EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 334 - May 05, 2013 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 6

Become a More Knowledgeable Seller with Lynda.com

By Mark O'Neill

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Not everyone is a natural when it comes to the computer and the Internet. While some people like myself are addicted to email, Facebook, eBay, and the Net in general, there are others like my parents who are not so technologically fluent. This creates a barrier to learning more about the Internet and computers because the whole topic feels complicated and unapproachable.

But a paid site called Lynda.com aims to demystify computers and the Internet through 1,700 in-depth and informative education videos. I will be looking at it today to see if it is worth $25 a month, especially in the age of YouTube where everything there is free of charge, on an Internet where everyone expects everything to be free.

Video Tutorials for Online Sellers
After signing up for your free trial and logging in to Lynda.com, you will begin to see the videos on offer. If you go to the main overview page, you will find a list of every video they offer. From there, you can find the ones most applicable to your area of expertise.

If you are reading EcommerceBytes, then I assume online selling is your area of interest, so the sections you would probably need the most would be ecommerce (obviously), logo design, online marketing and web design. Those four subject areas alone consist of a total of 145 video tutorials, so there's a lot to watch and a lot to learn.

You can also browse the videos by the type of software needed, such as Adobe products, Apple, Apache, Android and so on. If you develop a fondness for a particular presenter, you can even filter the videos by name. There are many topics and many types of software that are applicable to the online seller, and so Lynda.com becomes a valuable resource for those looking to expand their knowledge base.

Quality of Presentations
But how good are the videos? Well, I watched the ones in the ecommerce section, especially the few in the eBay sub-section. And quality-wise they are quite good. Each video has a well-spoken presenter and the picture and sound quality are crystal. When it comes to the information, some of the videos really do dumb it down a bit and go RIGHT down to basics (one shows you how to set up an eBay account, which I would have thought was rather straightforward and didn't need a training video. But maybe that's just me).

Other videos start to get really complicated, such as how to set up your own online store with Magento or Dreamweaver with PHP. If you have more than one monitor, you can play the video on one monitor and set up the required software on the main monitor.

Features and Pricing
If you find more than one video you want to watch, you can add them to a queue, so you don't lose track of them. You can also create playlists so you can keep the videos organized. Videos can be dragged and dropped between different playlists by using your mouse.

Closed captioning (subtitles) are also available on some videos for those with hard of hearing, or deafness. Not only that, but you are even provided with zip files containing "exercise files" of what you will need to follow along with the instructor. These can be downloaded on the course page.

Lynda.com offers a free trial period for 7 days so you can see if you like it. If so, then to continue the membership, as I said, costs $25 a month. This is obviously a whopping amount to pay every month, and so only the most dedicated learners are going to pay that on a long-term basis. The site would be better served if they lowered their monthly fee to between $10 and $15. That way, they make it more affordable to a lot more people. Struggling sellers may find it hard, even impossible, to come up with $25 a month for training videos.

According to a Lynda.com spokeswoman, they are adding on average about 24 new courses a month, so in their eyes, the membership becomes more and more valuable each month. But nevertheless, would you pay $25 every month? In the age of YouTube, when tutorial videos on every subject under the sun abound (albeit with varying degrees of quality), would you prefer free, or would you prefer high quality with a hefty price tag attached?


About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, MakeUseOf.com. He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'Neill.org.


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