SSi Forum

The (almost) end of 'free' SSiW


Understand why you can’t keep on giving so much for free, but I’m pleased that you’re doing some form of free taster as I’m convinced that hooks people in.
Also, you must still have people like me who are still paying the old rates but have paid it for years, use no support and often don’t look at the site very much now - except to do gentle boosts. I’m happy to continue paying this old fee even if I don’t use the site enough, because I want to support the learning of Welsh.

I’m still a long way from fluent but I’m able to converse, understand much more and feel my language!

Onwards to more success. I think you’re wonderful!


I feel exactly the same way! I’m probably not learning as much as I should, not using the materials as much as I should, but I like to check out the forum regularly and go back over lessons every so often, and for that I’m happy to keep paying the old rate, probably indefinitely. BUT if it were £10 / month I would definitely have cancelled as soon as I realised I wasn’t making the most of the site. And that’s no criticism of SSIW; the materials on offer are fantastic, it’s simply because I have a lazy approach to learning that probably isn’t suited to monthly subscriptions!


I wonder if this says something really important about the status and progress of the spoken Welsh language, that enough people want to pay to learn it for this to be both possible and necessary? I mean, enough people supporting the whole project to support 10 F/T and 5 P/T staff (all non-furloughed?!) is pretty significant! What an achievement - llongyfarchiadau o galon.


This makes complete sense to me. I did the ‘one sentence’ - and I think it’s important to keep that so people can find out how it works and make sure it’s for them - but then I subscribed and it’s the best £100 I’ve ever spent. It’s completely worth it and I love that you’re offering scholarships too for people who can’t afford it as easily as me. Well done all of you!


I personally have no issue paying - I subscribed very early on into my learning even though I could have had it for free. I see it as in investment in myself and when compared with the more traditional classroom courses, the pricing is very favourable. (Although I’m not suggesting you put it up :joy:) One cheeky suggestion though for further down the road, maybe a discount or reward of sorts for a recommendation that leads to a new paying customer? Just a thought! Diolch for the journey so far (I hate the J word - sorry - I’m sure the Welsh for said word is much better!) Can’t wait to continue efo chdi!


Good idea about the reward for introducing new members IMO @lynne-ryan . The T word in Welsh is “taith” I’ll leave someone else to offer a translation for “rollercoaster” :laughing:


Smashing, thank you! :slight_smile:


I started with Level1 for free and I am now doing the paid for Level 2. Will these levels continue?


Helo pawb. To echoes others here, as someone who has meant to start SSI for some time (and to learn Cymraeg for longer still), the subscription model is genuinely good value - especially when you consider how much we all pay for other subscriptions to various other services that don’t offer the opportunity to learn a new, useful skill.

The single sentence taster is sufficient in demonstrating the method and how useful it is as a learning aid, I feel. It certainly had me hooked, and wanting more! £10 a month is a small price to pay for the depth and breadth of resources and support on offer - I pay it gladly. :slight_smile:


Yes, everything will continue - it’s just that the first 15 challenges of Level 1 will no longer be available for free as they have been.


As the saying goes: all good things must come to an end.
Looking back, I suppose the free challenges weren’t really free as such, just that someone else was paying for them :smile:


Hi Aran. I run a small business that similarly offers courses (on a completely different subject) and is centred around really wanting to help people, so I appreciate the wrestling that goes into a decision about giving stuff away vs charging. For what it’s worth, I think it’s great that you’ve come to the conclusion you have. The benefit I’ve personally got from learning Welsh with you, plus the forums, Slack and everything else, makes the cost of the course feel like pretty extraordinary value for money! I love the idea of a scholarship programme too.

One of the things we’ve started experimenting with is offering a free mini-course live online to a lot of people simultaneously - turning it into an event and a social experience at the same time. Exhausting, but really fulfilling - and great for sales. Happy to chat about that offline if it’s helpful :grinning:


Hmm. I can’t comment on this from a point of view of business model or numbers of learners, becasue I’m not running a business, and I haven’t seen the numbers: @aran has, and I trust his judgment. However, as a user, it feels to me to be a shame to go all the way down to a single-sentence taster.

