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The Webucator letter

I received a peculiar email from a company called Webucator late last week:

Hi Colin,

My name is Lee Fifield and I'm a Technology Evangelist at Webucator. We are working on a free JavaScript Solutions from the Web course, in which we demonstrate how to use some of the different JavaScript solutions available on the web. We would be interested in including JavaScript Functions, Constructors, and This, Demystified as one of these. There is no cost to you. All we ask is that, assuming you're happy with the video we create, you include the video on your website and credit Webucator by providing a link to our JavaScript training ([link deleted]).

Please feel free to check out any of our free JavaScript videos on our YouTube channel ([link deleted]) and let me know if you would be interested.

Thanks, Lee

It seems this company has been doing the rounds for a while. Here’s someone who received the exact same email in September, and another who received it in November.

I’m not normally one to be bothered by dumb solicitations like these (normally they just go straight to the trash), but the overall pitch, complete with smarmy “no cost to you”, managed to push my buttons.

So, Webucator would like some free publicity on my Web site? Cool. No problem. Here you go!

First of all, Dear Lee: Thanks for writing. No, you can’t take and use my content, for free, to make money on your training business. No, I won’t give you links so you can increase your search engine ranking. I don’t think what you are doing is OK, and I’m not the only one that feels this way. I hope you like this blog post. Have a nice day.

To anyone who receives a similar letter and considers saying “yes”: think for a moment about what you’d be getting out of this deal. Out of 227 videos that Webucator have on their YouTube channel, fewer than half—just 108, in fact—have received even 100 views.

You’re giving this company free publicity and marketing, bumping them up in search results, for what? Zero dollars, fewer than 100 impressions on YouTube, and a cheapening of your reputation. Why would you do that? You’re better than that.

To anyone thinking about hiring Webucator for training: You might be wondering things like “Webucator sucks?”, “Webucator scam?”, “Webucator fakes ratings?”, or “Webucator JavaScript training is bad quality?”. I don’t know. I really just put these words here in case anyone searches for them. We might as well all play the grey-hat SEO game, eh? :)

What I can say to anyone looking for a training company is that it takes a lot of skill to create really good training materials. In my opinion, Webucator is sending these letters because it’s cheaper and easier for them to do so than it is to hire qualified engineers to create and deliver good, original trainings. And that’s garbage.

So, instead of hiring a company that cuts corners like Webucator, I’d recommend that you consider someone great like Bocoup or SitePen. I know from experience that these two companies offer excellent trainings, delivered by real experts, with their own great training materials written by their own great employees. Webucator? Not so much, from what I can tell.