I’ve been paying for a site for about six years now and I’ve been writing some form of “blog” for about 10 years (on and off). With that in mind I’ve had a long term interesting in Medium. When they first came out, they seemed like a really interesting company which prioritised a great reading experience above all else. They also wanted to be ambivalent towards where writing came from. Another internet company seeking to level the playing field. Everyone could be a great writer (if their writing was good).
This was an idea present in blogging when it started but overtime search engines evolved to prioritise more “trustworthy” sources and people found sources to go to and find their content. Then came the great Facebook algorithm with its priority of good content…and things that people paid to promote.
Medium aimed to use some similar approaches to Facebooks approach of promoting content that people reacted to more, however, as with all things. As soon as people start following sources, writers and publishers, that content becomes more likely to receive rave reviews as they have enough of a fan base. That’s not a judgement, just a fact.
Medium had been following a similar take to most other online publishing approaches. Adverts.
But from a recent post from Ev Williams, you can see it wasn’t really working. Basically he hints at the same thing that most other publishers have noticed. For ads to work, they have to be invasive and low quality as people are ignoring more and more ads. Unfortunately Medium has always been attractive and pleasant reading experience, which doesn’t help.
This reminds me of the other issues you get when you trust another company with your companies future. They might not last. A company can go out of business and then you’ve lost all the followers you gained there. No way to get them back. Now I’m not calling the end of Medium, but it’s future doesn’t look so rosy as it once did.
At the same time there are some reasons It still looks great.
- they handle your hosting
- You can “Just start” publishing and writing. No set up or theme worries.
- You can do a group publication easily
- there is a group of people already there
As such, I’m wondering about trying Mediums $5 subscription. After all, I like supporting independent creators and content, I’d love to see this work somehow. I’m also thinking about moving a site over to medium and putting it’s content all there (not this site). That would also help me not pay for that hosting and yet I’d still have an archive of the site. If medium ever does go away, there are export tools from medium.