The Medium model is a fair exchange. They provide human-curated content which is properly edited for clarity and brevity. In turn, the user pays for access to this content. Of all such sites, I feel Medium is the most transparent and elegant. Evan Williams and his team clearly voice their dislike of the exploitation of writers and thus Medium set up a pay-wall to judiciously compensate contributors and ask for a fair payment for their effort. I really like the Medium model because it benefits everyone involved: the readers, the writers and the mediator themselves.

Most of my class fellows are hesitant to pay for Medium, which is mostly just text and requires active attention. It is easy to understand why they would rather pay for services like Netflix/Spotify: these services entertain and help unwind. At the end of the day, no one wants to log on to Medium and read some well-written articles.

An article I found on Medium talks about how the platform is the same before and after a subscription. This person writes for Medium themselves and they fail to understand the entire reasoning of this pay-wall. The pay-wall guarantees that Medium’s writers get paid. Medium subscription is like monitored patronage which subscribers take part in. The user becomes a patron to the content creators.

Another reason why I like the Medium model is that it has no ads, which means users’ data is not being sold to bigger companies that will exploit said data to place pesky ads. Services like Spotify that offer “free” versions are not really free either: they take users’ data and manipulate it to place ads, interrupting the user experience. It’s a free market of content that anyone can utilize in order to share their unique thoughts and perspective.

I am especially influenced by Medium’s Do Not Track (“DNT”) browser settings. Medium explains this:

If you are browsing with DNT enabled, you can read Medium in the logged-out state and our analytics will not receive information about you. Also, embeds within a page (such as a YouTube video) will not load without your actively clicking through a DNT overlay. By doing this, we allow you to choose whether any data is sent to a third-party embed before it is sent. If you click into an embed while browsing DNT, it may cause data to be sent to the third-party hosting the embed.

Medium’s answering call to my worries about being tracked through the internet is why I have a soft spot for the platform and the decisions it has taken to keep itself afloat.



3 Replies to “small>MEDIUM>large”

  1. Hey Echo! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your thoughts. I really enjoyed reading all your valid reasons for liking Medium and the Medium model. I’m still really interested to learn more about “how the platform is the same before and after a subscription” because I wonder if the platform is the same after a subscription, then does it really need a subscription in the first place? I still don’t see myself paying for Medium because I’m not an avid user on the site, and believe that I can get the content somewhere. There’s bound to be somewhere that has it for free! Or can I just borrow someone’s membership?

  2. I really like this take on the subject. I think you have a unique perspective here in being really hopeful about the way you see medium. Everyone seems to put a big value on data privacy, but not many people are willing to subscribe in order to insure it. You also emphasize content creation and creators and their reaction to Medium, which I really liked to see. Although the paywall is limited to general consumption, it does help creators get some money, which of course is good. The question is whether it will generate enough money for them to survive. Creators are notoriously underpaid, in my experience.

  3. Medium’s lack of advertising, especially through the use of other’s ad networks, is certainly an appealing characteristic. However, your argument here is underdeveloped and contradicts itself on two of its key points (claims authors get paid, but cites an author who apparently doesn’t; and claims medium doesn’t sell user data, but quotes a snippet that says how you can opt out of it with the right browser). Puting forward these characteristics in praise of Medium’s approach is not in itself problematic, but more care needs to be put into how you craft your post to be more compelling.

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