro-plan for those who want to practice difficult words and analyze their learning style. I doubt Duolingo will go that direction, but it was interesting to see how another site that used to be all-free handled the monetization thing.


I have observed many great ideas for items/courses, etc.that we users need and would enjoy obtaining in a way that would profit Duolingo instead of other language sites. However, it probably isn't something DL would want to produce and sell. Maybe a way could be developed to effectively allow users and third parties to offer these items in the store in a well supervised manner, where DL offers a ready customer base in exchange for a percentage of profits. That way DL doesn't become commercialized, and if well supervised, users get what they need and would buy elsewhere with others profiting. I've read so many positive and creative ideas that alone might not cover DL's needs monetarily due to exponential growth. But the users really seem to want these items, so all DL would need to do is carefully monitor content and provide the connections to the source in the store. My apologies if this idea has already been stated, or if it is incompatible with DL's agenda.


Excellent post... you have my full support!


Thank you for addressing this. I've been using Duolingo for almost a year now, and I am completely grateful for everything I have been able to learn and all the people who have helped me along the way, all without having to pay a single cent. That being said, if you need to put ads or anything else in, I completely understand. Whatever keeps this website free and open to all is ultimately the best decision in my mind.

Thanks for everything, Luis :)


I don't mind the ads, do what you have to do Duolingo, this is still free and I appreciate it. Thank you so much!


If you do opt to accept ads, couldn't you challenge companies to place ads in the languages that match what we are learning?

If someone is doing the Spanish tree, for example, maybe they could click on a video for a bank, a phone, a car in Spanish (perhaps the same commercials that run in Mexico)? Maybe the companies could ad subtitles in both the target and source language. Or, companies could simply place their already-produced display ads or video commercials in German, Italian, Spanish, French, etc.

Perhaps the Irish government could be persuaded to pay for a 30 to 60 clickable video in Irish promoting Irish travel & tourism? I think that would be fair considering how much assistance they're getting from Duolingo in the promotion of their language. Other countries and regions (Greece, Bavaria, Paris) might like to do the same thing – governments and business groups are always promoting travel and tourism.

Perhaps Apple (or another) music store would pay a modest amount to link pop music videos in the appropriate language trees. This would generate clicks and sales for them as people who are learning, say, French, are exposed to some French pop music and find they like it and want to buy it to improve their French.

Perhaps Amazon would pay a modest amount to link products such as language textbooks, easy readers, novels in our languages. A small clickable print ad for a German dictionary or verb book or grammar book wouldn't be the end of the world. Easy novels, perhaps children's books in our target languages.

Perhaps other language sites (maybe those sponsored by government institutions) would pay for banner ads.

To my mind, this sort of advertising would be a win-win: Duolingo could earn money, and we learners would have added language content and resources.

Thank you for your consideration, and thank you for Duolingo!


We're in fact working on this.


On behalf of most of the people of this community, I would like to thank you, Luis, and all the people whose work makes Duolingo possible. It is wonderful that in times were all we can see in the media are acts of terrorism, insecurity, corruption and increasing xenophobia, there is still people who care about others, and are trying altruistically to improve people's life, getting different cultures nearer and more approachable. This is the reason why you can count me in to help were it is needed, whether it's by donating money, or just watching adds.

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I already have my ad blocker disabled for this site, just in case.

That said, do be careful with ads, as malvertisement is still a big thing.


I have specifically unblocked the site in order to support any ads they may implement, but also not to miss out on possible new features or tests.


Pardon me for piggybacking onto your comment, but I'm glad you mentioned malvertisement. Drive-bys are a horribly dangerous problem, bad enough that I will not unblock ads for any reason (besides testing). All it takes is an infected ad server and you're likely to end up with something nasty like Cryptolocker. CNN had that problem some years ago (sounds like they're having a repeat performance), and I had to clean someone's machine several times. I don't want to do that again if I can help it.

If Duolingo self-hosted the ads, they were static (no scripts), and they vetted them vigorously...I might consider unblocking.

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No problem. Malvertisement is a big issue, and it needs to be talked about.

I'd hate for someone to have their personal info here on Duo lost just because they have watched an ad.

Something you might consider @luis, is to maybe make brand deals with advertisers for bonus skills in a tree, that people can get in the lingot store, with a clear marker that that lesson has brand deals in it.

I've found myself in an Irish pub, wanting to order a glass of coke zero, and not being able to, so things like that could be mutually useful.

In that way you'd be able to generate income, lets say on basis of how many times a brand name or phrase about a certain product comes up, whilst keeping it optional for the students as well as eliminating the need for externally hosted adverts.


No brand deals please (unless only ethical companies were allowed deals). I would hate to see the worlds worst companies on duolingo. http://www.betterworldshopper.com/worst.html

For example, Nestle has been found guilty of making infant formula addictive, do we really want them sponsoring stuff on duolingo?


Good idea, I'll do that right now.


Lol. I disabled it because of this comment. I really want to support this site that has changed my life in such a huge way. Thank you, Luis.


Yay, thanks Luis, this is going to cause a lot of action on another of my posts, which I made on this topic.


Here is one idea, create a paid version of a new feature where you have a social feed and you can talk with people learning the language you are learning, a community of sorts like Reddit but better and of high quality. This can be a paid version. This can extend to being a stand alone app too, for those who want to pay to learn. We can easily learn the language from the Tree and Immersion itself, so this would fit in your goal too. Plus, please create a dummy project on Github for feature requests, there are many we can give but we do not have a platform to do so.

That being said, Thank you very much!! for starting Duolingo!


That is a bad idea.

I would rather watch an ad than have language learning opportunities restricted because I don't pay.


