By Max Sadik
Let’s chat industry news real quick, specifically industry news that might appear amazing, but once you dig in deeper, you realize it might be quite dangerous…
You may have seen both SamCart and ThriveCart announce a course platform recently, and what’s even more surprising they both announced their course platforms would be FREE!!! Crazy right?
I mean, the lowest plan on Kajabi is $119/mo (if paid annually), so why in the world would we not switch over to a free place for our courses, especially when that free place is from a platform we already trust, no brainer, right?
Well, I was just as excited as the next guy when I got the email that they dropped the free edu platform, but 30 seconds later, I was like, “Ok, so what’s the catch? Why would they give me something for free that Kajabi, Thinkific, Teachable, etc., all charge thousands of dollars for?”
The very first question that got me puzzled was, “How in the world will they cover their expenses with hosting all those hundreds of Petabytes (or maybe even Exabytes) of video they need to store?”
(In case you are wondering what the heck is a Petabyte or an Exabyte, a petabyte is 1,000 terabytes, and an exabyte has 1,000 petabytes… yeah, a reminder that your laptop probably has 1 terabyte if it is a really expensive laptop).
Seriously though, all those educational platforms are so expensive because it is very expensive to host and stream all that video. The issue for the platforms is two-fold:
So, of course, because of these two issues, it makes it very cost-prohibitive to store those types of large quantities of video and therefore why none of these educational platforms actually store their own video…
(Kajabi for example, uses Wistia to host all of the videos).
But, services like Wistia, Vimeo, etc. are expensive, which is why Kajabi, Teachable, Thinkific are all expensive, they have to pay for the video platforms and also cover their own costs and also make a profit.
So now I am sitting at my desk scratching my head wondering how in the world can both SamCart and ThriveCart give that away for free, they must be printing money or something, right?!?
It turns out the answer is much simpler than that, they just don’t. Wait what? What do you mean they don’t, you just said they are both offering to host courses for free, what do you mean they don’t?!?
I mean exactly that, they are allowing you to create a course but the video lessons need to be stored somewhere else and embedded into your course on SamCart or ThriveCart.
So now you are probably thinking, “ok, that’s fair, if I am getting the platform for free I can just pay for Vimeo and store my lessons there, right?” And that is very true, you could do that, the only problem is that Vimeo is $139/mo (if paid monthly) for the type of plan that you will need if you plan to upload large video files for your course (yep, that is more expensive than Kajabi, Thinific, Teachable, etc.). While Vimeo does have cheaper plans they have a limit to how many GB you can upload per month and per year, and from our experience those limits would not allow most to upload an entire course. For high quality video it is not uncommon for one lesson to be as large as 1 GB and the lowest Vimeo plan would only allow you to upload 5 GB per month.
Ok, then forget Vimeo; I’ll just use YouTube!
I can upload all my lessons to YouTube for free and just keep the videos as unlisted and embed those into my free SamCart or ThriveCart course, right? Well, you could, but that will probably end up not going so great.
How so? For starters, your YouTube video will have links to other unrelated videos on YouTube (by other people) at the end of every lesson, which is less than professional.
But even worse, anyone can download your lessons in just 2 minutes and then sell them on Reddit for $5…
Yep, that happened to me (Max) 🙁 Check out this Reddit thread. Unfortunately, my name’s at the end of this list of hundreds of educators this person stole courses from and is selling on Reddit.
Want to see how quickly a YouTube embedded video can be ripped off? Watch this loom to see Max do it in less than a minute:
So now here is the million-dollar question, pay $119/mo for a platform that has been around for 10 years or pay $139/mo for Vimeo to build your course on a platform that has been around for 10 days.
For Shannon and I, this seems to be a no-brainer.
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