Code School Has a Nice Business

I love auto-incrementing URLS. Usually, webdevs rewrite their URLs with usernames or hashed strings. But every now and then you get something like Code School:

So you can change the '355' to any number and it will take you to that user's page.

I was impressed to find that Code School has around 172,421 users at the time of this writing. That's way more than I would've guessed.

I'm sure their competitors Codecademy and Treehouse would be astonished with those numbers as well.

I'd guess that 5% of those users are paying customers and I think that's super-conservative. So here's the math:

172,421 users * 5% active = 8621 active users
8621 * $25 monthly fee = $215,525 monthly sales
$215,525 * 12 months = $2,586,300 annual sales

Of course that's an estimate and I think a low one - it could be double that. I'd expect them to be somewhere between $3-5mm a year.

So what did I learn during this 30 minutes of web sleuthing?

  1. Code School has a lot of users. (At least, more than I thought.)
  2. A lot of people want to learn how to code. (And that's a good thing.)
  3. Online learning can be a profitable business. (I don't know how profitable. Producing these courses is expensive. I bet Code School spends close to $100k on each course.)
  4. You shouldn't use auto-incrementing URLs in your app, ever. (I could build a nice targeted email list from scraping their users profiles.)