The (anti) Procrastination Diaries

Finding the ways to fill the time

Easy Sell, Hard decision: MatadorU

CG depiction of Gollum created by Weta Digital...

I don’t know what to do~~ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel nervous, fluttery, at times recklessly itchy to sign up for the other two courses, pay out the $700 – $950 (depending on the discounts) fee NOW, get it out of the way.

Then a tiny bloom of caution holds me back. I’m unemployed, is $1000 an investment I really should be making?

University courses are 5 times that.

And so the back and forth, Gollum-esque voices bicker.

I’ve just paid $10 to investigate what MatadorU’s photography is all about. In 7 days, the full course fee of $350 will be levelled against my account.

MatadorU is a school within the travel website The site itself is still only 6 years old, and have achieved amazing, enviable success, as a platform for travel articles and blogs read by 1.6 million people.

They offer 3 courses, travel writing, travel photography and, most recently, travel film making. Each course lasts 12 weeks, and students get lifetime access to the course material, workshops, labs where your work and its failings are discussed and, very desirable market leads. Their partnership with National Geographic has already seen MatadorU alumni picked up by this household-name, prestigious magazine.

But it’s $350 per course and I have been humming and hawing about joining for over a year. There is a $125 discount for two courses (uncertain about the discount for three), and frequent promo-codes pop-up reducing the cost by another $40. What I have also discovered since paying my $10 look-around fee is that students get a further $100 per course. So the price isn’t so unreasonable to be banished from my mind completely.

The push finally came this morning. I received an email informing me that the travel film-making course has gone live.

And that the course price will be increased to almost $600 in a few weeks.

$600!!!! Per course. I know I will never pay that much. The only reason I pay that much for university is because it’s invisible, interest free money that (thank you Australian government) I can pay off once my income reaches a certain level.

For $10, students get access to the first week’s course-work, which is mainly a primer on the history of, in my case, travel photography, as well as explaining usual terms of the field. This is typical of how full-fee paying students receive the course-work as well, slowly so to not overwhelm.

The forums and marketplace are open to onlookers, and labs corresponding to your course. The market leads seem to be updated regularly, with a new listing every 2 to 3 days on average. The forums are reasonably lively, with most posts receiving at least one reply, though few more than 10.

I’m feeling better now, calmer. I still don’t know if I will sign up for one, all three or zero courses, but I have a week to consider.

Update: I did the $10 trial, but in the end, cancelled before it slipped over the week and charged me the remaining $340 for the course. They have a beautifully set out site, and a lot of content, but I just couldn’t justify the price. Though the weekly lessons look very informative and having a professional judge your “assignments” is a draw, there are already innumerable books and very good blogs on improving writing and photography and googling “travel writing/photography constructive criticism” gave me two sites and a group on Facebook to bare my soul to. . I checked out the MatadorU “Labs” for photography, but each person only received one comment, so there didn’t seem to be much interaction between fellow students.

The Market Blog was full of leads, but the majority were travel sites open for submission, with a only sprinkle of exclusive Matador leads, often location dependent.

I’m considering doing the $10 trial for the other two courses, just to check what additional content they receive. The writing course would have the most available, I assume,  in terms of pro-modules and fellow students in the labs, since it is the longest running of the courses and, since all the reviews focus solely on it. Film-making, having just launched, may have only a handful of people (only one submitting an assignment just before I cancelled) and some crickets for a while yet.


6 comments on “Easy Sell, Hard decision: MatadorU

  1. MM
    November 7, 2012

    hey I know what you mean ! Having access only to the first chapter for you trial is good marketing though because I was thinking to go for it and try to read as much as I can. Seeing now that I can only access very limited content (which I could probably find on wikipedia as well), I think I will not sign up. I am in the same situation .. unemployed and addicted to the Internet, want to write, travel and photograph on my way. Good luck to you!

    • Vividhunter
      November 7, 2012

      Good luck to you too MM. I think we just have to get out there and learn by doing through our mistakes! (Though it’s a bit chilly today, maybe tomorrow…. :P)

  2. Pingback: Matador Network: Keeping It Classy With Their First Book « The (anti) Procrastination Diaries

  3. jamierbw
    March 18, 2013

    I’m wondering the same things myself. It’s good to know that the trial includes only the first week because I was hoping to download the whole course during the trial.. plan flawed!! I can see the value in a course where there is a planned amount of information in one place, but similarly, it can be obtained for free on the internet. It simply depends whether we are all willing to take the time to look for it.

  4. Zufah
    August 27, 2013

    How are the lectures delivered? How is the course taught? videos/live lectures- how is it done?

    • Vividhunter
      August 27, 2013

      It’s not live, though there are forums where you can submit your weekly work/writing assignments and receive feedback from both the teachers and other students. The lecture material is all already written, and there for you to access at your leisure.

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