Medium.com is a bare-bones blogging site, that is ad-free and free to join. The site is supported by the collective $5 membership fees from its premium members, which grants them unlimited reading and publishing behind the paywall.
It's actually not a bad gig, as they recently improved their pay out system from being calculated by claps (imagine being able to hit "like" 50 times on an article) to reading time.
Here's the rub though. I joined the platform in 2017, before the Partner Program was rolled out. I was not an early adopter either, and only joined because of the peer pressure I felt from slowly being iced out of a community I enjoyed, as I found more articles were locked behind the premium paywall.
Here's the second rub. As a free member, you only get three premium article previews to read a month. That's right. Just three. For the whole month.
This would be just fine if locking content was actually intended only for a writer's absolute best content. But there is no quality filter. I remember I had wasted one of my preview slots on a sub-100 word article. I un-followed the writer right after that.
So a new reader is not going to have the same experience as I did, slowly transitioning to this change over time. First off, there is hardly any free material to read anymore on the site, as the front page is covered in member's only "stars".
Premium writers also have no incentive to unlock their content, as reaching the widest audience possible by releasing it for free is unlikely, as premium content is promoted more widely.
And, well, you can get paid for it!
Now, $5 a month isn't that bad. I could have taken the hit for a while and just hustled more with my articles. The actual reasons I quit were
- I had my real name, and writing on this site anonymously is way better.
- I do not foresee any real growth.
With its free members having a poor user experience, Medium is becoming a subscriber island.
The awesome thing about it is that you pay $5 to get in and nearly every one of your readers are paying customers. I won't deny the worth of that.
But there is very little upside. In a scenario like this, every current user is extremely valuable, and if a writer, let's say, quits out of frustration after his articles aren't breaking even, getting a new member to replace him is not probable under the current system.
I do take a pay cut working for WordPress, and make pennies on Publish0x, but I feel pretty happy that everyone gets to read my articles. I also enjoy my site design, and the domain is all mine!
It's all about the potential for growth, and the little things...
See you on the Far Side – Monk Moon Base
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