I started writing on Medium at the end of January. It seemed like a decent platform at first, but I quickly came to realize that it had significant flaws, especially in its failure to maintain a high degree of transparency and ethical standards. There still aren't that many options for those who wish to switch or expand beyond Medium. Luckily, publish0x, while still in beta, is an emerging competitor to Medium.
That being said, Medium authors might have some trouble with the transition, as publish0x has a very different paradigm. It is a cryptoasset based platform. It relies on sponsors giving a supply of crypto for tips, rather than a subscription based system, and its content tends to be focused on crypto, but I expect that part to change. You can read and tip articles, without signing up as an author. But you can also write articles and get tips, after a short approval process.
First and foremost, publish0x does not pay in fiat like Medium does. It's purely a cryptoasset based system. While an author can continue to collect each week, in order to cash out, they need an Ethereum wallet. Luckily, it's really easy to set one up. I suggest using the MetaMask extension. It's easy to download for Chrome or Firefox, and setting up the wallet is quick and easy.
Just go to https://metamask.io/ and download the plugin. The website has a video which explains the process of setting up the wallet. You'll need to copy down the seed phrase that the wallet gives you, and you'll also want to copy down the private key for each address you create. Never share them with anyone. They're even more important then a password as they basically represent the account.
As I mentioned before, publish0x does not rely on subscriber fees. It relies instead on sponsors, which fill a tip fund. Every time someone tips an article, a small blurb, one of the tokens is selected at random and a small amount is given to the author and the reader (the amount can be set by the reader when they tip). The reader also sees a small blurb about the token's related project. In order to make sure users can cash out, the team only allows tokens that have decent trading volume on exchanges.
Each week you can request a withdraw to your account, which is usually approved on Sunday and transferred on Monday. You can then convert tokens into ETH or USD. It's generally easy to do, unless you live in New York, which is very crypto-unfriendly. However, there is another option. I use Ternio's BlockCard. You can deposit ETH, BAT (which is one of the tokens given through tips), and a number of other tokens, which are then converted into TERN. There are a number of requirements, so it's often better for those who wish to use crypto in a more substantial way, but I like it. There's also a referral program that gives $10 to the user referred, and to the referrer, if $100 or more in crypto is deposited into the account.
Alternatively, you can just save your tips up, and wait for publish0x to update its system and allow user given tips, so that you can tip other authors right from your own funds. The system is in the works, but it's way down the pipeline at the moment.
Topics and Blogs
Platforms that pay in crypto tend to draw in a lot of crypto enthusiasts, so a lot of the articles on the platform are about crypto, and a lot of the articles that get attention are about the topic. However, I've seen more and more general content articles. A lot of my finance and economics articles, productivity articles, etc do well, even when not about crypto. Additionally, the platform is still in its early days. I expect the platform to grow considerably, and that authors that get in now to be very successful in the future. And bringing more authors who write about general content, including entertainment, life, and so on, will help the platform and other writers.
Medium has publications, while publish0x has blogs. They're very similar, though the blog system isn't quite as robust as the publication system yet. You can have multiple blogs, and allow authors to write on the blog. However, there's no article approval process yet, so you have to trust that the author will do a good job of producing content that is in line with your material. To help things out, I've started a Facebook group for authors who want to promote non-crypto related content.
Curation and Featuring
Unlike Medium, there is no curation system on publish0x, and there's minimal featuring. Except for when the platform moderators really like a specific article, or when there's a specific competition which pays out a bounty, there's almost complete neutrality on the content. And that's something that I like. It's up to the users to write quality content and select which content gets tipped.
A nice thing about not having to worry about curation is that you can make some changes to an article, in order to improve it, without deleting it or creating a new copy in order to get it curated. It’s one of the most annoying parts of writing for Medium. I can’t easily improve an article in order to try to get it curated. I have to either delete the old version and create broken links, or I have to set the old article to unlisted and provide a link to the new version.
Here's where I think publish0x really shines. Like many other platforms, publish0x has a referral program. If you refer a user, and they tip an article, you'll get 5% of the tip! As the number of users that you refer grows, so does your passive income on the platform. It's something that Medium lacks, which is odd, because these systems bring in substantially more users. What's really nice is that you can refer anyone just by attaching the referral code to the end of the publish0x article URL. Like an article that someone else wrote? Just attach your referral code before posting a link on social media, and if someone signs up through the link, you'll get the referral. For instance, here's a link to my article on saving money using referral programs: https://www.publish0x.com/trading-politics/saving-and-making-money-using-referral-programs-xelejo?a=olejYD5djN&tid=publish0x
As you can see, my referral code is included and so is a tracking ID so I know where the referral was from!
There's still a long way to go before publish0x reaches the scale that Medium is seeing right now, and it's going to be just as long before authors can really make a living from writing on the platform, but it'll happen, and getting in early is the way to go. I can definitely see Medium losing a lot of authors to publish0x, as they realize that Medium does not have the best interest of their authors in mind, and instead want to focus their attention on making sure their own pet publications survive. You can also ask questions in the official telegram channel.