02 Sep 2015 Shutterstock to Close Skillfeed
From today they’re no longer accepting new subscribers nor instructors. The platform will continue functioning for existing members up until September 30th when website will be officially shut down.
The notice posted on Skillfeed’s website says the service was “at a crossroads” and that after considering all options, the company decided to terminate it.
What Was Skillfeed?
Skillfeed was released in June 2013. It was a platform that applied the crowdsourcing model to e-learning.
It worked on a monthly subscription basis that gave unlimited access to video-tutorials for creatives and digital professionals to improve their skills. Tutorials were sourced from independent instructors, curated and grouped into intensive courses or as quick stand-alone lessons.
This service was very similar to Envato’s TutsPlus network which is among the top – if not the very top – player in tutorial marketplaces.
Shutterstock has become a very broad business with quite a few different customer groups:
- Stock photos
- Stock footage
Around the time Skillfeed was launched, Shutterstock was describing itself as a creator of services in two-sided markets, of which stock and tutorials were two. I haven’t seen them use that description recently, and Skillfeed’s closure likely means they’re probably not looking to expand into other two-sided markets in the near future. Without Skillfeed they’re still very broad.
Possible Reasons for Closure
It’s quite likely that Skillfeed didn’t get sufficient traction. Entering as a new player in an established market is difficult when you don’t have anything to leverage. Shutterstock leveraged their user base, offering discounts and extended free trials to their existing customers, but without the other side of the market (a high quantity of quality tutorials) the conversion must have been low. Shutterstock didn’t have the same access to the tutorial-writing community as they had for consumers of tutorials (image buyers) so had nothing to leverage.
There’s also the issue that the majority of Skillfeed tutorials were about Adobe products, and now that Adobe has become Shutterstock’s largest competitor, it didn’t make as much sense to continue the business if it wasn’t growing rapidly.