The claps and new followers aren’t leading to more earnings. What’s really going on Medium?
I have been writing on Medium for almost three years, and I have for the most part enjoyed my experience as a new writer. During my time here I was able to become a better writer and earn a little money for some groceries. I thought I was doing something.
But like all good things coming to an end, so had Medium.
Since they started adding their own publications, writers have had to scrape for shine scraps to have work seen. I was pretty successful prior to design changes, but like so many other writers on the platform have noted, the changes have been bad for writers, especially writers of color. Medium’s site “improvements” to accommodate their new tech upgrades and additions have cost writers and unsuspecting readers dearly.
I Have Fake Follower Profiles Galore
Medium has a fake account problem. It’s been really bad lately. I’m getting about 1,000 new profiles every few days, and the majority of them are new and fake. I got a new alert notifying me I had 8 new followers. Of those 8 followers, 7 were new profiles and only one was real with a completely filled out profile, real profile pic, etc.
Even if you’re a real person and don’t write on Medium, most people take the time to complete their profile and add a real photo or logo to add legitimacy to their presence. Some of the profile names are not real, and the photos are photos from other fake/problematic profiles I’ve blocked previously. Nobody has time for this bullshit. We pay a membership to not be bothered with ads. I would appreciate it if Medium would extend writers the same courtesy of ensuring we don’t have to be bothered with a site full of trolls and fake profiles. I have lots of fake followers. So much so, I don’t know how many real followers I do have. It would be nice if Medium could fix this. Integrity is what I strive for, but it’s hard to write for fake people.
Readership and Claps Are Down
Since October, the transition has been painful for writers. I decided to wait a while before I bitch about how shitty things have been. Since the to the Instagram-like platform, readers can’t access any of our older works. Readers will scroll a little and move on. It’s harder now to read older works from writers unless they have their own publication where their works are profiled. I’m sure we’re missing eyes on our old treasures, which means you’re required to write more new stuff more frequently to earn money. Even the new stuff is buried within a few days or suppressed by algorithms so readers who don’t follow you can’t easily find our work. If readers don’t read and clap for our pieces and read them until the very end, we don’t get paid.
I got lots of reads and claps. Now, it takes days to achieve the readership I once received in a day. Add to this plagiarism by other Medium writers and on the platform and it feels like I’m fighting a war with a toothpick.
Being Featured By A Medium Pub Didn’t Earn Me Anymore Eyes or Dollars
I was featured in Zora this Month for Black History Month in addition to having several publications pick up a few other pieces I wrote. That used to translate into significant Medium earnings. This month for the first time ever, a piece featured in a Medium pub earned me only $30 more than the piece was commissioned for after an entire week of circulating. Previously, my pieces could earn hundreds of dollars. There is definitely a dead cat on the line. How do you write more and earn less? How is it that I’m getting new followers, but those followers aren’t reading my work, and not commenting on my work, not clapping for my work? Makes me wonder whether Medium has pimped us out to the highest bidder to harvest our personal info because it’s not doing well financially. This is insane. Again, what exactly am I paying for?
Swarms of Racists Still Present
I’m still getting bunches of racist fake profiles writing incoherent or stupid comments in the comment sections of my posts. Swarms of short, incoherent, ranty, or racist comments have become more abundant since the switch. Is anyone monitoring the site for trolls? I’m really tired of getting bunches of back-to-back notifications for spam posts from racists. Spam comments used to be bad before national elections here on Medium, but nothing is happening now. Why so many racist trolls now, and why is Medium not doing anything about it?
We have to deal with enough as it is writing about race. Can we please have some peace on this site for goodness sake?
What’s Not Trending On Medium Are Black People or The Human Condition In America
Consistently when you look to see what’s trending on Medium, it’s not Black people. Why is that? I looked before writing this essay, and this is what’s trending on Medium at the time.
Feminism, tech, and bitcoin are trending on this site. Medium is becoming tech-focused, and it’s pretty obvious. They still have a love for the good ole White feminist views, but Writers of Color writing on race, equality, and White Supremacy are ass out. Race isn’t trending on Medium despite the nation just having a coup because the country is turning Blacker and Browner. The lack of diversity in what trends in this space is discouraging. Anyone can write on Medium, but if you’re writing about the human condition, the algorithms and techies who built the company don’t care.
Medium’s CEO, Ev, even posted about bitcoin a few days ago. You know who he tagged in this post, Jack, from Twitter.
They are concerned about money, not us.
My Money Is Funny?
Even being featured in Medium pubs doesn’t guarantee your articles will earn money anymore. Before the switch, I could earn sometimes $100 a day or more if one of my pieces went viral. These days, I’m doing good to generate $20 per day. I’m doing the same thing I did prior to Medium’s switch, but whatever they’ve done, the switch has made it more difficult to find my work. Many followers had their settings changed during the transition. I’m not sure if this was intentional or accidental, but I’m sure it’s had an impact on my readership, claps, and earnings. My Medium earnings have dropped steadily each month by 20%-30% to the point my monthly earnings now are half what they used to be.
There just seem to be too many things we cannot control here on Medium. It feels like a Ponzi scheme or some big, hidden secret you can’t access to learn how to play the game fair. When I initially came here to Medium, writers were leaving the platform and complaining about the way Medium does business.
Now I see what they mean.
Recent platform changes make it more difficult to earn money here. They keep changing the goalposts so you can win. That’s what happens in business. That’s what happens when you’re the product. It’s getting more difficult to be here. I write because I love teaching, but if folks can’t access my words, what’s the use? I’m in the process of transitioning away from Medium. They appear to be in the process of becoming a lot of things, but not a blogging platform for writers. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. There are people who still earn a lot of money on Medium. They just don’t look or sound like me. Medium heavily favors the stories written by writers catering to White tech readers and White feminists. Where does that leave the rest of us?
We’re suckers paying to write when we could write for free elsewhere.
Something isn’t right. I’m getting more followers, but not more readers or revenue. I’m writing more, but there is no increase in my earnings. More transparency is needed. More safeguards are needed. I hate the new platform. If I wanted Instagram, I’d go there. I came here because it was different, but it’s turning out to be the same as the other social media platforms. I know Medium is a business, but they are nothing without consumers.
If the consumers aren’t happy no one will be happy. We can’t go on like this. This site does not provide opportunities (shine) for Black writers the way it does White writers and Writers of Color. Even the Black publications are struggling for eyeballs.
Medium is not the place it used to be. If this is the new way, I can’t stay here any longer. If you can’t win the war, you probably should surrender. It may be time to surrender here. We see and feel the changes Medium.
Do we not matter?
Marley K. 2021 ©