My personal experience of using SSiW is that I came to it when there were the new Challenges (as well as the more-or-less archived Lessons) but not yet any of the newer, structured approach, having already finished everything that was available on Duolingo Welsh at the time. So I thought – mistakenly, obviously – that I already “spoke Welsh” and would just give this other course a go as a bit extra; I assumed – mistakenly – that if there was no written component and no explicit grammar it couldn’t be all that rigorous, but it might be worth giving it a try. Because I’d already done the Duolingo I don’t think there was anything in the first Challenge that I didn’t already know, although having to respond orally under time pressure (rather than some written multiple choice thing) was novel, and an enjoyable challenge. I can’t remember now, but I think I did the second Challenge the same day as the first – but by the end of the second Challenge I had begun to get the feeling of having had a real mental workout, that this really was something different.

I can’t remember at what point I changed to a paid subscription: I’m fairly sure it was before I reached the end of Level 1, and although I got grandfathered in with a good deal, I am – like @alisonspencer and, I suspect, a number of others – happy to continue to pay that sub even though I’m taking less from the site, as a way of putting something back. There’s a genuine gratitude towards and sense of community about SSiW that I have rarely, if ever, felt for any other service I’ve paid for: it feels more like a club subscription than a commercial transaction, and that’s lovely.

Having got a paid subscription I then steamed through the Courses and the Challenges at the rate of at least one a day, until within a couple of months I had reached a level in Welsh that in other languages I had taken literally years of evening classes to get to. I was unapologetically evangelical about singing its praises as a methodology to anyone and everyone – and still am. I’ve got the kids going through SSiSpanish with me now (so I do still get something out of the polyglot sub!) and, again like many others, I wish it were available for pretty much every language I’m interested in. In the competition/drive to recruit new learners I went back to being unashamedly evangelical, with a certain amount of success.

But the thing is, I’m sure I wouldn’t have made that decision on the basis of one sentence. It took me at least two Challenges – possibly more like five – to get to the point where I could feel how novel, how effective it was. I know this must be a decision taken carefully and thoughtfully, and based on the actual evidence of where new learners are coming from, so I’m sure the number of potential learners lost in consequence must be small. But I think there will be some losses – I know I would have been one. If it were up to me – it isn’t – I think I’d want there to still be a bit more than just one sentence; I could wholly understand, say, five free Challenges rather than fifteen, but I think “none” is a shame.


I so agree with Richard. I can’t remember how many people I’ve told to use the system. If anyone even uses the word Welsh to me, I promote the site. Evangelism is the word.
On that, I’m wondering whether, as dedicated supporters, we become ‘members’ of a club for our subs.


become ‘members’ of a club for our subs.

I have been actively supporting SSiX for many years through my subscription and growth club monthly donations, and I certainly have never wondered that. I personally feel a net beneficiary of SSi’s resources, activities and support. The only difference between you (Alison) as a long time member and backer of SSiW and me, I guess, is that I don’t fear that the proposed financial changes will change anything.

I feel sure that your active promotion of SSiW up to now has been important for the language and much appreciated. :star2:


Thank you.


Well I was never aware that any of it was free! It doesn’t bother me though, I’m happy enough to pay - I think the fees are very reasonable. I think the scholarship idea is brilliant and I will pass on the news :slight_smile:


I was never aware it was free either and I think it’s great value for money. From experience if people get things for free, they often want more, or never truly appreciate the gesture, whereas if you pay you generally a) make sure you get your money’s worth, b) are grateful.

I think it’s an amazing course, so no apology needed.


Just want to say a very sincere thank you to everyone who’s posted in here - your kindness, your ideas, your suggestions are all hugely valuable to us.

When we can afford to take a slightly more aggressive position with our marketing, we will probably run some tests to see how people respond to a trial month - the likelihood seems to be that we will reach more people like that, but that we will need to be able to afford to lose advertising money for longer before we recoup it, which is currently very difficult for us. But it’s my hope that in the end, a trial month will be our standard model… :slight_smile:


Hi Aran, my personal opinion is that giving at least some sort of free trial is beneficial with language learning products (and indeed for products and services in many areas of business) simply because it allows people to see what the product/method is like before they pay any money. If they enjoy the free trial and see it works effectively for them, they are more likely to then sign up for the paid courses/monthly subscriptions after that I feel.

I agree you were being far too generous by giving away all of Course 1/Level 1 free, and that you need to make changes for the reasons you’ve outlined. I reckon letting people try the first lesson or 2 of Level 1 courses free of charge for each language would be more than good enough.

Ultimately, though, you have to make the final decision as to what you feel is best for SSI, so best of luck. I’m happy to be a monthly subscriber to help support you and it brings great enjoyment to me to learn this way too. I think what lured me in in the first place was getting to try some of it for free as it left me wanting more and after that I was happy to start paying.