There really isn’t a more simple answer to this question : Yes I think they are. As a former teacher on there platform and leaving because of mistreatment and unethical behavior out of frustration and not wanting to be associated with their brand no further I strongly recommend teachers not to engage in relationships with this platform.
Here is a small example of there unethical actions of just the last few days. I will try to keep you posted anytime I notice actions like this you can follow them on this feed.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting so many emails from Udemy pushing me to buy a course from there platform – these emails came directly from there internal efforts mainly 2 types of emails one for a 65-75% global discounts and the other was an email to push me to buy the course “The Complete iOS 7 Course – Learn by Building 14 Apps”. So far so good and why not there promoting a specific course testing out how well they can sell one course(got about 5 emails on this offer alone directly form udemy staff members or through there global newsletter).
And here comes the unethical action on there end. On 03/15/2014 Danielle Leslie sent out an email to there teachers:
In short Danielle Leslie claims that the market place is so effective that a group of teachers are making over 250k in less then 3 months giving credit to the teachers for there efforts in promoting the course. The reality on the ground is that Udemy have inflated and created this profit stream for one exclusive course they even marketed it themselves very aggressively over the last few weeks. I’ll let you connect the dots on your own but do you think this is ethical behavior? I want to know post your comment below.
Some more background information: My research indicates that the top 100 teachers make in average a net income of $500 a month or less(Udemy does not publish this information as such these figures are informal but sources close to Udemy confirmed to me that they are true). While they claim to have over 5000 it means that an overwhelming amount of teachers do not make much out of there efforts. Another known factor is that most teachers(as far as we know) make only 25-50% of net sales on Udemy. As Udemy does not publish detailed figures but only promote information that is usually partial we urge you not to trust their email marketing.
Udemy sometimes uses ambiguous expressions such as $XXX “in sales” or “sold $XXX worth of courses”, which may variously mean the $ amount before Udemy took a cut or the $ amount that would have resulted from sales at the full price. (reported by a source close to Udemy).
Update 1: A student reported to us that the course is being offered for $10 while it is posted as a $199 course. (an issue we hear about often – please avoid paying retail on Udemy as most courses are offered at 75% off or $10 almost all of the time). – we recommend you contact teachers directly and demand to buy your course on other platforms.
If you have any other facts or evidence of unethical actions of Udemy please don’t hesitate to contact me with the information so I can help the community know about it. Please feel free to comment below if you agree or not I would love to hear your perspective.