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Small Rant of an Iphone User

Hi everyone, long time duolingo user here who has used the app on many devices for about a year now.

I have noticed some changes to the iOS app that have taken place and wanted to voice my opinion, even if nobody reads it.

To start off with a thesis: The Ads will only become worse on the Duolingo App.

There are direct trends which have lead me to believe that the developers place more efficient ad revenue tactics in the app rather than respond and work alongside the growing quality of life suggestions that the community puts forth every day. This is especially true for the iOS application.

For example, this app was originally ad free. Then the updates came with ads after each lesson. These ads of course are skippable and since they were placed at the end of each lesson, it does not really interfere with your progress nor is it blatantly in your face.

Next came the timer delay. Duolingo pushed an update that added a timer to allow for the ad to "fade in" completely before you are able to skip it. I'm not sure what happened to cause this change, I might have missed the reasoning but the transparency would be nice.

There is now a recent update in which, in the middle of your lesson, Duo the bird pops in and makes a remark about your progress. This is what took me back as something that is kind of suspicious. I love Duo as much as the next guy, but popping in during the middle of a lesson seems to warrant some questions.

Based on previous ad updates committed to the duolingo app, I suspect that there will, soon, exist ads in this short pop up where Duo says hello. The reasoning would be that they're attempting to condition users to welcome these interruptions and encourage the spending of 10 USD for 30 days of ad-free language learning.

The obvious reason: A direct inhibition of lesson completion speed will compel users to have the urge to pay. A wonderfully smart tactic if you ask me.

Nonetheless, this is not a rant against ads. This is merely a prediction of what (at least the iOS app) Duolingo will become. The iOS app apparantly has a troubling development process, and I'm just an average user, but I feel that when blatant ad changes are pushed and prioritized before nearly 2-3 year implementation requests ( like implementing sentence discussions ), it does show that while Duolingo does appear to want to help people, it is still a business.

Again, I'm not trying to complain, I just wanted to write my thoughts and share them with everyone. Duolingo is a wonderful app and website. I appreciate everything the development team does and I understand the difficulty in producing a phone application and keeping users happy. If you made it to the end, thanks for reading.

September 13, 2017



I've noticed Duo popping up, too, although he does this very rarely to me; I find your theory entirely plausible.
However, so many apps are full of ads, that so long as they skippable/ignorable one learns not to pay them much attention (unless one wants to). What worries me far more (in general, not specifically with regard to DL) is that the new iPhone will apparently be able to detect when one is paying attention to it. If app-designers can use this functionality to insist we (really) look at ads, then I'll be taking the first one-way trip I can find back to the Dark Ages...


wow. im glad i now use the computer version of duolingo. And when i did use the iOS version there were a lot more pop ups than usual. That tactic that you mentioned sounds evil. Its REALLY smart like you said. But kind of evil XD. You should just use the computer version there are no ads or pop ups there. and you aren't obligated to do anything.


I think evil is a too strong a word to describe these advertising techniques. Hitler and his cronies were evil and I imagine the leader of N Korea as being evil, but trying different techniques to get you to watch these ads is way down the list of evil actions.


Yeah, Ive found that the site on mobile browser version works pretty well. Im probably going to migrate to it. Yeah like you said, it does sound evil. It's what companies do though so I can't really fault them for it


the thing is i really never expected duolingo to do this type of money grabbing scheme. I thought they were all about "keeping education free" but i guess i was wrong.


But it's still free. They have to make money somehow. It costs an unbelievable amount of money to host everything. How else can they stay in business? People who can afford to do so can pay to remove ads. Everyone else still gets a free education. It's not a "money-grabbing scheme". There are many, many expenses involved that the average person might not think about. I believe I read the cost is somewhere around $40,000 a day ($14,000,000 per year). That is not pocket change, my friend.


"Duo the bird pops " this can be deactivated in the settings.


doesnt seem so in the iOS app. there isnt a setting that I saw that relates to it at all.


Oh, I'm on Android let me check where it is it might be similar.


That's one of my arguments if it turns out to be true, they seem to be marketing the iOS app with more and more irritating changes. The android app was fantastic, perfect in every way. Moving to iOS there are noticeable extreme changes towards ads and downright frustrating changes that do nothing.


I've seen complains about Duolingo popping up for Android users for probably most of this year if not more (i.e. they were subjected to this annoying intrusion first). I don't think they originally had a turn-off button. Perhaps iOS will get it in time as well (if the pop-up Duo proves useful for Duo's metrics for iOS and thereby winds up sticking around).


Interesting thought. So far I only get ads at the end of practices or lessons, no pop up yet. I have iOS as well on my iPod. I have noticed that instead of no thanks at the bottom of the ad, they have put a link to Duo Plus so I have to click the X at the top left o move through it.


I updated the app yesterday and now have this link to Duo Plus.I t threw me until I saw the X top left. Also got health back, which disappeared about 2/3 weeks ago.


Noticed it as well, and I agree I guess it will be used for ads later. There is no real value in having an interruption in the middle of you learning session just telling you, that you are doing a great job. But I guess Duolingo gave up iOS app or having weird product managers. Instead of any functionalities, like getting the sentence discussion/Q&A, we get Duo the owl telling us stuff and a useless health system. If they use Duo-popups for ads, I will drop iOS app and use Web only, it's really annoying, especially if one looks back 2-3 years and the app just became worse

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