While they already existed before 2019 B.C. (where B.C. B.C. stands for Before COVID, Online Course Platforms were already in existence. They were created for the same purpose: to sell and create online courses.
The majority of courses back then were more niche-oriented, such as leadership seminars, wholesomeness and self-help classes. Of course, courses and classes focused on normal subjects were there too.
These classes focused on bringing education to where it is most convenient and comfortable.
People who were housebound due to multiple reasons (maybe childcare or health problems) could keep studying and learning despite not being able to go out. People who couldn’t attend regular school due to duties and scheduling conflicts could still finish courses due to the medium’s flexibility.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything else was forced to shut down. People still needed to learn and online courses and other eLearning platforms made this possible.
The industry saw a 221% rise in course creators using one Course Platform during the initial stages of the pandemic. This growth is probably shared throughout multiple platforms online.
Everybody from Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs to human resource professionals and proper educational institutions has used a course platform or two during the pandemic.
These platforms can also be used to make extra profits, as the pandemic showed. They say, “knowledge is wealth.” Online course platforms gave that maxim legs and provided people with an instrument to turn knowledge into wealth.
There are many online courses that people can take. You can find everything from life coaching to make your life easier, to tutorial classes on the more academic subjects such as Algebra. Even to courses about making your courses more profitable.
Online courses are all the rage. The next question is how you plan to share the treasure you find in your head with the world.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. You can still read our article below to get a complete overview of Thinkific. It also compares it with some other competitors.
Thinkific: You’re Go-To Online Course Business Platform Thinkific vs Xlsx
Thinkific is one of the most fashionable options available now for building, hosting, and selling your courses.
Thinkific is unique because you can feel that they are passionate about what they do. It is clear that they are more concerned with providing the best learning experience possible to creators as well as their audience. They also understand that making money is important to maintain the business.
It’s impossible to not! After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free service. Yes, Thinkific has a free service that is as good as their paid lowest-tiered one.
This makes the platform perfect for newcomers as they get to experience what it’s like to build content and courses, as well as the overall flow and environment of the industry. Using the free plan allows users to glimpse what they are about to partake in without any investment.
This free plan has one limitation. You can only create one course. I find that this is sufficient.
Thinkific also does not take any cut for a transaction fee whenever a user makes a sale on the platform. All the profits go to the content owner.
Thinkific even makes sure that all profits are directly available upon being sold. This means course creators and content producers can immediately use their earnings without needing to wait for a quote, or reach a certain threshold before they can touch the money.
This is a testament to how Thinkfiic views its customers.
Let me start by saying that almost all online courses platforms have the same features. First, there is the course builder, then there is the website builder for your courses, and then the marketing features.
They are all the same except for how they work and some other unique features. These are the features that Thinkific is known for.
For Thinkific, the main focus would be their course curriculum creation capabilities. Most of their features are geared toward the creation bit, of course, creation. They make sure that online courses are as engaging as possible.
The user interface of Thinkific is easy to use. It is intuitive and logical. Users will have no problem navigating everything. All other features can be accessed through a sidebar menu. They are properly classified to where they are, except for occasional hiccups. Thinkific vs Xlsx
This interface is perfect for users who enjoy performing analytics and monitoring performance. Everything is neatly organized and placed on the dashboard.
The dashboard shows you how you are doing in revenue and student accounts. You can also see student course enrollments and sign-ups.
If we are to nitpick something out of this, it would be that the aesthetics of the interface can be done a little bit better.
As mentioned above, Thinkific’s main focus is on the creation side of course creation. The platform makes course creation easy. Even in the free plan, Thinkific allows you to try everything the course creator can do.
This course builder also allows you to include a multitude of media types. These include content, quizzes, surveys, assignments, pdfs, and student discussion areas to allow peer-to-peer interaction.
Another highlight is the scheduling of course content and some automation in drip-feeding content.
The marketing features of Thinkific are where I fear the platforms will fall flat. Don’t get me wrong. It contains everything you need to market and promote your courses.
