Rosetta Stone acquires Livemocha for $8.5 million

Have you heard that?
Actually Rosetta Stone and Livemocha is very similar. LingQ is different from those of two.

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Different in the sense that it works?

I’ve never heard of Livemocha, but I just had a quick look. Right off the bat I’m immediately turned off by this:

“Learn to actually speak a new language (or two). Trust us – you can do it!”

It could be the emphasis on speaking and nothing else, or the lack of personal responsibility involved in trusting them with my education, but I feel a bit queasy already.

I then clicked on their French section, and learned (via their insightful ‘Fun Facts’) that their is a cheese named after author Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (am I supposed to know this guy? Will that be on the test?)

Yep, I have a Livemocha account and today I got a email from them telling me about the merge.
According to the email now they will be able to add new languages, tools and make the system available for more devices. With RS support, they will also release a new “Livemocha experience” which they say they’ve been testing for two years.
All of it seems great but I’m a bit suspicious, I hope they don’t make major changes on the dynamics of the system.
Even though I don’t really use Livemocha courses, I do submit some writing an speaking exercises for native speakers to correct. Nothing like having a real tutor here on LingQ but still a good free option for people who can’t afford one at the moment (by ‘people’ I mean me! haha ).

Considering that Livemocha works pretty much like Rosetta Stone, I’m not surprised by the merge. I might even have said that Livemocha basically IS Rosetta Stone - not better, not worse, only free of charge (at least a lot cheaper).

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Livemocha was one of the first language sites I used. The “old” website lessons were very frustrating because I felt I was being tested on things I had not learned in Livemocha courses. I never had a paid membership and primarily used it to explore language learning.

The best thing about Livemocha was the friends I met through the website. They encouraged me to continue with language learning, and I was able to stay in contact with a few of them after I decided Livemocha was not for me.

When I received the first email about Livemocha’s new site, I tried it out again, but I still don’t think it’s a good fit for my learning style.

I just hope it’s not a matter of them buying up the competition. What would happen to LingQ if they were offered 8.5 million for this site?

I tried Rosetta Stone. I learned almost nothing. I’ve learned more in two weeks with LingQ than I did in a year with RS.

@mlee615: “…What would happen to LingQ if they were offered 8.5 million for this site?..”

Steve’d be 8.5 million richer than he is now, I guess! :smiley:

assuming they didn’t radically change the funcionality of LingQ, and kept a monthly membership of $10, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, LingQ would have a crap ton of new users right off the bat, Steve would be a multimillionair, and we’d get to enjoy a whole new slew of Clugston rants.

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$5.8 million for livemocha does not really seem like much in the world of current website buyouts.

I used livemocha a couple of years ago and liked it. What was good, as Allisson said, was the feedback about the spoken and written FL Russian (in my case), and the acquaintances made. The lessons were okay, but I never pursued them long enough to see if they really amounted to a good intro to the language. Currently I have a year’s membership at Livemocha, because it only cost $10, but I haven’t recommenced there. . . . so actually, by now it’s a 10-month menbership for only $10. ;(

Anyway, If livemocha is still as it was 2 years ago, I bet that Rosetta Stone will degrade things there, and I feel very sorry for people who work at Livemoch, let alone those who use the site. . . . I’ve never seen such boring, useless drivel as Rosetta Stone lessons, and at astronomical prices–livemocha was and may still be much better. Rosetta Stone, I suspect, may have surpassed even U.S. high schools in regard to non-success of language instruction.

I also have an account with Livemocha and they have good and bad things; the fact that you can be corrected by native speakers for free and interact with other learners are good points, though sometimes people say “Great” and there are some mistakes indeed, I wonder why they do that. On the other hand, some texts they have that learners are asked to recite so that their pronunciation is rated don’t seem real language; I’m referring to Portuguese texts and they are written in Portuguese words, but I, as a native speaker, would never express those ideas like that. And their support doesn’t work, I sent them an email and never got an answer. And their site has broken links.