I had a similar idea, it was more creating sponsored lessons, with for example a lesson "taking the train" sponsored by a railway company ("I go on XXXXX.com to get tickets to Philadelphia"), or a touristic region ("the golden gate bridges crosses the bay"). I think the two last lessons of the dutch tree can give a small taste about what can be done to attract tourists to a spot. Let's order a big mac in every possible language?


I agree about the ads in target languages. When hulu gives me the option to get a commercials in Spanish I don't mind the ad and I enjoy the chance to learn more Spanish.


This is a great idea! I hate ads and have never in my 17 years on the internet purchased anything based on an ad I saw on the internet, that I recall. Total waste of my life. But I LOVE languages, and at least if the ads are in my language of choice I will be learning stuff! And if it's for like French music, if there is a good song, there is actually a chance I'd purchase it.... cause I've been looking for good French music since forever and haven't found much.


Sadly, not clicking on an ad directly doesn't necessarily mean that you haven't been influenced by it. So many lifestyle choices are influenced by ads we've seen. For example, all the pressures to keep changing styles of clothes and looks in general are initially triggered by ads, whether you buy from the merchant who made the ad itself or from someone else later. It doesn't matter. Ads unconsciously create 'needs' inside us that aren't real needs in real life, and all that this extra consumption of useless things is doing, is decrease the amount of natural resources that we have for everyone to use, and basically contributing to increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, making more and more poor people in poor countries work at very low wages in very poor working conditions to satisfy the imagined needs of people who can afford them in richer countries (or rich people in the same country).

Looking at one's own behaviors objectively and seeing what parts were made from personal decisions and what parts are just ads (which later indirectly transform to social pressure) is hard to do and hard to admit. Even as I avoid ads myself as much as I can, I am still surprised when I catch myself wanting to buy something that I don't really need and I start to carefully reassess my decision.

Products need to be judged based on their real-world value again, not based on their marketing budget. That would just make a much more efficient use of our limited natural resources.


If I ever have to advertise something I am going to write on my ad "Congratulations on being the only person in the entire world who isn't subconsciously affected by ads" on my ad, because you guys are a BIG market.


Just some personal favorites, I like Stromae and Cour du Pirate for modern music, and Bardot, Edith Piaf, and Sylvie Vartan for older/jazz type stuff. I haven't looked as deeply as I could but french is one of the best languages for music, next to english. There's also a lot of crazy desert rock, african and middle eastern musicians singing the blues in french if that's your thing.


Yes, I am familiar with a lot of these, I just don't like most of this music music if at all. I do like Stromae and Coeur du Pirate somewhat, but I wish there were more artists to choose from. It's not like Spanish which has endless good music. No wonder when I put on French radio all I hear is mostly Spanish and English music.


what kind of music do you like then? Any genre is available in French, it's a big country.


formagella, I like a lot of music, and a genre doesn't necessarily describe it when it's hard to find much music at all. Like I like a lot of hip hop, but not much rap, but there's also a lot of hip hop I don't like. So when I look for "French hip hop" most of the stuff that comes up is rap... but I did find a few I like by Maître Gims and one song by Cween. When I ask people for good contemporary French music, they mostly just mention artists I already know and don't like or that I like but not a LOT, like Stromae. 'cause there aren't that many, it seems, at least not many that are famous. I also like blues and pop, etc... with Spanish music, I am always discovering new artists I like, but with French it's like I look really hard and only find one or two new artists per year, which means like maybe 4-5 songs I particularly like. I think Maître Gims is the only new one I've found this year that I was really into, and he has only 4-5 songs I like, and technically I discovered him a couple years ago but only really started listening to his stuff this year. But I've discovered like 20+ new singers who sing largely/entirely in Spanish and 50-100 (really, it's countless) new Spanish songs I was into. And I don't even like Spanish! I love French, yet this is the truth. I asked some young French people for help and all they could tell me was some decades-old classics and they said there wasn't much good French music.


Have you heard Mylene Farmer, Lonely Lisa?


When I watch the Bundesliga (the top German soccer league) games on TV, I make sure that I read every single advertisement on the signboards in order to practice my German more. If they display an advertisement in English, I act like the referee made a bad call. :)

It really is good practice, since the ads tend to be rather clear and concise, simple in vocabulary and sentence structure. They also tend to repeat, which reinforces the learning of those words or phrases. Also, the ads have text, so I can see how a word is spelled and positioned in the sentence. (Sometimes I do have to look up a sponsor online to understand how its slogan relates to what it does from a business standpoint, however.) Finally, the advertisements tend to be "family-friendly", which means I won't feel guilty for finding out what the advertisement is trying to say.


These are excellent ideas, in my opinion.


Adverts that people seek out and actively listen to? You may have just invented the Internet version of gold dust.


That is brilliant! Video adds would kick a** as they will give us real live listening exercises.


no they wouldnt


If the advertisements Duolingo displays are all in the target-language OR are in both the target-language and the native-language (translated accurately between the two, which I'm sure big businesses try to do anyway), I am all for the advertisements, even more so if the ads have text or subtitles. Duo could even put certain ads after earlier lessons and others after later lessons depending upon the simplicity of the advertisements (which would decrease the likelihood of the ads getting stale for the user as they progress up the language tree, reduce the amount of different advertisements that one sponsor would have to make to maintain relevancy, and give the "sponsorship sales team" a more reasonable workload [since there are so many languages and so many advertisement opportunities to sell overall]).

You know, if Duo were to implement target-language advertisements, there may be an added incentive for some people to learn languages just to see what kinds of advertisements are available. (I'm curious to see which companies would make ads for Klingon. :D [That being said, I don't think a language would get advertisements until the course is at least in Beta.])