But that’s just about it. Thinkific’s market features compare poorly to its competitors. It doesn’t include a sales funnel builder. This is the most noticeable aspect. The overall checkout experience is pretty clunky.
What’s more is that there is really nothing you can do about this part since it has very limited customization.
Even email marketing features lag behind the competitor. It is very basic and you can only notify your students about new products or courses, send them progress reports and update them on their course status.
Thinkific can also integrate third-party apps. These third-party applications are not meant to be used as bandages. They can be used to address some of the problems in Thinkific’s marketing department.
Thinkific integrates five of most popular email marketing platforms, including Aweber and Drip with email marketing.
It makes sense considering the platform’s repeated promises to focus on course creation. It would be wiser to pour all resources into ensuring they got that part right and get third-party apps to tackle the marketing part.
Although I’ve already spoken highly of Thinkific’s Free Plan, it’s still a limited plan and far less than Thinkific’s paid plans. It’s not like the rest of the competition.
Thinkific is a lower-cost option that allows you to create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students. This is in keeping with their mission to focus on education. Thinkific vs Xlsx
As such, if you want to use a more affordable plan and have many content ideas you think will sell, Thinkific should be one of the best matches for you.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 per month||$374 per month|
|Create and launch your product using a website and checkout experience
|-Add products to your business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
Aside from these plans, Thinkific also has a more advanced and bespoke plan called Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes the best of Thinkfiic, makes it powerful, scalable and simple-to-use, and then adds more.
Of course, it still maintains its dedication to course building, teachers, and students.
You will need to contact the sales team of Thinkific Plus to request this upgrade. They will help you to get the best out of your platform. Lastly, you will also discuss with them the total cost of this upgrade.
Each Thinkific Plus plan is unique, and as such, different Plus plans might more or less have different costs. One this is sure, though. Thinkific Plus will give you the features of the most expensive plan as well as these additional features:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- Three+ separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email white-labeling
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. It also is not just a glorified free trial. You can only take as many courses as you like.
- Thinkific does not ask for transaction fees whenever a sale is made. All earnings by content creators are theirs. Creators can even claim and use these funds as soon as they arrive in their account.
- When it comes to payment options, Thinkific can be flexible and has different payment options for different types of students and schools.
- The limitation for the number of courses is removed in all instances of Thinkific’s premium plans. Users can create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students in these courses.
- In terms of interface, Thinkific has one of the easiest to understand. The majority of options are logically placed and easy to find. Users just starting can easily understand how things work in this interface.
- Speaking of easily getting the hang of, Thinkfic’s course builder is similarly easy to use. It also allows for many course materials, making it possible to have your course as exciting and engaging as possible.
- In the name of engagement, Thinkific also gives you the ability to put incentives such as leaderboards, awards, and scores to motivate your students.
- Some of the tools in Thinkific are not user-friendly. Some would need guides and a bit of time to get used to.
- The marketing features of Thinkifiic make it hard to recommend for people who are more focused on propping up businesses on the platform. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- The platform lacks many customization options. It is possible to find websites similar to yours. Thinkific vs Xlsx
The Thinkific Summary
Thinkific is one the most popular online courses platforms on the market. It is a great platform for beginners as well as those who are looking for more course-focused platforms. It is still competitive with other “advanced” and more feature-rich platforms, despite its shortcomings.
My opinion is that its greatest strength would be its commitment to providing the best course experience possible and a free plan. As for its weakness, Thinkfiic has already provided some kind of solution to it. Using local third-party integrations can remedy any problems you have with the platform.
If you’re looking for the best online course creation software that builds courses from scratch. You can never go wrong with Thinkific.
Thinkific Versus Kajabi
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. Its main focus is on productivity and sales. It provides tools that are geared towards simplifying your operations.
Some of Kajabi’s highlights include automations, pipelines, email marketing, and a mobile app.
As for products, there is a lot you can sell through the platform. Apart from courses, there are many other options. You can also sell memberships, communities and podcasts.
