I am not a person that returns purpose-bought things from Walmart. I am not a person that goes for “free” at any cost. I still find the changes in Medium specifically with respect to monetization weird.
First off, Medium is way better than the blogging platforms (remember WordPress? Yikes!). What it lacks in features it makes up for in elegance, simplicity and UX.
Few weeks ago they started charging for what used to be a free service – domain redirect. To be fair, all portals already do this and I was kinda surprised Medium did this for free. I later realized I was perhaps an early-bird. $75 for a single domain is a bit much, but would have been acceptable if that was the end of it.
Content portals in general are struggling to monetize. Ads are yucky and spoil everything – publisher satisfaction, reader satisfaction and everything in between. Even Wikipedia periodically solicit donations (I have donated couple of times – proof I am not a free-hugger)
It must be awkward for Medium to charge people this late in the game, unless they use price as a means of cleaning up (Tumblr, anyone?)
Today I got an email asking me to make a choice to pay $5 per month. Whether I consider it worthwhile for the readership of my content is besides the point.
But I thought Medium could have made a honest statement like Wikipedia as opposed to saying things like they are about to save the world.
While at it, some more thoughts -
Why not charge companies that use Medium as their official blog? Few 100s? Even thousands should be fine.
Why not sell Medium codebase to individual and corporate buyers? It’s possible that selling codebase (WordPress.org) is beginning of the end. But it may help subsidize the regular user
At the end, if $5 becomes the default subscription, people will resort to old ways such as Wordpress (again, Yikes!) which have far greater scale, so will be cheaper. And the nerdy types will resort to Digital Ocean / Lightsail type of solutions that will give the same outcome at lesser cost. Or may be people will learn to write a serverless blog.
Will Medium Staff read this?