Medium’s member-only content is killing me softly

For the love of all that is good, show me less like this

Craig Phillips
Mar 14, 2018 · 3 min read
78% behind a paywall, surfaced for our viewing pleasure.

Killing me softly: the feeling you have when you are forced to endure something really unpleasant, but avoiding that thing would be worse.

I click a lot of members-only articles. A LOT.

I wondered why it is that I end up hitting so many dead ends while on Medium, simply because I’m not a paying member.

I get it, you want to promote membership. It will help you pay the bills, grow, and do more neat stuff.

But I decided to do a simple, 3 day test of what Medium surfaces to me when I land on it. Y’know, just to see if it’s me, or if it’s you.

It was definitely you, Medium.

Here are three screen shots of the past four days, with all member-only stories blacked out.

March 12, 2018

March 13, 2018

March 14, 2018

Grand Finale!

March 15th, 2018

Medium is definitely trolling me.

For those keeping track at home, 25 out of 32 stories that Medium featured for me were stories I can’t read because I’m not a member.

That’s over 78% unreadable. 0–37.5% of articles Medium features for me on any given day are readable.

How and what any content platform surfaces to it’s readers says a lot (everything?) about the strategy, priority, and direction of the company.

So what does this say about Medium? Or better yet, what does Medium think about this?

As an avid Medium reader, it frustrates me. As a writer, it turns me away from writing members-only content. As a UX Designer, it’s offends me to the core.

Thoughts? Leave a comment below.

We can also be friends, if you’re into it.

Thanks for reading.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 306,072+ people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Join The Startup’s +724K followers.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +724K followers.

Craig Phillips

Written by

ux/product designer, cohost of Opacity podcast, writer, creating a course to help outsiders break into UX at

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +724K followers.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store