The Dirty Secret about Udemy — Steemit

The Dirty Secret about Udemy

in training •  6 months ago


Udemy is a very well known online course marketplace. I use the term "well known" instead of popular because many people hate Udemy and what it stands for, myself included.

Udemy offers courses from photography, art, game development, and machine learning. They are typically priced in a few hundred dollar ranges but are almost always on sale for $10-$20. As you can see above, this $199.99 course is on sale for $9.99, for only 5 more days! That's because in 5 days it will be on another sale for $9.99 or $11.99. If you pay more than $15 for a course on Udemy, you likely got ripped off. At least in terms of what the normal price of the course is.

What's the problem?

The first problem with Udemy is this perpetual sale, it is virtually forced on all instructors on the site to offer a $9.99-$15 price tag during these "site-wide" sales. This means if you want to get $9.99 for your course, you need to charge $199. If you want more than $9.99, well tough luck because you will lose the race to the bottom.


You can see from their banner above they are promoting the price for courses even though the courses are created and priced by individual instructors who act as subcontractors for the site.

Racing to the bottom

This is just the same race to the bottom mentality that plagues most app stores like the Apple App Store. The difference is it isn't driven by consumer demands, it is driven by platform (Udemy) and their marketing practices.

$9.99 is a fantastic price for a course, even if you learn just one thing you typically come out ahead. The problem is most courses on Udemy are 5-40 hours and are absolute shit. That's a lot of time to invest in anything, especially something that isn't the best resource available. Most users go to Udemy for programming courses (I'm guessing, I could be wrong) and there are some amazing free YouTube videos that do a better job at explaining these topics. In fact, that's a big part of why I wrote this post. Not because I want to suggest using free courses on YouTube instead of Udemy, but to share something from a content producer I have a lot of respect for.

If you program in python or do machine learning, you have likely run into SentDex. He creates a mind-boggling amount of free content on YouTube on both topics that are better than most paid courses. He is happy offering that content for free and monetizing it using other methods.

Here's the rub

His free courses are frequently uploaded to Udemy by third parties and offered for free for a short period of time. They are then converted to a paid course once they have acquired enough reviews and students for the course.

Content Theft

This happens often to content creators who publish a lot of great content on YouTube for free. A typical course has about 30-60 videos, and each video has to be DMCA'd individually before you can get them removed. You cannot do a DMCA on an entire course, but you can only see the first 1-2 videos for free. So a content developer like Sentdex has to purchase the course from his thief, and manual DMCA all 30-60+ videos one at a time. When filing a DMCA, all the content creators private information is included in the report, but nothing is known of the user who stole the content.

If Sentdex wanted to go ahead and sue, he would have to subpoena Udemy and hope their information will be released. Then go through the long and expensive process of receiving justice (not likely successfully). If all he wants to do is remove the course so no one else financially benefits from his work or gets fooled into thinking it is Sentdex, he has to purchase the course and manually review and report all the individual videos.

Sentdex released a good video that describes a lot of what is going on. The problem is Udemy encourages this practice with how they handle their marketing and instructor payment program. Even if Udemy takes the course down in the end, they have received lots of marketing and users funded by the instructor (or in this case the thief) of the course and come out positive regardless as a result of the 97% instructor coupon code reward program.

Great video about the problems from a content creators perspective

I have about 20-30 courses on Udemy until I realized most of the courses are shit and not worth the time involved. Even if none of this was a problem, the practice of site-wide race to the bottom forced by the platform encourages low effort shit content, a problem we know too well on Steemit.

Online training is a YUUGE industry

Selling courses (especially third-party developed courses) is a very big business. There are tons of sites offering paid courses of varying quality. Those of you in the United States will understand when I say Udemy is the Walmart of this industry.

I highly recommend you watch the above video (20 minutes) to fully understand much more of the problem from a content producers point of view. I have considered creating courses on Udemy for a long time, but I really want no part of their ecosystem.

There are some great instructors on Udemy, and it is frustrating to have to get to them via Udemy and support their shit show.


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I didn't realize they were high jacking content like that. They have compelling marketing in a way with the slip stream ads on YouTube that could certainly suck a person in. I have never personally purchased a course on there.

I heard good things about Team Tree House coding courses. they have a 7 day free trial and was thinking about checking it out. Have you ever had experience with that site?