Kajabi has many marketing features. It’s no surprise that they have sales funnels, email marketing, and automations. These features give the Kajabi platform users an easier time selling their products.
As such, Kajabi is one of those rare products where the “all in one” platform fits. It is a course creation platform with more than decent marketing features. You can even use automation features to help you spend more time marketing and creating than on the mundane tasks.
Kajabi land is not perfect. It has one of the most expensive platforms on the market. The lowest plan is $149 per month. These plans are not unlimited. The lowest plan allows you to sell only 3 products.
Aside from that, Kajabi is not as feature-rich, especially in the gamification and community engagement department. These issues might require third-party integrations.
Kajabi boasts about being one of the better platforms. They even have one of the more expensive plans in the course creation market. As such, it is only to be expected that the audience will have high expectations of the product. Thinkific vs Xlsx
So let’s take a look at how good Kajabi features are starting from the interface.
At first glance, Kajabi’s interface is pretty normal. It is neat, minimal, and feels very modern. Most of the available features can be accessed through 3 to 4 clicks. For easier accessibility, the page has a search assistant to quickly find the features and the tools inside the application.
Kajabi’s pages also load faster. It makes it easier to work and provides a smoother experience.
In terms of Course Creation, Kajabi allows you to create various types. You can create mini-courses, online or drip courses, as well as creating your own. These types can be customized to suit your specific needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-courses for product launches).
For easier building experience, Kajabi provides blueprints which are akin to templates. These “skeletons” are pretty much presentation ready that if you want, you can just add your needed content and then you are good to go.
These courses could be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. As such, it would be very easy to organize your content neatly and properly. You can organize them depending on their types and content. You can have text and slideshows in one place, and audio and video in another.
Kajabi offers cloud storage via Dropbox and Google Drive, so you don’t have to worry.
Kajabi has robust and extensive marketing features.
It also offers the traditional stuff of offering coupons in a flexible way, which, as we have seen, is an old and proven marketing strategy.
Kajabi offers a powerful email marketing platform that allows you to market via email. It is built on top of the platform and has many features. You can even have email templates ready for the different functions you want it to.
Their pipelines are another conversion tool that they have. They can help you convert more customers to increase sales. They are not that hard to use and even the platform has provided various templates that can easily be used by their customers.
Kajabi also has a dedicated affiliate program for users of a higher plan than the basic one. It is a feature that makes the process overly easy and simple. It organizes both affiliate links and affiliates in its own category, making it easier to track down and find them.
Kajabi’s lack of an integrated payment solution is the main problem. Instead users will have to rely on the integration form other payment gateways such as Stripe, Paypal, BitPay, Authorize.net and others.
This is a huge disappointment considering how poor their marketing tools and how adept their checkout at upsells, bumps offers, downsells is.
Overall, while its not perfect, Kajabi offers a lot of features that are both geared towards marketing as well as course creation. As such, it is easy to see that these features are good for almost everybody who are serious about making an online business.
Of course, potential users should be willing to pay for the steep price point to use these tools.
Kajabi is undoubtedly the most expensive course creation service in the market. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month and this plan doesn’t even include unlimited courses. Thinkific vs Xlsx
If you feel that Kajabi’s high price and more advanced features such as automation are something you really need, then you can choose to purchase it.
|$119 per month billed annually||$159 per month billed annually||$319 per month billed annually|
Kajabi Pros and Cons
- True to its name, Kajabi is an all in one content making and marketing tool. It provides various tools to create courses, like a drip course or a mini-course, and combine them with different marketing automations to ensure they sell.
- Kajabi provides blueprints and templates to help you get started on your project.
- Kajabi allows you to sell other digital products like coaching, webinars, communities, podcasts, etc. This is also a great place to do this.
- Kajabi also includes an assessment function that allows students to grade their performance and monitor them. This is extremely good when combined with drip courses to provide courses that can only be accessed when the proper grades are reached
- Kajabi’s mobile app makes it easy for students to access lessons and classes wherever and whenever they want. You can even set up notifications to receive alerts.
