Aggressive monetizing on Android app (Possibly A/B test)

There have been discussions regarding monetization of Duolingo for a while. The usual course of those discussion was, that users actually WANTED to give you guys money, but you were hesitant to implement most ideas based on your 'keeping education free' policy and not inconveniencing users.

A bit later, ads appeared on the Android app.

You decided to make them slightly inconvenient by requiring user interaction and introduced a way to get rid of them temporarily. That solution seems to be on the expensive side for me (>>100$/year, if booked every month), others seem to see more reasonable amounts, though. So far, so acceptable, though quite a step from your former policy.

A week or so ago, you apparently decided to make things even more inconvenient by replacing the former 'no thanks' with a link directly to the payment option. Simply canceling the ad was moved to a rather inconspicious x in the top left corner.

Makes me wonder, how you're going to step up the beat once users got used to that change, as well as how that's agreeing with your initial policy.

March 21, 2017


If you think Duo's advertising is agressive then you haven't seen any aggressive advertising. I have a dual language dictionary where each advert decides on how you can ignore it. Some use a countdown clock, others use a floating text bar with position and size variable others use no means of ignoring it until after an unseen delay.

Duolingo needs a viable business plan and their previous funding plans are no longer successful. They are trying out various ideas which may be a bit inconvenient but still keep the basic concept of free language learning.

Of course, if it is too inconvenient, you are free to try other online sources. For me though, Duo is still one of the best sources I know of so I personally will be staying.

March 21, 2017

While I agree that Duo's advertising is far from agressive, I do think that more than 100$ a year are a bit much. I don't know what margin they are A/B testing but personally I would prefer something like 2$ a month and a donate button for anyone wishing to give more. Either way as long as all the language content is available for free I don't see a problem with Duo's policy

March 21, 2017

I agree that paying $/€ 8.34 per month is a bit much. I thought they offered it like $/€ 8.99 per month? IIRC, they A/B tested it with different prices; some groups got it like $/€ 3 or 4.99 a month, whereas other groups got higher or lower prices.

Anyways, something like $/€ 2,- a month and a donate button seems indeed much more sensible for me. It might not be what the goal of Duolingo is - to provide free education for all - but that way people would perhaps be more satisfied with the monetisation.

I completely understand DL's stance on their monetisation, though.

March 21, 2017

The 2$ per month I suggested would still be to remove the adds, so it'd be optional and the learning still free. Well let's wait and see what Duo will do

March 22, 2017

Well said! Like any successful enterprise, whether we're talking about a business, culture, or community, things change. Duolingo has grown leaps and bounds since it was first introduced, and many of the original plans and concepts have evolved.

March 21, 2017

I'm really fine with a monetization effort per se, as I want Duolingo to succeed. I was among the crowd opting for a donation button when nothing was in the works.

What I'm at odds with is the sneaky way stuff got implemented lately, especially when replacing the location for canceling the add with a link to the shop (and no change notice/warning whatsoever). And that's mainly because of the positive image I have of Duolingo.

March 29, 2017
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