Perhaps there could even be a place for people to voluntarily look at ads in their target or native language, which could drive up the price that Duolingo could charge for those ads, as the companies would now have a better chance for a good advertisement to spread via "word-of-mouth". These ads may not be as effective in creating purchase sales for a company directly, but they will be effective in growing awareness, which would indirectly lead to sales (from people hearing about the company or product for the first time or due to the company gaining a more favorable reputation from being associated with Duolingo). {I'm still not sure whether this would be a good or a bad idea, on account of an advertisement being more likely to become stale with overexposure.}

Just let us know if target-language advertisements are implemented so that I have the flexibility of deactivating my ad-blocker on Duolingo. Danke schön!


So let's collect ideas. Here is one:

Duolingo could offer placement and translation of (small) ads into its languange courses to generate income. Users with a certain language level could be asked to contribute to translations. That is what we all love to do here, right? Language. The offer could also be expanded to translation of external texts (e.g. ads) as a service.


Since when does Ireland have a government? Bord na Failte might fund something though :D

I love the idea of ads in the target language. When I lived in Spain and the Czech Republic, and even on holidays in Norway I learned loads from ads.


How do you get so many languages in high level?


Practice, Practice, Practice every single day. I have been doing it about 2 years and only missed 3 or 4 days. Two was went I was in an area with on Internet or cell service. So far I only do french, Spanish and just started Vietnamese a few weeks ago. But you will only get ahead of you do it on a regular basis.


my idea sponsored ads: ads after tree/specific skills saying 'it was brought by 'name of company' :)


Maybe you could provide paid instruction for additional "pretend" languages, like Klingon or Dothraki. I'm not sure what it would cost to get the rights to do this, but it's a thought. The real world language instruction (that people really need) could remain free.


As one of the few speakers of Klingon, and the author of the Klingon Language Institute's online intro course, I can report that there are not a lot of people willing to put their money where their mouth is to learn the language. In fact our course is free to members, but there aren't really that many people willing to put their mouth where their mouth wants to be and put in the work, once they realize that it's a real language and they have to learn vocabulary, memorize verb endings, and practice syntax, just like any other language. There are so few good Klingon speakers that we could never generate enough content to pay anyone's bills.


They could ask Paramount for some of their promotional money for the new film and CBS for the new Star Trek show since they're doing Klingon if they are not getting it already.


You could offer for people to pay to receive more detailed stats about their learning.


I'm interested in anything that keeps Duo free and that keeps everyone on the same level (not "free" vs "pro" members. As long as the ads are properly vetted for malware and don't interfere with the actual learning (e.g., no pop-ups in the middle of timed practice), I wouldn't have a problem with them. You might want to look as well at the possibility of having companies sponsor certain modules or skills. Or maybe a paid "classifieds/ want ads" section for companies looking for people with specific language skills?

A donate button can be set up easily and is really a no-brainer. It's not like it can do any harm.

I'm thrilled to have discovered Duolingo in the last year and I want to thank you for all your work. It's been a dream of mine to learn to speak as many languages as possible, but I never imagined it would become possible all at once and without charge.


Duolingo could save money on U.S. federal taxes by becoming a "501(c)(3) organization". :)

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/exemption-requirements-section-501-c-3-organizations has information on what those are.

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/exempt-purposes-internal-revenue-code-section-501-c-3 lists the purposes it counts as charitable, including

  • "educational"
  • "advancement of education or science"



I don't think the shareholders would be much amused if the Duolingo senior management attempted to transform this for-profit-entity into a recognized charity. grin I can't see how such a thing would be possible without their consent (or rather, without the consent of the board of directors, who are themselves elected by the shareholders.) In any case, I doubt that Duolingo is currently paying much in the way of income tax when, so far, it is not profitable and therefor has no income to be taxed.


Duolingo got to where it is due to their statement that they were free and without ads.

Luis wants to monetize the company now that there is a large user base. So hes renegading on his promise of no ads(this is because the original plan of making money didn't work out AND because the investors want a return on their investment). He is doing this because he wants to not only have the company be self sufficient, but also profitable.


Do you see a viable plan whereby Duolingo could (or at some point could have) become self-sufficient without making any extra profit?

I don't. It looks to me like the investments are the only thing keeping the company going now. Without the investments, I imagine the chances are very good that Duolingo might simply have gone under.

I, personally, am not enough of a purist to think that would be preferable to the current situation.


Duolingo can become self-sufficient if they accepted donations, hosted additional services (maybe introduce spokenconversation courses that could be branded 'duolingo plus' that cost money), introduce duolingo and make schools pay (this alone could generate enough money if put in place in the right countries).

So yes, I do feel it is possible without duolingo breaking its promise. Keep in mind that duolingo didn't create their language courses, so idk if they are justified in profiting off of other peoples work in a way they promised not too.


They did create the first nine or so courses, since the Incubator was only opened in October 2013, if I'm not getting the dates mixed up. And these are arguably the courses with the most users signed up (being the oldest ones of course helps).

Volunteers have been part of building the other ones, but have still been using resources and support provided by Duolingo. Likewise, volunteers have since refined and redone some of the old courses as well.

I doubt there's been an explicit promise to the volunteers about not doing certain things in the future. So volunteers can of course be upset and quit if they disagree with where Duolingo is going, but I doubt there would be any legal case to answer for.

The "100 % free forever" slogan would of course have to go... Unless they can get by just with ads -- that's still free for the user. But with ad blockers around, I'm not sure that's a winner.


Well, it's never been a secret, to the course contributors or anyone else, that Duolingo was a company trying to earn money.

That said, it looks like Duolingo has decided that its promise not to charge for language courses is more important than it's promise not to run ads. I would agree with that priority.