- Kajabi has a membership option that allows users create and sell membership options for their customers. This feature can be used by users to offer additional and exclusive content.
- Kajabi’s automation feature can automate the purchase of offers, post-completion of courses or memberships, assessment completion, as well as other tasks. Users can also use more advanced options with conditional filters to be precise in the automation process.
- Kajabi’s marketing strategy is one of the most powerful among all the course-building and content platforms currently available.
- Kajabi’s Email Marketing is among the best in the industry. It includes various email templates that can be used in different situations. Kajabi has the ability to automate email sequences using triggers or actions. Thinkific vs Xlsx
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature allows various OVO funnel templates to be available. Pipeline features automate product sales and funnel customers to the places you want. This will result in higher conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s price point is nothing to laugh at. It starts at $149 per month and does not even offer unlimited course creation. It only offers 3 products as well as 3 pipelines
- Kajabi doesn’t offer certificate of completion for courses, which some users would like to have as proof that they took the class.
- Kajabi does not have page templates to design landing pages, thank-you pages, checkout pages, forms or other pages. That means users must do everything from scratch when editing page templates through the page builder. It will be difficult for non-tech users and new users.
- Kajabi does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi does not have a local payment gateway. To receive payment from orders, you will need to rely on Stripe or Paypal integrations.
- Despite having some advanced features, there are still some features that Kajabi lacks, especially in the community department. It does not have community engagement or gamification features.
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Kajabi is undoubtedly a giant platform for course creation and marketing. They have the most advanced tools for marketing alone.
They have the tools that provide a great marketing experience. Users would love to have their pipeline and automation features if they want to convert at a high rate.
That said, Kajabi is not without its flaws. For one, it lacks features that help you connect with your students and customers. Features that allow for the creation of a great community. Thinkific vs Xlsx
Kajabi can also be quite expensive. People might find it difficult to justify buying a plan which can only host 3 products when there are cheaper alternatives that offer unlimited products.
Overall, Kajabi has advanced marketing features and is a great creation platform. If you’re looking for a platform to market your products, Kajabi is the right choice. It might be a bit expensive, but Kajabi’s features can be worth it.
Podia Versus Thinkific
Another big name digital online content-selling platform is Podia. It is also an all-in-one platform that has powerful marketing features. Online courses, coaching, webinars and community are just a few of the many products that you can sell through this platform.
Podia is also one of the most affordable digital content-selling platforms on the market. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. However, it takes a percentage of the profit whenever you sell. This might be their way to offset the high price of its powerful features.
Podia is an excellent platform and tool, especially for business-oriented people like marketers and promoters.
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Podia offers a lot of features.
From looking at the interface, Podia has it clean and minimal. The interface is easy to use and allows you to access all other features in just 3 clicks. In fact, it is so simple that the learning curve for using Podia’s interface is almost non-existent.
This makes the platform very beginner friendly. There are no more complicated terms and actions needed just to reach or access something that you need or want. In fact, almost all of Podia’s functions can be accessed straight from the dashboard.
Podia allows you to upload files that will be used as building blocks for your lessons. You can include text, embeds, quizzes, coaching, and files in a course. With some imagination, you can create interesting lessons with the platform that is given to you.
Nevertheless, there are some areas where the course creator is lacking. Podia supports only a few lesson types, which is a major difference to other platforms. Furthermore, it does not have a proper assessment feature to help you monitor student performance. Thinkific vs Xlsx
It also supports multiple platforms thanks to its powerful embed tool. These websites include:
- Video hosts such as Youtube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion
- Music and podcast platforms such as s Spotify, soundcloud, and podbean
- Slideshow platforms like speaker deck, presentation, google slides, and slide share
- Social media sites such as Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.
- Form Builder websites like Google Forms, Typeform and Paper Form
- Github and Codepen are two examples of coding websites.
One of the more recent additions to Podia’s courses is the ability to give certificates. This certificate feature can be viewed as an incentive/prize to complete your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. Podia cannot customize or design your certificates.
