It’s coming up on two years since I started publishing on Medium. My goals when I started writing were simply that to start writing. In that regard, I view this as reasonably successful. I’ve published 41 pieces, have 140 items in my drafts, and have spun off several side projects for myself that have not come to fruition yet.
When I signed up for Medium, I also opted in to the Partner Program. The ability to opt in to the partner program as a brand new user with no followers and no obvious experience is part of the reason I opted for Medium to house my writing. I knew it wouldn’t make me any real money, but I was curious to know what the minimum I could make for my thoughts was. After 2 years, I have 35 pieces eligible to accrue earnings, 2 of which were picked up by publications, and 6 that for varying reasons I opted not to monetize. Medium has paid out $15.41 to me in total for these writings that’s about 64 cents a month.
It’s hard to say whether this is fair pay or not. Based on the statistics and settings Medium provides, I have written 154 reading minutes worth of content. I have garnered ~2100 views and 1205 full reads. Counting only the full reads, I have held reader attention for 4374 minutes, or a little over 3 days. I have done next to no marketing for myself. I’ve never been particularly great at self-promotion, and I really wanted to treat this more like a passive experiment in writing. Bringing in some spare change each month did make it feel like I was contributing to something though.
Last week Medium sent an email detailing changes to the Partner Program. If it weren’t for a brief grandfathered window, I would currently be ineligible to maintain my Partner Program status. They are adding a popularity barrier to entry for monetizing your works. If by end of year, I don’t have over 100 followers, I will lose my Partner Program status and with it the ability to accrue .64 cents a month because clearly Medium can’t afford to keep paying me that kind of wild cash.
On top of that, they are instituting a statute of limitations on earnings. Effectively, if you stop writing for 6 months they can decide to disable monetization on your existing creations. They won’t take them down, they’ll continue to leave them up as content available to read on their site, but the author will no longer receive any payment for it. Sure, it won’t be locked behind the Medium pay-wall anymore, but that effectively means that those works become free advertising for Medium.
Perhaps calling out Medium on Medium is the wrong medium, but as I state in my bio I’m really just writing here for me. Maybe it’s time I find another place to host my minor musings, but I’m growing weary of this digital trail of starts and stops, constantly changing my alliances to avoid the ever growing creep of power and control. I enjoy writing here, and for now, I’ll probably keep doing it, but it sucks to know yet another thing won’t last because it became more interested in profit than integrity.