Okay, I just thought of an idea. Maybe Duolingo can offer prizes connected with businesses. For example, once you reach level 13 in French, you can get a small discount to subscribe to Le Monde for a month or whatever. You would have to purchase the discount in the lingot store, then use it in connection with your Duolingo account to prevent abuse. Also to prevent French people from taking advantage, XP earned from testing out of lessons would not count toward being able to use this discount.... or maybe the discount would be small enough that Le Monde wouldn't care. And maybe this also involves allowing Le Monde to put an ad somewhere, or maybe the prize itself is enough to count as an advertisement. Or maybe it is actually a free subscription to Le Monde for only one day or whatever. Although I know media is politically biased and I heard Le Monde is conservative, so maybe not Le Monde in particular, but that's just an example.

Another prize possibility is to offer a discounted subscription to other language learning programs such as Rosetta Stone or apps. I think if people are thinking of it as a prize they may be much more likely to purchase what is being advertised, thereby making it more worth it to the business.

Another possibility is to create a live chatroom on Duolingo for the target language and allow access only to those who reach a certain level (let's say level 7).... it can only be purchased using a LOT of lingots, which may be themselves purchased using real world money. And in order to prevent overuse of chatrooms, maybe using it for more than half an hour per day would require another 10 lingots for every additional half hour. Although I dunno if a chatroom just creates more costs in itself.

Hopefully someone else can think of better examples...


I support Duolingo's non-obstructive efforts to monetize. Bills need to be paid.


If you choose to introduce advertising, I hope there will be the option to have a paid account that does not show the ads.


I'd pay for it gladly!


I don't think Duolingo really likes the idea of making a "Premium Account". I think they might like everyone to have the same experience.


I was not suggesting any extra features, because I like the idea of education being completely free. But if I can pay to opt out of seeing adverts, I'll gladly do it. (Otherwise I'd just block them and be done with it.)


Please add a donate button ! I think that could work to a certain extent and I know I would use it


Totally behind it. Test away. Anything that pays the bills without creating a culture of haves vs have nots.

You're in an enviable position with such an enormous user base and a uniquely talented Duolingo team. You can gather mountains of data, go for what works $$$ and preserve your precious creativity for furthering your mission to "provide free language education to the world." :D

Thanks for the heads up.

[deactivated user]

    I will put up with ads if it helps Duolingo. Duolingo is a good idea for the whole of humanity. It needs to spread like wildfire.


    I would REALLY enjoy a paid discussion forum. It would remove many undesirable elements for those who enjoy using the discussion forums.


    There are plenty of undesirable elements with a lot of money.


    And some "desirable" elements that have no extra money to spend on optional discussion.


    I could see that, only if they have both a free AND a paid discussion forum.


    What goes to say that undesirable elements won't be willing to pay for that?


    Here is an ad template I thought of while using duolingo:

    Have language learners translate a company's advertisement from English for some extra points. The advertiser makes sure that the user reads the ad, literally, word by word, and the language learner gets some extra practice.

    Say you've got one of those Coca-Cola ads that read "Good things come in fours" (https://d1t6gdblzuqy70.cloudfront.net/content/uploads/2015/03/Good-Things-Come-In-Fours-WIP-Ad-Image.jpg), you keep the background and the pictures and make the text editable.


    I think this application program should be given to all future children. It's necessary to give the effect obtained here to children who aren't blessed with wonderful educational opportunity in particular.

    ー Before foreign language learning ー

    I think it's also important to train a mother tongue thoroughly before doing foreign language acquisition for that reason. It's an ideal to acquire a mother tongue tightly at first. And I think it's very important to build a foreign language on the reliable mother tongue. I'll suggest that development of the application program to train a mother tongue also becomes your view.


    Most children young enough to learn a language as one of their mother tongues are too young to use software applications.


    "I think it's also important to train a mother tongue thoroughly before doing foreign language acquisition for that reason. It's an ideal to acquire a mother tongue tightly at first. And I think it's very important to build a foreign language on the reliable mother tongue. "

    Very wrong and misguided advice.

    Truly bilingual children have been speaking their mother tongues since they were very young, because one parent spoke a language and the other another, or because they spoke a language at home but used another in kindergarten. Immersion schools use this principle.

    Learning languages is not a zero sum game.

    Regarding training a mother tongue, I think that's difficult to implement because people speak their mother tongue fluently so it would be very advanced stuff (which makes it difficult to automate), and you can't base it on translating sentences which is how duolingo works, so it would have to be something entirely different.

    1. Concentrate on major lingua franca.

    2. Language specific child safe ads, with chargeable opt out.

    3. Improve range of Duolingo clothing. No white shirt for darker complexioned people, logo in various colours, no children's clothing with pictures and words?, etc.

    4. Expand languages trees to 90% fluency each with three additional chargeable courses each.

    5. Develop an infinite variety of interesting and chargeable language content. Remember, most people who already speak one major lingua franca only seek to major in one additional major lingua franca, so you have a captive market right there! The majority of people can only learn one, or at most two languages to fluency.

    6. Keep your eye on developments in the virtual reality sector. Currently, it's the wild west of opportunity. Your scope is beyond infinite in that direction, and chargeable.

    7. Infinite scope for in lesson and end lesson animation with sound effects, of Duolingo logo in 2d and 3d. You make it fly, sleep, tumble off a branch, sing, eat, swear, walk, run, drown, swim, shoot an arrow, avoid a predator, acquire a girlfriend, acquires chicks, acquire parents, etc. The scope is endless. These you could introduce as chargeable packs that would appeal to children and adults The packs would be stand-alone but linkable into the main platform, and chargeable. This would add great interest to what already is an excellent learning platform, and brand loyalty as well.

    8. Run donation rounds like Wikipedia.

    I started using Duolingo seven days ago for French. Two days ago my daughter started using Duolingo for German, this morning my sister who is a teacher called me, I told her to get her three kids on Duolingo, anybody I see, I will tell about Duolingo!

    I do not think you have a problem at all. I have seen so many other detailed good ideas for raising cash on this thread.