Podia’s marketing focus is on the bag. It has a lot of excellent features to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing. Tools like Pre-launch, upsells, and coupons make great strategies to promote your products.
This makes Podia an excellent choice for marketers looking to sell products on a smaller site.
That said, not everything is perfect. In this case, Podia’s weakness is its email marketing, which only provides the basics. It allows you to send broadcasts and email campaigns but lacks some features, such as split testing and personalization fields.
People looking for automation features may also have lost their chance since Podia’s isn’t as advanced as theirs.
Podia offers a local payment gateway for payment processors. You will need to connect to your PayPal or bank accounts to pay processors. For a simpler solution, you can also integrate with Stripe and PayPal.
Your audience can use their credit cards at checkout. These usually are processed within 2 days and will be credited to your bank or PayPal account. Thinkific vs Xlsx
It is also one of the most affordable on the market in terms of pricing. What’s more, is that the platform has recently added its own free plan. Although it doesn’t offer much, this plan is a great way to learn more about Podia.
|$0 per Month||$33 per month||$75 per month||$166 per month|
Podia Pros and Cons
- Podia’s strong point is its clear and simple UI/UX. It is very easy to use and has a non-existent learning curve. Users of all edges and tech levels will find it intuitive to set it up.
- Podia has many functions and can become a one-stop shop for all your needs. You can sell various digital products such as courses, memberships, webinars, bundles, community, and other digital downloads.
- Other than the free plan, Podia allows you to sell unlimited courses and products. That means as long as you have the energy and the idea, you can create as many pages for your courses and products as you want.
- Podia also allows you to upload as many videos as possible for your content. The platform provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, which is why this feature is possible. You don’t have to use Vimeo and Wistia.
- Podia has a built-in affiliate program for your audience that is only available for Shaker and Earthquaker plans.
- Although it only provides the basic functions, the email marketing tools built-in are sufficient to support campaigns and broadcasts.
- Podia supports a prelaunch mode as one of its marketing features. It can create buzz around your products and get early email customer conversions. Thinkific vs Xlsx
- Except for the free plan, Podia charges no transaction fee on sales.
- Podia has a new feature that allows content creators to give certificates, community, and quizzes. Even the community area can be used to create memberships.
- Their email marketing provides only the most basic functions. It lacks personalization fields, especially in the email composer. Other features that the tool does not have include templates, drag-and-drop editor and other features.
- There is a noticeable lack of course-compliance features in the platform
- Podia also does not have many customization features. Podia does not support custom CSS/HTMl customizations. Podia will result in generic websites.
- Podia does not have landing page builders and funnels. These are essential tools considering Podia’s focus in marketing.
- The free plan does not allow you to host more than one product. There is also an 8% transaction charge.
- Podia does not have any course blueprints.
- Podia only supports a few lesson types. It lacks support for some types like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and HTML 5 Content, among others.
- While it has pretty good marketing features, it still lacks some. These include cart abandonment, downsells and order bumps.
- Podia doesn’t have a mobile app. This could limit its user base and access given how dependent the world is on tablets and smartphones. Thinkific vs Xlsx
Summary of Podia
Overall, Podia is an acceptable platform for hosting your content. This is pretty true especially given the price point it is offered.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. It isn’t true. Podia offers a lot more with what you pay for it. You can make impressive courses with enough creativity and great ideas and sell them for a fair price.
It is still an all-in one platform, despite its limitations. It is perfect for a lot of people. It is ideal for content creators, marketers, teachers, and other people who target marketers. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
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Thinkific Versus Kartra
Kartra is a different product from the others listed above. Scratch that, Kartra is entirely different from the other products listed in this review.
Instead of a course creator, we have an all-in-one platform that sells your products. It is also a marketing platform.
In this vein, Kartra should not be treated as a separate website or your product’s website.
Instead, focus on the strengths of your site and sell products, memberships, and services.
