Why Are We Competing With Newspapers on Medium?

And They Are Using the Medium Partner Program Too

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

How does this make sense? The Washington Post has its own actual newspaper. It’s not my fault that print media is growing more obsolete every day. I wish it wasn’t because I like newspapers, but that’s technology. Not only do they have their own publishing arm, but they have their own website. A website which only lets you see a couple stories a month before you have to pay to look at them.

Me trying to read articles on The Washington Post in my browser.

Why are they allowed to have a Medium account? They are a newspaper. And they are not only a publication on Medium, but a person.

A newspaper is a person and a publication.

That’s Not All

The Washington Post is also locking stories via the Medium Partner Program. Really?

The Washington Post Medium page 7–22–18 9:35 AM EST. Top 10 stories all locked.

I thought maybe that meant they were creating new content just for Medium. Nope. Sorry you can’t really see it, but I was locked out on The Washington Post because I looked at one story. You can see the top story in the above image down below on their site, behind the blocker trying to get me to pay.

And a managing editor at Medium is an editor of The Washington Post page on Medium.

The Washington Post Medium About page 7–22–18 9:52 AM EST.

This seems like a conflict of interest. And a hard smack against all the independent publications that have been created on Medium. Who go it alone. And struggle to keep up with the writers and the editorial content to make it worthy of a read. It’s also against all of us, the independent writers on Medium

This also can’t be good for my page views or the money I can potentially make via the Medium Partner Program. I am in direct competition on an independent writing site, allegedly for writers, for views and money against The Washington Post (among others).

Medium, I’m Confused

Medium home page 7–22–18 9:50 AM EST.

Ideas and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else.

Ideas and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else.

Ideas and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else.

Except at The Washington Post. And everywhere else that is currently syndicating their articles on Medium. Against our original ideas and perspectives that are not posted anywhere else.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

How This Affects Us

Algorithm

It’s fine when we are all just writers competing for audience against each other. But now we not only have to compete with Medium’s own magazines, but actual newspapers. Who knows how the algorithm favors these things, but one thing is for sure:

It’s not good for independent writers on Medium

The algorithm already drives us all crazy and makes no sense, but now we are throwing in entities to mix with individuals. Entities that have buildings, publishing presses, hundreds of employees and writers, web staff, their own website.

I have my home office and my Mac. You?

Views

The Washington Post has 231k followers on Medium.

Views are down. We are all talking about it. Maybe it’s because of things like this. If The Washington Post can have an account on Medium with ideas and perspectives already published somewhere else, those views could be my views. Or your views.

Every view they get on Medium could have gone to an independent writer, not a publication. Every view for them is a view against us. Because we can go to The Washington Post website to read these articles. Why are they on Medium?

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Reads

Every time someone reads an article by The Washington Post on Medium it reduces the chances that they will read my article. Or yours. Because they just spent a 10 min read on one of theirs. And now their appointment is up. And we lost.

Money — This is the Worst Part

The Washington Post is taking our money. Mine. Yours. They have ten stories on their page today and all of them are locked. So when Medium sends us the numbers of who made what, The Washington Post is one of those “writers” making money through the Medium Partner Program.

How is this fair to the independent writers on Medium?

It’s not. Their content is repeated. Sometimes in print and on their website and then here, on Medium. And they are getting paid through a program which I can only assume was designed to support the independent writer.

But it’s not. It’s working against us in this context. By giving The Washington Post the exact same platform as us. And the same opportunity to make money.

The Washington Post, founded on December 6, 1877 and the largest newspaper published in Washington D.C. is fighting us for our $8.77 that we made using the Medium Partner Program last month. If they weren’t here maybe we would have made $12.63.

Am I Crazy?

How is this OK? What is the rationalization for this? What am I missing?

And how can I continue to support a site that is working against me? By branding their own magazines and featuring them ahead of me. By allowing actual news publications to come in and drink from the same trough as me. As us.

I mean I’m not crazy. I know Medium won’t care if and when I leave. But still.

These real world publications have a staff of writers. Research departments. Resources. And I have my home office. And Google.

This seems fair.

Share this with people you think will care.


*Most Recent Update

Medium responded in the comments. Here is a direct link to their comment and my response.

*First Follow Up

Sam McKenzie Jr. pointed me to this article about how this all started:

It doesn’t change anything I wrote. Or how I feel. But it also wasn’t done in secret.

It explains why a Medium employee would be an editor of The Washington Post publication on Medium. And why they are behind the paywall.

And he also pointed me to this one:

Judge for yourself where this leaves us, the independent writers.


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