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We are continuing to try to improve LingQ. We have some new planned features, which I hope you will be able to see in the not too distant future. At the same time we are working to improve existing functionality.

Our resources are limited and obviously if someone threw a few million dollars our way we could really ramp up our development activity. But realistically that is unlikely, so we will just continue at our present pace, and enjoy what we have , not the least of which is our great community, mostly happy and appreciative, and occasionally critical (often justifiably so). We are listening and we try to respond the best we can.


I tried Livemocha out for a few months. The very first lesson requires you to write out a lengthy introduction in your target language… despite the fact that you mightn’t know a single word of said language. The thing is, that “way in over your head” situation never lets up. You’re consistently expected to write and speak the language by leaps and bounds, only to be corrected, sometimes lambasted, for not getting it perfect. Way to kill one’s enthusiasm. Forget Livemocha, I say. Good for meeting native speakers, sure - but that’s not its main function, and in that sense, it’s a failure.

I guess it depends on the motivating factors for the person. Rosetta Stone for example assumes that you are such an idiot that it’s insulting, and the pace is so slow I quickly got bored. I would almost prefer the “in over your head” scenario to the “poke along with brain dead lessons” scenario.

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Hmm, it was a while since I used Livemocha, but I can’t remember having to “write out a lengthy introduction”. It was more like writing six (usually very basic) sentences on the current topic (typically prepositions, adjectives, colours…), e.g The candy is in the box. The flowers are on the the table. The woman is rich. The car is red. The house is big. etc.

All the correction requests I got (at beginners level) followed this pattern (I think I corrected my last one half a year ago). And as for being lambasted, well, 90% of the people who did the Swedish exercises probably hadn’t studied the lesson at all, nor read the instructions. Some even replied in English (!), not that it helped - most were usually incorrect as well as incomplete (!!). I remember a handful who actually learned from my corrections/explanations/recordings - one girl improved A LOT during some six months and was really creative (she told me I was the best tutor she’d ever had - how about that!).

I just saw an interesting comment by Fluent Czech (who posts here as “Anthony Lauder”) on Moses’ Youtube channel:

He said:
“…Live Mocha was close to going bankrupt. They had already spent all of the $14,000,000 that has been invested in the company, and never made any profit. The investment from Rosetta Stone has to be seen as a good thing, since the alternative would have been Live Mocha going out of business altogether…”

I assume he wasn’t kidding? If this statement is true, it looks like the folks running Rosetta Stone are…well…completely crazy…! :-0

If this is true, about Livemocha being almost bankrupt–and it seems very possible–then what Rosetta Stone may be after is the list of language users who have registered there.

When Google bought Youtube, I don’t think the latter made a lot of money. Maybe they want to develop a mobile product or establish a presence on social interactive platforms.

@Friedemann: “…When Google bought Youtube, I don’t think the latter made a lot of money. Maybe they want to develop a mobile product or establish a presence on social interactive platforms…”

At the time when they were bought by Google, I would say that Youtube was pretty much the biggest thing since the printing press!

I think you could argue that Youtube shifted the whole paradigm of televisual media. When I was a kid, seeing interesting stuff on TV was pretty much like listening to a town-crier - if you missed it, too bad, it was basically gone for ever. (Yeah, of course there were some items which got repeated, but still…) Now - thanks in no small part to the vision of Youtube’s founders - a piece of TV-media can be treated more like a published book, of which an unlimited number of copies can be placed in a 24/7 open-access library.

Moreover, there is no longer a monopoly on the part of a few big companies as regards the production of such material.

As for Live Mocha? Well, it’s kind of difficult to avoid the impression that it’s a steaming brown swamp into which a huge amount of invested money has already vanished without a trace!

So Steve, what would you do to improve LingQ if you got given $8.5 million dollars?

Of course they need to tackle the biggest problems first. In my opinion, the biggest problem with the website is the inability of people commenting in the forum to insert little yellow faces into their posts. I suspect this is the main thing driving would be members away from LingQ and to systems like Rosetta Stone and Livemocha.