Kartra can be used to create and sell digital and physical products. You can sell unlimited quantities of these products and many different types of products. It also allows you to choose from multiple pricing options, which will allow you to set a more flexible price.
Since Kartra is a different beast altogether, we might focus on features not found in most course-building websites. Kartra might not have a course-building website.
As for the features, we already mentioned that Katra allows you to sell many products. Each account can sell an unlimited number of them and offer them at any price point.
Kartra’s focus is on lead conversion and marketing to maximize its users’ profits. As such, one of their main features is funnel building.
Funnels are a way for sellers to get their customers to buy their products. Although funnels are not considered campaigns by Kartra, they function in a similar way. Thinkific vs Xlsx
Kartra makes funnel construction simple. You can build one from scratch if you already have experience in this field. Otherwise, you can have Katra do it for you through their plug-and-play campaigns that are from top industry experts.
You can share your personally-built campaigns with other Kartra members. Your campaigns can be marketed and sold to make money.
Kartra handles all the payment and billing processes needed, so you can focus on better funnels as you gain experience.
Kartra also has page-building capabilities, and it is surprisingly powerful. Users can create product pages, checkout pages, and opt-in forms with these features. You can even use professionally designed templates to speed up or start the process.
These pages can also be optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. You can host these pages on your domain or on Katra itself.
That said, they are still limited in capacity and features to be considered a proper website. Kartra believes it, and they won’t let you host these pages on your domain.
Kartra’s marketing features should be considered the crown jewel. It has all that is needed for email marketing.
First, it can send broadcast messages either by email or SMS. This will require integration with all available SMS gateways.
Aside from that, Kartra also has automation which it can use to create email sequences. You can do this through its drag-and-drop visual sequence builder, and once done, and you can let it run on autopilot.
Behavior-based automation is another feature that makes the platform unique. This powerful tool allows to send emails based upon the behavior of recipients. As such, when you are done setting up the hard work, you can just sit back and relax.
Kartra’s price is steep for a platform focused on marketing and lead conversions. However, depending on your needs, the price of Kartra’s plans may be worth it. Thinkific vs Xlsx
After all, Kartra has some advanced features that are not found in others.
|$79 per Month when you pay annually||$149 per month when billed annually||$229 per month when billed annually,||Monthly payment of $379 when you pay annually|
Kartra Pros and Con
- You don’t need any external marketing integrations. Kartra offers everything: integrated email marketing, sequence builder, automation, and all other features necessary to market your products perfectly
- Kartra has an automatic translation for its checkout pages. It works based on the user’s geographic location. It also supports other currencies.
- Kartar also allows you to drip content and vary access to different levels if you have a membership site.
- You can use A/B testing to refine your automated email responses as you set them up.
- Kartra has an agency feature that allows you to hold multiple client accounts. This allows you to manage different websites in just a single dashboard.
- Some might feel that Kartra’s pricing is too high for the quality of what they offer
- There are no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface is quite slow and might get frustrating to use at times. Thinkific vs Xlsx
- Even Kartra’s pages may load slowly
- The number of features can be very difficult for beginners to get used to.
Overall, Kartra is a powerful all-in-one platform for sales and marketing.
It has a lot of tools and features that provide you with the opportunity for interesting and engaging promotions and products.
It is not a course builder, and certainly not a website creator. As such, If you use Kartra, ensure that you are doing so in conjunction with a proper website page maker. This could be pretty difficult to swallow, as Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what it does.
However, if you take the plunge, you might just get your money’s worth and more.
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Overall, Verdict Thinkific vs Xlsx
Course builder websites are pretty useful when joining the industry.
As with most markets and industries, there will be a lot of platforms that will offer the service that you need. For course building and selling, there are Thinkific, Podia and Kajabi (and a bit of Kartra), as well as other platforms.
These platforms will almost offer identical services in a market-like setting. Their differences will be minimal at best. Some might be better than others in certain areas.
The key to finding which product you should use is to decide on the direction of what you want to do. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. Chances are, you will find that their features will be most useful to you.