TreeHouse is great, not as many courses but good stuff. Lynda is another great resource. But at this point, there isn't much you can't get off YouTube if you look hard enough.

A good course has the advantage of exposing you to a lot of related things you might never know to search for.


Do you have any other great youtubers in mind that create great educating material about coding, neural networks or machine learning?


Yeah, there are a lot.

Kevin Markham is great for intro to Machine Learning (he only focuses on SciKit Learn though, but does a lot of Pandas which is a key skill for more advanced DL).

Jeremy Howard does awesome Deep learning videos.

Deep Learning TV has some good intro videos

SentDex does a lot of Deep Learning/Machine Learning.

Siraj does a lot but I highly recommend staying away, he is kind of the black sheep, he is really popular but is all show he really doesn't know much. Most of his code doesn't work and some is stolen.


Forgot to thank you for the reply. Have you created something yourself with machine learning? How does it compare to just basic coding as a developer experience; is it fun? :)


Yes, I played a lot with Machine and Deep learning, it is a blast. A lot too it, but you can solve some interesting problems not before possible.


Thanks, that's the final push I needed :)


Team treehouse are the best man! I learned how to code Android apps from them. They're courses are nice and well explained, and personally I really enjoyed the fact that they give you actual projects to work on while you learn through the course. Like you don't just sort numbers or do stuff with no actual purpose. They also have a nice forum and some quizzes for you.


That is good to hear! I will certainly have to check out the free trial with them.

I used to purchase more than 10 courses on Udemy, but some of the content are really bad, which ended up I need to refund it. However, they are really a few great Udemy courses on programming too, with such a low price, you can enrol into a course with lecturer support in Q&A section.

Another issue with Udemy is that some courses are shared on torrent site, which make the content creator life even harder.


There are some great courses, there are one or two instructors I really like on Udemy. But if you purchased 100 courses, it will likely come in at around 2-3 that were worth the time and money.


wow,i thought i was the only one that noticed it, some persons i know get udemy paid courses free .


I found my course on torrents too haha. Not much Udemy can do about it, take one down, it pops up somewhere else.


Hmm, do you imply that free course sites like Sololearn are better off?

Humm... Most users go to Udemy for programming courses (I'm guessing, I could be wrong)

Well, that's definitely my case, and unfortunately I can't say I have finished any of the paying course I took so far. It's mainly my fault, lack of time and discipline, even if I didn't give up completely, but it's true that some courses are either too shody or too complex. It's hard to get the right balance. However, I always get answers and help from the creators, which is really helpful.

Seems a tough business for them though :-/


Some instructors are very good and spend a lot of time answering questions. Many are not and unfortunately ratings are not a good indicator to which is which.

How low and scammy must someone be to get kicked out of Udemy?
And still, we have that one T20 witness.

I never used Video for learning programming, as I find it better to read about it and exercise it by writing stuff myself. Especially if you look just for one part and need to skip/watch a 2 hour long video, where you could have just Crtl-F looked for it..


LOL Jerry Scamfield. (Names were changed to protect the not so innocent).

I used to be a big fan of reading books, but I like videos a lot. It is more time consuming though but books are generally out of date these days.


Me to @isnochys. I think reading and practicing is more understandable than watching video. Sometimes accent do mislead teaching.

I have always been wondering to pay for a course at Udemy, but never got the right motivation and the time to shift there. After reading your article I'm quite thankful for the insight. Alone the fact that content is stolen, being marketed as their own and then getting paid for it, is something I wouldn't consider supporting. But although you might not be the first one writing about this issue, it doesn't keep people from going there and purchasing a lesson or two just for the fact that it is cheap and therefore more convenient.
Which is a problem in our society. Just because it's cheap it doesn't mean that it's good, and if it is, theres always some sort of string attached to it, like the content creators or lecturers who don't gat enough for the courses as they would like to.
Thanks for the update!


I must agree with you on this one - Just because it's cheap it doesn't mean that it's good. But in a way Udemy turns this model on it's head - some really good content is sold as cheap and not compensated enough.

I don't know much about udemy, but this downward trend can be seen in plenty industries. Sadly, this usually turns the products in question into trash as well.