    An option to fund the launch of new courses in the Incubator, would be great


    I applaud duolingo for giving people to learn different languages for free. When i first saw the app in the App Store I was sure that it was going to be a monthly payment program. This is the best programs ever.


    Did you know the most prolific and widley distributed publisher in world history has never charged a dollar for its publications and has always been run on donations .... And there cost well exceeds Duolingo's ? A streamlined option for voulentary donations will net a surprising amount of money when people apreciate the cause / service , and recognize its value ...ps sorry for the spelling ( Duoling is helping that though !!! ) ....' Donations Button '


    Duo has been here for me and I want to be here for Duo! I am so impressed with Duolingo and the people who participate in it! Seriously, looking at the comments by other supporters and the number of languages that they have tried is very inspirational.


    If you do decide to sell lingots for money, I highly recommend having a lot more features available so that we can spend them. Many people right now are in the state of having so many lingots, they can buy everything once plus the placement test multiple times over, and most people do not like taking so many tests. Many people have suggested things like more bonus courses, longer streak freezes, and even a pet Duo to take care of to give another reason to log on every day (I think that a pet Duo should probably help with learning in some way, though, like maybe you learn words as you take care of it that are related to pets, like "feed" in the target language, or words for clothing/accessories & colors since people like to dress virtual pets.). Have the staff had any thoughts on this?

    Thank you very much, Luis, for providing a free source of education to the world!


    hmm but then i'd end up having a farm cause i already speak 5 languages. I can't take care of all of them so some will have to die i guess


    If they invested millions of dollars in Duolingo, Google must have access to millions of freely donated translations by Duolingo users. This enormous flow of useful data can be sorted out and subsequently used to gradually develop the ultimate MT translation program thus putting all translators out of business in the future. I knew it was too good to be true. I'm no longer going to donate my translations for free. Thanks for sharing this vital information.


    The translations are an unholy mess. I think DL quickly realized they are worth nothing.


    I don't think it follows logically that investment from Google must give Google access to the translations - it would presumably depend upon the agreement between Duolingo and Google.

    That said, I agree with Dcarl1 that the translations in Immersion, as they exist currently, are at best a mixed bag. (A fair few seem to be really bad translations from Google Translate, for instance.) Google would not help itself by using them as the basis for anything.


    Do what you have to do to keep this life-changing website/app going :-)


    I like the idea of merchandise. I agree and I don't think merchandise will generate much to Duolingo. But the merchandise isn't for the money, it is for the advertisement and customer satisfaction. Money wouldn't be lost or made making the tshirts, iphone cases, etc but they help in advertisement and I think the largest education platform should at least sell something.

    EDIT: Just saw the gear shop. Didn't realize that existed, whoops.


    I'm more worried about who owns and controls Duolingo than what they do short term to cover costs.


    This made me curious -- why are you worried about that? I'm genuinely interested.


    Because the owners may choose to monetize duolingo in ways that are intrusive/restrictive. Can you imagine what would happen if Comcast/Verizon/EA/Facebook owned duolingo? Ads everywhere, DLC/DRM for everything, paying to use it and then ads on top.


    That's a bit different, though. Duolingo was specifically created to be a place of free learning, not to make a profit. Those who own and control Duolingo set out with a different goal in mind than those creating a company for which the whole point is to make a profit.

    So I'd still expect those people to still have a different outlook and plan for this company now, when the going is getting tough. I'd only be really worried if Duolingo was sold to new owners.


    While it is true that Duolingo was specifically created to offer free language leaning, I don't think one can say that it was never intended to make a profit. If it were intended to be a not for profit entity, then it would have been organized as a 501 c 3 charity from the beginning. Instead it was organized as a corporation (or possibly as an LLC or some sort of partnership). In any case, given that it is not (and never has been) a charity, eventual profit has been the ultimate objective from the beginning, and if Duolingo is to remain a viable platform, then progress toward that objective must be maintained. Moreover, there is nothing inherently wrong with having profit as a purpose.

    I DO agree that there would be cause for concern if Duolingo were sold to new owners.


    (I was wondering whether I should have included a disclaimer about there being nothing wrong in starting a business with the intention of making profit. :-) After all, I work for a socially highly responsible private company, of which the main goal is to make profit for its owners.)

    I still see Duolingo as different from most companies, where the main aim is to make a profit, and the opportunities for providing customer satisfaction, employment opportunities, and other kinds of value for society are nice, but still secondary goals.

    It always struck me as strange that Duolingo isn't a charity or something similar, since providing free resources with the focus on poor people in poor countries really doesn't seem like a great business idea...

    It'll have to try to make enough money to pay back the outside investors eventually. But considering Duolingo's big goals of not just doing more of what they're doing now, but also moving beyond foreign languages into literacy and probably other things as well, I would assume most of the profit made would be plowed into these new ventures and that the share holders aren't banking on getting rich on this project.


    Investors can control the direction a company takes. They ultimately care about making money from the investment while a consumer cares about the service and promises a company makes. Right now I see promises being broken and service quality will probably go down (due to added loading time due to ads).

    At the start duolingos goal was free language learning without ads while earning money through other services. The goal today is that Duolingo needs to be self sufficient. A year or two from now it can be that they are still under pressure from their investors and choose to spy on you and selling your info to ad agencies to increase their profits.


    Duolingo was never able to earn much money "through other services." When your first business plan doesn't work out, either you adapt accordingly or you go under.

    I think it's a little early to worry about "selling [our] info to ad agencies."


    Investors can control the direction a company takes.

    To which extent this is true really depends on the terms of the financing (and I have no idea of the particular terms in play here).

