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The NEW Medium 2023 (The Biggest Update Yet)

Key facts & thoughts


Medium dropped a bomb yesterday.

Going forward, a lot will change on this magnificent writing platform. For better or for worse.


Here are the key updates and a few early thoughts

First, let’s go through a short bullet list of the main points:

  1. 12 more countries eligible for the partner program soon: Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Hungary, India, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malta, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates
  2. No more 100 followers: Medium removes this entry requirement, as it was a couple of years ago
  3. You need to pay to earn: As I suspected a few times (and actually requested), Medium will now only pay writers who are members (and pay the $5 membership).
  4. Earnings will be based on other metrics: Not just reading time. Earnings will be based on engagement points, calculated by reading and listing time, claps, highlights, comments, and even new followers from a story. Additionally, earnings will have a follower multiplier, a boost bonus, and read ratio. This is a lot! To summarize, engagement is crucial from now on. You can read more here.
  5. Boosting will result in both a distribution and earnings bonus.
  6. Read ratio will be crucial going forward: Earnings will be based on this metric from now on.
  7. Followers become a key factor: Reading time and engagement from followers will result in higher earnings than from non-followers.
  8. No more referralsI actually thought this was going to happen and wrote about it a while ago, but Medium is sunsetting the referral bonus.

Thoughts

Let me just quickly give you the positives & negatives in my eyes:

Positive:

  1. More countries for the partner program is huge. Nothing to add here, everyone should have the same chances.
  2. Paying to earn is how it should be. I like this change. This change ensures that everyone who earns throws something back into the pot.
  3. No more referrals is a good change for me. In theory, the idea behind referrals (affiliate marketing essentially) was good, but I don’t think it’s necessary for Medium, and it resulted in a lot of cheesy marketing for the platform.
  4. Read ratio is crucial. This is great because it will discourage clickbait with bad content. It might become problematic in terms of story length, though, because shorter stories usually have higher read ratios. But I bet Medium has a plan for this.

We’ll see about those:

  1. Earnings based on multiple factors, not just reading time, is a profound change. It will be interesting to see in action & to notice the changes.
  2. Followers are more important now. Theoretically, this sounds good, but I am wondering about the role of subscribers in this. Will it be the same as followers or not? Also, maybe there will be a way to actually remove inactive followers then? That would be cool!
  3. Boosting. This is a topic on its own. I like the idea that Medium will be looking for quality. I don’t know how this is possible with the sheer amount of submitted stories every day. It’s impossible to manually boost every story that would be boost-worthy.

Negatives:

  1. Removing the 100-follower mark is a tough one to judge. It’s good because this will eliminate the follow-for-a-follow game (although the follower earnings update might interfere here). It’s bad because this will make it easier to quickly hack the algorithm and earn. I liked the requirement of 100 followers, to be honest.

The bottom line

These were some early thoughts I had about the huge update Medium dropped yesterday. There’s a lot more to consider and digest. I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts along the way.

What do you think about this humongous update? In case you haven’t read the whole thing, here it is:

New Partner Program incentives focus on high-quality human writing

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