Content theft being involved though is the actual low blow I see regarding this topic. There are a lot of grey areas and loopholes that thieves can use and abuse which makes content creating quite risky at times.

I am not big on these online training markets and not all operate the same I believe, but are there really no better alternatives than udemy? I heard skill share is decent.

great post , I agree . its bullshit how the content creator always gets robbed, BTW Firefly was a great show


Actually all these online course is for 10$ but they showing just to attract people to join fast and give discount rubish


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It's really disappointing after paying a hard earned money, you discover you willingly give robbers your money. It's not only Udemy that do scam this way

great post, I have used Udemy before, but like their Blockchain counterpart BitDegree better.


Heres Adult Swims comical take on For Profit Online University lol

"Ive got two businesses that compete with each other"

They profit off me now so I can profit off them later! its like physics!

I wanna make money, you wanna make money, we all just wanna make money together

We also let data harvesting ad bots enroll alongside human students! " hahah oh man ok well that shit is the best man

WOW the comments about Bots fit well on steem!

bots are just like people, most of them are good but some of them have been changed by circumstance

You are able to run a node with a little research so that using the right tools, you have to work hard in the witness position..

Can't SentDex ask udemy to license his course specifically to be viewed on youtube and no where else, wouldn't that solve his content theft issue?


The proper way of doing that is filing a DMCA to have it removed. Unfortunately, they make it very difficult and this happens a lot for popular content developers. Their response is "Why don't you put your content on Udemy for free" as the solution to prevent it from happening.

They drag you into their ecosystem one way or another.


wow i wish we could use such tactics to drag users into steem!

Or maybe we don't have to... maybe we can teach people better than Udemy and have asteem condenser learning front end where peopel just upload videos dtube style butf or learnin

bmaybe we just use dlive or dtube and do live lectures for learnin

can we do mass mearnin just usin dtueb and dlive? woudlknt bit be cool to jsut replace udemy with steem?

"Why don't you put your content on Steem for Free and possibly earn steempower/SBD rewards for it?

i think coursera, edx, and udacity is the best

@themarkymark that was an really interesting post. I have about 5 course which I sell on Udemy. I pride myself on their quality and usefulness - and I made them myself (they are my little digital babies in some respects). Even though I have been on the platform for about 5 years I have noticed that it is incredibly hard to get sales unless you are one of the top instructors.

Even though it is not hard to believe, it is very upsetting and enjoying to hear about people hijacking other's courses and passing them off as their own. It makes me think that Udemy's verification on their instructors and the quality of the courses that they are uploading needs to be more stringent.

The whole idea of being a 'Premium' instructor is that you are delivering your own PREMIUM courses. There are so many great instructors on their that it does them a disservice!

I have registered at Udemy as lecturer a few weeks ago because someone recommended it to me. When I got through and I saw the requirements for lecturers I thought like: wow, if any of my videos will ever be good enough to be posted? Then I started watching 3-4 videos and realized: In some cases only slides are shown. This didn't fulfill my expectations.
Furthermore I have got a short introduction by a Udemy-video. And I agree: they really recommend to use high prices and reduce them because of the visual appearance.
In fact I have not yet posted any video at Udemy, because I didn't like the idea to sell my videos too cheap. Not even for a short while.

cool super nice post :)))

Nice read. I leave an upvote for this article thumbsup

great post
i agree with you

Bought a course at $20, later same day found that same course was offered at $9. Checked both links again and both have different prices for same course i.e. $20 and $9.


That's something that happens a lot, there are different codes advertised that give different prices. For the most part, you should never pay more than $15, there is almost always a sale for $9.99 or $11.99 tops.


You are right my friend after that I never bought any course pricing more than $9.


This is so funny. I haven't encounter this before though but what can we possibly do to stop this rubbish?

@themarkymark Good blog.. resteemed it

nice post. i think you are right. udemy is just a stupid!!!

Udacity also got worse. I even found a simple mistake during studiying $200 course. But I still think that s good

I prefer going to Youtube to learn any new things because then I do not have to pay upfront to know that the content of the video is good or not. There are quite a few websites which is quite good too like Lynda or Pluralsight which is based on monthly and you can learn as much as possible.