    At the start duolingos goal was free language learning without ads

    I don't think ads were ever specifically excluded as an option. Or at least I don't remember seeing such a statement. "100 % free", yes, but to me, that doesn't mean "no ads".

    while earning money through other services. The goal today is that Duolingo needs to be self sufficient.

    I don't see a huge shift between the main service offered being translation to the main service offered being language assessment. Both are within the realms of the greater project, and self sufficiency (and being able to pay investors back) surely was the plan from the very start.

    As so very often, I think there is little problem with what Duolingo is actually doing, but a big problem with how it's communicating what it is doing. The lack of communication and openness really invites detraction and disgruntlement. Even this thread only came about because Luis was openly challenged in another discussion to communicate about this matter, amid a lot of speculation and misinformation.

    With 100+ million users, I'm sure there are traditional and new media outlets out there who would be happy to help Duolingo be open and spin their own story rather than have it spun for them in the rumor mill. (And even if there aren't, they used to have a blog that was discontinued ages ago....) It's as if they feel they don't have the time for it or don't care about it. Unfortunately.


    Hi. I think that a way to repair lost streaks would be a must have. For instance, 10 lingot to protect, and 100 to repair it, or something else.


    I agree. I had a streak of 250 days. Then I was out of town without Internet access for 2 days and lost it all. I could have kept it for $9.99 but decided not to. I have 445 lingots doing nothing. I would have used 100 to keep my streak.


    While I favor the idea from a user morale standpoint, it is evident that it would not generate any additional revenue for Duolingo. For Duolingo to become more sustainable from lingot contributions, they would have to reduce the amount of lingots available to be earned and charge for acquiring more lingots. In that situation, you probably would not have as many lingots to burn, and you would not be as willing to part with them.


    True but $9.99 seems like a bit much for missing two days. I do use the lingots for missing one day here, one day there, and I would have paid 99 cents for that extra day but $9.99 for two days after having a 250 day streak? I would pay real money for more than just a score on the progress quiz. I would pay money to find out which one I got correct and which ones I got wrong. All they give you is a percentage.


    What if Duolingo did something similar to Patreon? It works for independent artists, but it would have to be slightly different for something like Duolingo.


    Have you thought about selling additional language content such as medical and business content. Thede would mostly be used for work purposes and either be reimbursed by companies or at the least tax deductible.


    So people in big companies who are likely paid well will get them free and people who are struggling and could use it to get ahead will not be have access to it?

    The educational content is supposed to remain free.


    I understnd your concern. I am just suggesting ideas. Personally I would prefer a donation button. If that doesnt cover the expenses then i would be perfectly fine paying whatever was necessary to avoid ads. It would be great if it could remain free but that is unfortunately not possible in the world we live in.


    Hi Luis, thanks for the awesome work you do. I really do appreciate it!

    How about these ideas?

    • Product placement in the courses. For $ you put, i.e. a "Coca Cola tastes really good in the summer" sentence into the certain courses, for a month. This may raise some anger among contributors, though... But it can scale up in pricing, according to the number of users!

    • Reaching out for a gov's donations? I guess a lot of countries have agencies that promote their culture & language abroad (I'm almost sure Poland has one, connected to the MoFA). They may be interested in participating in costs after they see what we do here. Actually, it can be joined with the idea above: for a $ you can put sentences promoting country's tourism into the courses - and that's the thing govs like to spend cash on, afaik. :)

    Good luck guys, we know you're doing your best!


    The problem with advertising for things like sugar water (any kind of soft drink really or fast food) is that it would contribute even more to bad habits which are making people's lives miserable. Duolingo is a learning platform and sugar negatively affects the brain, making learning more difficult than it should be. If anything, Duolingo should promote eating unprocessed food right from nature, and as we all know, most companies don't profit from that.


    Oh yeah, I'm really into it, in fact I don't consume sugar at all (including drinks), but I believe it's debateable if Duo's mission is to promote this (or any) way of eating (or living, in general).

    Anyway, Coke was only an example, there are plenty of companies that might benefit from advertising here.


    It's nice to hear that you're watching out for your health by avoiding obvious sources of sugar :-)

    As to whether Duolingo should promote good eating habits or not, I think they should regardless of their monetization strategy, or at the very least, not promote junk food. I mean, sentences present in the course should generally mention and promote natural food sources, at the very least because a healthy diet promotes better learning, and consequently more happy Duolingo learners :-)

    Regarding other physical products, it would be hard to convince people that it would be just as harmful, but I will attempt it anyway. What I love the most about Duolingo is how it is bringing different cultures closer together and helping us see beyond our own borders, and how our lives are affected by people living half way across the globe and vice versa. All these ads to "buy buy buy" whatever whenever are creating imaginary needs, and indirectly creating pressures on poor countries and poor people to work at very low wages in very bad conditions to satisfy those needs. Of course I would not expect Duolingo to solve all the world's problems (that would be nice :-P), but at the very least, it shouldn't contribute to the vicious cycle that is making them worse.


    This is naive. It's not an NGO with a mission of reducing worldwide inequality. It's a for-profit company committed to expanding free language education (which if it succeeded a might have some impact on that). For it to survive, it needs income.


    A company doesn't need to be an NGO to do the right thing and make tons of money. Look at Apple. They use 100% renewable energy for their servers and they run 98% of their offices worldwide on renewable energy, and they are making tons of money.

    I didn't say that Duolingo shouldn't make money. All I said is that doing it without ads coincides more closely to its mission of teaching language for free, which is also something that makes the world a better place.

    I suggested other ways for Duolingo to make money in other replies above, which I will not mention again here, and the Duolingo team had already suggested several possible monetization strategies here and in other posts that don't involve ads.

    Generally, I would prefer any monetization strategy that gives money directly to Duolingo instead of having a 3rd party in the middle taking most of the revenue away.

