Medium has always been a curious service for me. It provides a nice place to publish your stuff–for free–as well as find an interact with content others write. Each comment in itself becomes its own post, which can be quoted and responded to. For example, the basis for this post originated as a comment
It’s not clear to me what Medium’s business model is, since the average Joe doesn’t pay for it. Clearly they’re not happy with the direction things are going and have announced layoffs as part a plan Renewing Medium’s Focus:
We believe people who write and share ideas should be rewarded on their ability to enlighten and inform, not simply their ability to attract a few seconds of attention. We believe there are millions of thinking people who want to deepen their understanding of the world and are dissatisfied with what they get from traditional news and their social feeds. We believe that a better system — one that serves people — is possible. In fact, it’s imperative.
So, we are shifting our resources and attention to defining a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’re creating for people. And toward building a transformational product for curious humans who want to get smarter about the world every day.
As someone who has written a couple of books published through a traditional publisher and paid blog posts for blogs, I didn’t find the traditional methods of compensation all that profitable.
Given that plenty of people write for the sheer joy of getting their ideas out there and the fact relatively few people want to pay for anything on the Internet, I don’t see a way to build a closed system that directly compensates creators in any meaningful way.
Where the real compensation will come from, in my experience, is outside the system. For example, my work, published for all to see in the late 1990s, essentially turned into my resume that allowed me to make a pretty comfortable living in Information Security.
That’s just my take. I would love for the Medium folks to prove me wrong, but I am not optimistic. Meanwhile, I will continue to use Medium as a place to syndicate content, but I probably won’t use it as a place to originate anything. At least until they can figure out their business model.