I even prefer Sololearn

if the maxim of all this, I always always read your post but I do not understand about the discussion of adults, sad that I happen, but I want to always see your post, and your name

everybody wants to earn money... no one wants to help the real skills to grow.... everythng is based on money in this worlsmd

This is really helpful. I was going to sign up for Udemy and now I understand their thought process to posting classes and pricing! Thank you very much!



Thanks, what are we celebrating?


Let's say the success of your friend publication, greetings!


wow so you have no idea what his post was even about... you totally failed the test

When you want to buy some courses on Udemy, you have to spend (too much) time sorting them. 10 bucks for a good course is a good opportunity, but 10 bucks for a bad course is a waste of time and money...

I didn't know they could do that, that's pretty horrible! And that's pretty poor form for Udemy not treating plagiarism seriously. The only online course portal I have used before is Coursera, which also offer a lot of courses for free if you are willing to not get their certificate of completion. At least the machine learning courses that I took there was all pretty professional.

Thank you so much for informing an online income. This work is a great job for those who work online.

Thanks, sir I really get good informations

You got a 26.83% upvote from @postpromoter courtesy of @ipromote!

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This part sucks the most imo. Having to buy back what was stolen from you in increments to get the entirety back 👎👎

a content developer like Sentdex has to purchase the course from his thief, and manual DMCA all 30-60+ videos one at a time. When filing a DMCA, all the content creators private information is included in the report, but nothing is known of the user who stole the content

hi there!!!
always there are a place to learn.
the best investment it is in your knowledge.

good luck!!!

have a great day!!!

Well...I learn something every day on Steemit! Thanks for sharing.

As you know im a Udemy instructor and do rather well. However i also have my own site and have other distribution methods such as cours licencing and work with many accrediated bodies.

I have had some of my courses put on torrent sites. At the time it freaked me out but it is what it is.

I have started to move some of my teaching brand to the steemit blockchain. Its not an easy transition. It took me years to build the following i have and could risk losing some of them so im not in to much of a hurry. Need to get it right.

Truly say I never visited Udemy for any course, Everything or most of the valuable contents are available at free of cost these days( in Youtube, If I am not wrong). Udemy seems to be utter waste of time.

go for a lynda instead of udemy

muy bueno

I have ton of courses on Udemy. I have never baught any course though, because all my course were gotten using the coupon code. I think Udemy is good, but I like youtube better, because depending on your search preferences, it combines learning and fun.

I too have some courses on Udemy and from time to time I do think about that race to the bottom model of business. Your post made me think again about what I really want to do long term and if Udemy is indeed my best choice. Thanks for the awareness raising words.

I didn't know that they do that, that's horrible!

I am a master student in Kings College London studying digital culture and society, I am currently doing my dissertation study on the blockchain-based social media by using Steemit as case study. Would you please spare 10 minutes and accept my interview, it could be anonymous. If you are convenient, would you please contact me via Sorry to interrupt, many thanks.


no sorry I can alreayd tell by teh way you puyt an email there that when he sees this hes gonna just tell you that hes way too busy,

you need to just come onto the discord and catch him as a regular person and just ask him questions casually and when ur done just ask him if you can use the answers for ur school report and make it as easy for @themarkymark as possible BUT dont go out there posting emails expecting him to take time out of HIS busy schedual just to EMAIL you to then do some who knows how mny hour long Interview for FREE just to help soem random guy who is ONLY gonna make OTHER peopel wnat to ask for FREE interviews, so mayb3e if you wanna PAY him the same amount of moneyt he could earn spending his OWN time on his OWN projects,m maybe then it could be worth his time but i dunno man,,

maybe im wrong

maybe he will be happy to do it but i mean, if it wa sme, i feel likle youre going about this just a very annoying way because imagine just imagine if 10 of you asked for this favoir from him and then 100 more peopel saw that this steem power user gives interviews, and now hes gonna be spammed by peopel all asking for interviews man , u see how when he gioves one that it just attracts mor epeopel thinking they can get more and more? HEY maybe he WANTS that sort of publicity, maybe he WANTS to doa bunch of free woprk for random sttrangers :D i just really doubt it!

this ihas nOTHING to do with mark or you in my head, i just see this sort oif request made of one thing or another from witnesses whales or power users and i just wonder why you believe he owes this to you and why do you think he would wnat to CONTACT some stranger?!?!?!? soudn sjust liek so much work!!!