    EDIT: I am not implying any correlation between Duolingo and Apple. I just gave Apple as an example of a company doing the right thing without being an NGO. That is all. Duolingo was founded to do the right thing in language education, and it would simply make sense for it to do the right thing in its monetization strategy as well.

    EDIT 2: I just gave the example of Apple because it's a famous company that everyone knows here. There are plenty of less known companies who also do the right thing and make a profit (so without being an NGO). Duolingo started with such positive energy adopting a positive plan using immersion/translation, and even if that plan failed, all I really wish for is for them to keep that positive attitude and find other monetization strategies that don't contribute negatively to society like ads. That is all.


    @SamirShaker: I have worked with Apple, and can say that no one else does business like them. They have more capital than most countries in the world, and therefore can do whatever they like. A company still in start-up mode and not earning enough to pay back its funders doesn't have such a luxury.


    @SamirShaker, there is no correlation between Apple and Duolingo ... Apple sells very expensive high end electronic and computer gadgetry which make billions for it in revenue .... they are not on a mission to provide anybody with free education in the way that Duo is .... If Duo was selling Apple like products it would have more than enough money to fulfil it's goals but it is a language learning platform not an IT company, it therefore needs an income stream, whereas Apple already has one.

    EDIT .... point taken but I don't imagine they are likely to do anything that is really morally wrong, as it doesn't fit with the founding idea and, as far as anyone can tell, Luis or the rest of the team,. .... and who knows, there are a lot of people here motivated to find a good solution, someone (brighter than me) may come up with the perfect answer .... Fingers crossed ... but we can't ignore reality sadly. :-)


    Frankly, the idea of product placement in sentences to be translated strikes me as rather creepy. I can deal with ads, but please don't co-opt me into promoting products (even to myself).


    Grants are unfortunately not a reliable source of income. But it makes me think of all the many large and small businesses as well as governments making use of Duolingo. Perhaps that is where some source of donations may be tapped into.


    Thank you for all you do. The site is fantastic the way it is. I am only part way through but find it easy to enter and meet my goals without stressing. I like that their are no ads. It is so easy to be in this app. Thanks also to google who do many good things for free they never get credit for. Looking forward to seeing how much Spanish I can speak when I have completed the program.


    I remember reading that Steve from Readlang joined Duolingo a few months ago. What if that site/tool is further developed to become a premium feature?

    In that blog post Steve wrote he made a little over $3k in January, and it was also a free service. With Duolingo's massive membership, I would think you could make many many multiples of that figure.

    Duolingo could also create its own texts and use that same concept (reading foreign texts and saving new vocab words as flashcards), especially if there are copyright considerations. Different types of activities could be incorporated into these texts, such as reading/listening comprehension rather than pure translation. This idea could also be lumped with some of the other suggestions to have more advanced content/test prep services be paid for.


    Hey Luis,

    first of all, big Thank You! Here is what I think concerning monetization: What about offering to customers to include and to translate (small) ads for every language course. That is what we all like to do here, right? Languange. Users of a certain language level may be asked to contribute and earn credits for producing ad translations. This may later also be applied as a service to external customers in order to generate some income.


    Go to this discussion if you think this will work: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15484523


    You could have users translate subtitles for video ads as another form of "immersion".


    Adding to the idea of ads in "the language" you're using, what if you're learning more than one language? Perhaps asking:

    "Which language/s would you like to hear your ads in? "

    Have people x the ones they want to hear them in.

    Also, some people just don't want ads at all, period. Let there be that option too.

    And perhaps wording it like this: "Would you like to help Duolingo & listen to adverts in your targeted languages?" would also be good.


    I do not like the repair a lost streak for 2.99$. It pops up multiple times a day and it's very intrusive.


    I've never seen this.


    It's a beta for some people. Next time I break my streak, I'll post a topic about it with screen caps. He even says that this is one of the methods they're trying.


    When I missed two days in a row, they wanted to charge me $9.99. My streak was over 10 months. I was in an area with no WiFi or cell for a weekend. I would have done it for $0.99. I would be at a year and a half now but lost out because of one incommunicado weekend.


    Hi. I've just started trying Duolingo - but I am a long term language learning failure and have got nowhere using many sources...

    I do have a wish which might be a route to income for you.

    Background; When I've tried and failed at TYS, Pims, Nils, etc. Classroom courses and more. One thing I miss is flashcard and revision aids. I've tried cram, and it's not bad but it's just read / guess / correct. No speech, no writing etc. And I end up stuck in various ways. Now, in a way, after a week of use, seems to me Duolingo is, amongst other things a flashcard system for language learning, on steroids.

    So, given that someone has paid for a books/audio course... They might - I would - pay extra for a Duolingo tree based on, supporting and aligned with the course. So, same vocab. Similar order of development of words and concepts etc.
    Maybe such course specific content could be developed in partnership with the other publishers, included in the book price or as an add-on etc.

    My 2¢. Wish me luck!


    Please - monetize if you must - with outfits, and anything that does NOT detract from the user experience. Putting ads in the middle of the lesson detracts from the user experience. My morning duolingo session was ruined today. I eagerly await the day the ads get removed.


    I have no problem with Duolingo monetizing. But to monetize and reduce service/usefulness by removing the immersion tab is backward to say the least.


    I have only just found this thread, and am both surprised and heartened. This website has been instrumental in teaching me Spanish almost from scratch, and I am so happy with its success. The staggering cost to keep Duolingo afloat, is of course a matter that needs to be addressed, and in whichever way that is going to be possible, it will have my support.

    I believe there is currently a trial with ads, or for a monthly paid ad-free system. This sounds truly well thought out - Duolingo will always be available to those who do not have the means to pay, but to those who have the wherewithal and willingness to pay - it is ad-free and a support to keep the system paying for itself.

