I will try to not use Medium anymore

How I'm trying to get Medium free as much as possible...

October 4, 2019

It's been a while. During this time I started using/visiting Medium less and less and I in this publication you'll will know the reason.

Disclaimer: this is my personal view on how things got here. For sure, Medium CEO and emplouyees have a different view, but this is how it got to me, an end user of the platform.

In the beginning

When Medium came to be, I joined as soons as I heard of its existence. There were lots of things to like there: its simplicity; its bare minimum writing area; its OAuth usage via Twitter (the only way at that moment, if I'm not mistaken).

All was pretty and well for a really long time. New features were added, more people and organizations joined and we were all happy. However, the financial state of the company started to draw attention from its investors. Medium was out for a few years already but there's was no sign of real monetization. How would they, the investors, recover their money?

The monetization

It seems Medium tries some different ways to monetize the platform but the one that stuck was the subscriber wall/pay wall. Where once all publications were free, we started seeing some that only subscribers could read. Together, we started seeing that we could only see a couple of "behind the wall" publications.

For some time, this was ok. We could still read loads of free and high quality content for free. But again, things got a bad turn...

The (pay-)wall

Paywalls are annoying but understandable. You need to find ways to get money in an industry where ads are starting to pay less-and-less every year. The way that Medium tried to use it, however, it's not understandable.

They home page used to have nice articles tailored to our interests, based on on what we read, on categories and people followed and something more. After some time, though, the vast majority of publications poping up there are behind the paywall.

Again, understandable, if we can distinguish publications behind paywall or not. The UI hint they give us, a really small five-pointed star is really hard to distinguish from the rest of the text. it's so subtle that you simply click the title thinking you're going to read some nice article and end up being blocked by the paywall. Ridiculous.

The forced (pay-)wall

If that wasn't enough, Medium started to forcing organizations into making their publications use the paywall. Some organizations that definitely helped Medium be what it is now, like FreeCodeCamp, with its thousands of articles and authors (some did not like the move and stayed with Medium or went to other places, like dev.to).

Some other publications, like Signal v Noise, from Basecamp, also left it. They seem to have a better view on how the approach was done, but, if they left, it seems that not all is good, right?

So, what now?

Again, it's understandable that Medium is looking for ways to monetize its platform, but forcing people to go behind the paywall is nuts. Now they have an option on the publication configuration that lets you, the content author/creator, decide if you want to make part of the paywall or not. For me, however, the damage is done.

The trust I had in them is gone. Even though none of my own publications had been put behind the paywalls (it seems I don't write that many nice articles nor so frequently, right?), I did not like their move.

Due to that, as said in the beginning, I started not accessing their website as much as possible. It's ok to end up there when a friend sends me a link to a publication he liked, but I'm not going there by myself looking for new content. I'm also not publishing any more content there and will move them to this place.

It's nice and I like to own my own content. I thought that with Medium I could still have it, but the old motto of "do not trust others to carry your data" is also applicable here.