sorry but UNLESS he simply contacts you JUST to spite me and prove me wrong, whichi doubt, tyhen he will probobly NOT be contacting you... hey theers a small chance im wrong and he has nothing better to do than to set himself up an hur or two long university interview for some stranger online without getting paid but hey man, i dunno, i jut dont see that as an attractive option for him or any witness or whale or power user on steemliek markymark thsi appliesto everyone not just him

sporry if that message spounded a lil personal
but i just wante dtoi give advice, which is to catch hiom when he pops in on the steemspeak discord which is popular with alot of steemians, and yes ive talked to him there, and just casuyually ask these questions and just half way thru just ask if u can wriote down his responses, make it clear u dont intend to record, and also make sur ehe knwos it can be anon, just be ausre you really make it as eays a spossible for any whale or power user or whoever itr is

just amke it easy for peopel to get what u wnat from them

in all honestly he may LOVE to be interviewed AT THE RIGHT TIME

one dya on steemspeak he may be holding a glass of wine or beer and t might be a sunny day bne might have all hsi work done and it mightbe a nice time to just sit back aned talk about all of whta hes done on steem so far, but i just think u gotta feel teh waters out bro

u gotta just go ahead and do it and start asking questions when u se ehim there bnuit keep it normal and dont put himn on the spoit hjust adsk like casually and if he seems liek hes not in teh mood for bein interviwed hhell let you know but if he sounds cool with it just tell himu wanna write down his responses for uyr interview and i bet he wouldnt mined if it wanst anonymous especialy if ur just doin a university report for ur masters program. I think he has respoect for peopel who put work into school like that and it should always be fun to write PAPERS about STEEM for fucks sake hahaha that actually soudns liea dream come true i know @aggroed was a Professor or thats whatr He said i believe at least he did, as far as i rememebr, in the last steem monsters chat, so its cool to think about steem being run by profesors who end up givingus essays etc, i just lobve it, i love teh idea of getting PAID when you get good grades, or imagine the students in a class who get the top grades on the most tests get to have power over what the lcass studies for the last few week sof the semetser etc or maybe they get to make decisions on what the essay promot will be about, i seriously see a huge potential for students to take over many duties of the teacher and begin to teach thgemselves JUSt like how reddit users submit all the content anmd reddit doienst pay anyone t produce any content etc

although its a very good place to learn new stuff
Im learning web development from Udemy and its going well!!!!!!

I wanted to learn guitar and I couldnt spend so much time travelling to a class.I subscribed to Erich Andreas training,even though I have absolutely no complaints when it comes to his training skills but this website is so sucky that it crashes a billion times during the sessions. Each time that happens I'll lose interest and stop doing my shit. Complain to the customer support they act like its my fault asking me all sorts of idiotic questions like, "Is your wifi turned on" I get so frustrated. 10 mins on call they are still suggesting to change my browser from chrome to fox. That call literally took forever,knowing that my problem will never be solved by these idiots. I let go and hung up. So bye bye to udmey and a huge salute to them.

Everybody has his own hidden face

Great idea for a new Udemy course designed for Udemy instructors...

                 "How To Make 3X More Profit By Moving Your 
                     Course to a Self Hosted Membership and 
                     Gain More Control Over Your Own Asset"

I've bought a few courses that I've learned a lot from by creators that really want to help people. I feel bad knowing that they're getting ripped off. I'm sure it's great having built in traffic at Udemy, but they should really learn a little marketing and host their site.

It's really a painful truth of Udemy.... I have purchased some courses from Udemy and I also faced these type of problem...Hello Sir, I have just posted my story feel free to read it and give me your valuable feedback.

Like a roobin hood good parson

They put some some great discount on their corces. They give almost 200 percent discount .

Yea! Totally agree with you on this one. Buying courses online always seemed to me like a total rip off. I started programming a few years back with youtube videos. I absolutely must recomend to everyone that wants to learn the basics of programming Derek Banas!

Also if you ever need something more involving than just "practicing" with a bunch of numbers that you get to sort or whatever, instead of paying for courses, I recommend team treehouse. I paid subscription to them for quite some time ($25 per month), but their way of teaching is way more involving, givigin your project and some liberty to modify or add your own touch to them.

