This is a huge problem with ebooks, too, which I think people experience more as “packaged web content” than “real books” because they read the internet and ebooks on the same devices. I wrote a whole thing about this that I can’t link now because I’m on my tablet and don’t know how to do that. In both cases, internet and ebooks, people have been trained to think of writing as having zero cash value. In large part I think that’s because when business first tried to “monitize” the internet they thought of it as the equivalent of TV and radio, which in the '90s, when the internet was taking off, both provided free content to viewers/listeners, in exchange for sitting through advertisements that paid the bills. On some level I think the intention was always to screw writers, because TV and radio broadcasters have always had to pay royalties on shows and songs. Corporate wonks developing the early internet could have built in a royalty system for writing to match, but why share the profits if you can get writers to give their work away in exchange for “exposure?” And writers went along, and in that way screwed ourselves. Double whammy. This is one reason I am quite hopeful about Medium’s coming foray into subscriptions. I think it reflects a willingness to change the old equation, and to begin the valuation of online writing. I wish that instead of paying for articles they would institute a pay per read royalty system, but at least they’re headed in the right direction. Like the early internet gurus who couldn’t think past TV/radio, one time token payment for articles is getting trapped in the old publishing paradigm of paper magazines, which is no better of a fit for the internet, IMHO. But at least it’s progress!
Sass, if you start cranking out startup listicles for Medium, I’m going to cry. Stay you. Your fans are counting on you!