    I hope this stunning growth of users continues - for with each new user learning another language, the world becomes a little more able to communicate - our world peace depends on communication. Yours is a contribution to world peace. Many thanks for what you have done!


    Ha Ha. I love Duolingo so much that I would happily drop in some cash every time it needs it, just as I always donate when Wikipedia asks for a few bucks. I understand Duolingo burns $42K/day, but even if it was £100K that's way less than $1/year/user – so if a tiny fraction are happy to pay $20 or $50 once in a while, that's everyone else covered. All it needs is a donate button in the store.

    The advertising / stop advertising thing is less to my personal liking, as I prefer to donate freely. But as a way to put a bit of cash into Duolingo it's fine by me. I tried to use the 'Ad Free for 1 Month' button in my iPhone, and it said it got it, and then gave a message 'unable to connect to server'. So I've kept trying and this keeps happening, and I am still being served adverts.

    Except – Ha Ha Ha – I've just looked at my email and find I have an invoice from Apple for £17.94 for six purchase of 1 month ad free at £2.99! If this was for anything else I'd freak out, but I'm happy to see the cash go to Duolingo. Except that 20% of this goes in Value Added Tax, while 100% of a donation – or even more than 100% – would go to Duolingo.

    Anyway, Way to go Louis and Duolingo. Gute Reise, Bon chance, etc..


    There is a solution here ;) I suggest you to run a translator app for weblogers (on blogger, wpress, and so on), who wants publish his posts in many other languages. They will pay you for each translation and you will import their text into the Duolingo app. ;)


    So I just posted essentially this same comment on another discussion thread. I saw my first ad on Duolingo today and it was a very negative experience. Not necessarily because of advertising per se (though I have a negative feeling about that), but the type of ad placed had nothing to do with Duolingo .. or being an honorable business ... there was this one about refinancing your mortgage that looks like it is likely to lead you to a malware/phishing site. Like others have said here (if you must do ads), at least make the ads relevant. I'd be interested in stuff like travel to Mexico (learning Spanish).


    I think you could use the data, even if it's a hard point. As I first arrived in Germany, I had the problem that sometimes, reading an article or assisting a presentation was complicated just because I did not understand a few words. I got an idea for an app after a presentation about hybrid vehicles, from which I lost quite a lot, because I did not know the word "Antrieb" ("powertrain") as I assisted it (or at least at the beginning). Then, I wanted an app that would scan a text I want to read, or the power point of the presentation I would assist, and give me a list of vocabulary I don't know. I learn it quickly, and I read. This may be also a way to make money, if the app is able to propose contents that I'm nearly able to read (just a few words missing, that the app gives me), for example to buy on Amazon, or a video to watch on youtube. This redirection can be sold. The big advantage of Duolingo is that it knows which vocabulary I already know, from the beginning. Yes, I would have to update it from the app, or even to use flashcards later, but the very first vocabulary I have, is already known by Duolingo.


    I'm all for monetizing Duolingo! I've paid $100++ for my part-time Spanish learning so far, but not a cent of it has gone to Duolingo, because there's been no worthwhile upsell.

    I've now finally written down and shared all of my ideas for monetizing Duolingo.

    • 2126

    It was mentioned somewhere that the adverts would be good quality. For the past week or so, in the UK at least, the adverts have decended into the poorest quality PPI and similar spam-type adverts. Not great.


    I remember duolingo participants expressing wishes for this, but not any official statement about potential ad quality.

    • 2126

    Hmm... You may be right. I searched the discussions without success, so far. But I do remember Louis making a comment to that effect. Something along the lines of, if adverts were to be used they would be unobtrusive, appear only at the end of lessons and be carefully vetted to be of good quality. Maybe it was within the Guardian (UK newspaper) article and not within the discussions.

    The type of adverts currently being served (within the UK, at least) does raise concerns about the risk of cross-site malicious code injection and the like, as others have mentioned.


    As one of the founders of the (currently) UK-based alerts app ELFy, which supports people with long-term conditions like asthma, I must congratulate Duolingo for such a refreshingly transparent response to users' questions! I really sympathise with the issues here. Apps-makers globally are trying to find a way to make their businesses viable in a world where users have become used to so many things being 'free'. For worthy causes like education and health, that's great - you want users to have your app for free if you possible can. But designing and developing an app, marketing it so people hear about it, and employing people, sometimes means you have to consider things like advertising, and perhaps even starting to charge one day - or you might not be able to keep going. It's great there's so much goodwill towards Duolingo, and for fantastic causes like it. But if we want to see more such products out there in the future, and great products remaining viable, app makers and users alike will need to have more open conversations like this one.


    How about an annual fee, say $10, for those who choose ad-free, and ads for everyone else.


    You can save a lot of your money. To save you can open your office in Ukraine and hire people here. Here are very cheap places for rent and smallest salaries in the world. You will find here a lot of good programmers. The programmers which do not just write a good code but very initiative people who try to make a product better. And another good people.


    Sticking to the crowd sourcing tech side of monetizing sounds like the overall goal here so I have a few ideas on this note. Maybe the site can offer other services such as matching learners with native speakers or matching people with careers in their target language. The employers can pay for the search for multilingual applicants. Video ads can pay for the native speaker program. Oh and I would like a hoodie you're all sold out.


    Hi Luis, why do I have to pay to refill my health on the iOS app even though I've subscribed to Duolingo Plus?

    Why have the health system at all? The vast majority of iOS users consider it an obstacle to learning and just use the web app in a browser.

    [deactivated user]

      I hope you duolingo can support conlangers on the internet. What about developing incubator for conlangers so they can create duolingo course for their won conlang? Or community fourm for conlangs.


      I hope it lasts and if there's ever an issue an offline version can be purchased.


      I will pay Duolingo when we get stories in Japanese or Chinese or even Korean

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