I never liked Udemy or never will. More cheaper video courses can be found in Lynda and Freelancing Websites

Coursera is the best platform to learn online udemy just sucks

Is it a real news??


more so than the stolen images you post


tell us about some channel that have good quality couurses.

A couple of weeks ago a friend and fellow 3D artist was looking for beginner and advanced tutorials for Blender. He was about to buy some when I told him about some channelss I've subscribed to in Youtube, that have better material than the ones he wanted to purchase. Good thing my friend trusts me a lot. It saved him a lot of money. Treated me to a couple of cold ones at our favorite bar. :)

Thank you for informing about Udemy.

Thanks for the post! I've never used Udemy for skills training. (And I won't! :) I know that site but it's not very 'user-friendly' in my opinion. I prefer to use Codeacademy or CodeSchool to get the basics on new technology and then practice on real pojects.

I had a similar experience with ZWERL...With my expertise into helping people with sexual dissatisfaction (ED) ...I had built a good base of clientele... the earning was great when all of a sudden they deactivated my account on the pretext of some AI finding...

Too late...!

Good info. I've used udemy before, but I did not realize the issues. Cheers!

Congratulations @themarkymark!
Your post was mentioned in the Steemit Hit Parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 3 with $ 617,52

I have also purchased some of the course (Programing course ) from udemy..that was quite beneficial and i learnt a lot of thing from that ..No doubt...But after some time i got the same topic from some other site ..that was for free .when i try to get the exact answer then ..i got that ,, it was pirated video that was available for free..
So udemy should try to work for piracy.

I have been using Udemy for some months now I have opted for many free courtesy with out certification some of them are on automation robotics , python etc
I agree on the sale prices some courses usually on 900 INR range come down up to 720 to 680 INR if you really want to buy any course do water for such offers and dips

I haven't tested udemy myself but I think edx is a really good alternative. Edx courses can be attended for free.

I've created a lot of accounts in different social media sites but so far, Steemit has the most relevant information (if someone would really take the time to scan the articles) that has been helping me out in understanding how this community is able to make a difference. Kudos to everyone who puts in their time and effort to keep things better and share all the goodness in them! 👏 😉

So, where is the steem version?

Sounds like a job for utopian?

The rat(e) race to the bottom is not limited to this business. Also in logistics the race is always on and many forwarders or BCO only tend to watch for the lowest rates. They however do not understand that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! You cannot have a very high quality against a low rate, that’s almost applicable to all businesses.

I was a victim of udemy as well, I still remember when I bought a course of suppomanm he was advertising it on youtube, when I paid udemy open for me his 5 youtube video that I already watched for free in his channel. I sent a letter to udemy and they didn't answer, so everything thing they sell there is available for free if we look carefully. They don't deserve our money, I hate them !


There is a lot of legit content on udemy and you should be covered by their refund policy. They are typically good at refunding. But there is a lot of shit as well.

Good points to follow to become successful using udemy as you've to make your course worthable also to be paid 15$ or more.

So keep up the good work and must appreciate others as in this way they will love you🤘!

you got a new follower and Upvote from me brother and great informative post!

most importent infomation tnx bro for share this post

hi man thanks a lot , i had few doubts on udemy but you cleared it all

Wow, I did not know this, I use Udemy a lot and I've found some good teachers on there like Tim Bulchacka. Thanks for the info and tip about Sendex, really out of order that Udemy don't do anything more to guard against plagiarism.


Very nice

@themarkymark agree on creator point of view but it also make it affordable for the learners and also more people buy the course so I think the cost will be recovered.

@themarkymark is there any other platform than Udmey?


Tons, Tree House, Plural Site, Lynda, the list is endless.

Nice tutorial

Thank you for giving me this information. I have lots of interests in taking online course, and I paid one course few months ago. I was disappointed of the quality of courses. I knew that I only focused on how I can buy the courses cheaply.

the thing is that most Universities have computer science courses but it's not satisfied or enough for being used on industrial part. Then, many beginners need some practical experiences or learning more practical parts through these kind of online courses. This Udemy which is enthusiastic over online advertisements and getting custumers penetrate s deep into this programmers need.

Can I ask you something? you recommend Sentdex youtube channel, I watched several videos and it's really good channel. and I am also looking for any channel about Hacking or networking programming field.
Do you have any idea?

Thank you.