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2 Obvious Ways to Hack the New Friend Link Sharing System For “Friends of Medium”

And why you should NOT be using them

Yeah, people always find ways to hack the system. In some form or another.

This time, the new friend link sharing dynamic that Medium just introduced alongside their new $15 per month membership tier called “Friend of Medium”.

I am not a fan of hacking the system.

Some “hacks” are simply smart ways to use a feature in a non-intended or different way. Others are misuse.

Anyway, this time I’ll state it upfront: The following 2 ways to hack the friend link system are obvious AND should therefore NOT be utilized.

#1 Friend link swapping

I already read mentions of friend link swapping in some places. The idea behind it is simple:

You and another “Friend of Medium” member simply share each others unique friend links whenever a new story is published, and that friend link than gets shared on social or elsewhere online.

The result: You get paid for reads from non-members via the friend link of your “Friend of Medium” buddy.

“Smart” idea.

I’ll tell you why it’s not smart to do it in a second. Let’s take a look at the second way first.

#2 Friend link account

Along the same lines as friend link swapping, you could also eliminate the middleman here and create a second Medium account, upgrade that to “Friend of Medium”, and share links to stories of your primary account on social and elsewhere.

This way, you’d get paid for non-member reads as well.

Now, this has an obvious downside: You need to pay for two Medium accounts, one 5$, the other 15$.

No problem for big Medium names. I could do that. I’d be making much more from the friend link sharing than the two accounts cost per month.

But I won’t and you shouldn’t either! Here’s why:

Friendly fire

Those two ways are obviously misusing the friend link dynamic as Medium intended and allows them. And while they might work, Medium will monitor this behaviour closely.

They already track and show friend links and “Friend of Medium” friend links on the story stats pages.

So, they track how often each kind of friend link is used and shared, and how much money results from them. They will notice repeated misuse.

They even say this in the friend link help section:

We regularly monitor traffic to Friend Links to ensure that no one is taking advantage of our system. If you suspect a Friend of Medium is abusing Friend Links, please reach out to our Trust and Safety team here. Friend Links are a privilege, not a right. 🙏

I hope this post actually helps precent some of these hacking and misuse attempts! Although I bet that some will accuse me of advertising for this misuse.

I am not. And I will report these cases when I come across them.

The bottom line

Yeah, it’s supersmart to come up with unique ways to hack the system. It’s dumb to use them.

Unless you’re not afraid of getting caught or having your Medium account locked or suspended as a result.

Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

Friend links are already a great system that we will all benefit from. In fact, I have already benefitted from the new “Friend of Medium” tier in just one day after the upgrade. I’ll tell you how in a future storyNo hacks required!

For now, just stop the hacking and do some writing instead.

If I’ll read it you’ll earn 4x more 😉

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