Medium Publications are Dying

An Honest and Deep Look at the Top Publications on Medium

Lincoln W Daniel
Writers Guild
6 min readMay 20, 2024


Medium has long been a go-to platform for writers, thinkers, and readers. I’ve been in this community since late 2013. I’ve built some of its largest publications and, through my platform Smedian, had a direct impact in the rise of many of the other giants.

Today, I want to explore the unfortunate demise of many of Medium’s once flourishing independently-ran publications.

But it’s not all bad news, so read to the end for how to find the diamonds among the dormant giants.

Because we all like data and charts, I’m glad to be able to provide those courtesy of the new and improved, previously known as

The Rise and Fall of Medium’s Giant Publications

Medium’s promise of democratizing content creation and distribution attracted a host of publications that quickly gained massive followings. However, a trend has emerged: many of the top-followed publications on Medium are now dormant.

This trend does not come by surprise. Due to many direction changes by the executives at Medium, publication owners and editors have been discouraged from investing further in building their publications on Medium.

When Medium launched, it offered a new way to share and consume content. Publications like The Startup, Towards Data Science, and P.S. I Love You flourished, drawing in readers with their high-quality content. These publications, among many others, built substantial followings, becoming some of the most influential voices in the unique world of Medium.

However, this digital landscape has been ever-evolving, often without clear direction and communication from the powers that be, and many of these once-thriving publications have gone silent. A staggering 76 out of the top 100 Medium publications are now dormant. That’s 76%, a significant portion of the platform’s most-followed voices. That trend holds as you peruse the leaderboard of over 17,000 publications provided by

Chart of latest publication dates of top Medium publications. Most are before the current year of this writing; those are considered dormant, according to

The Top 10 Followed Medium Publications of 2024

Before we continued, to drive the point home, let’s inspect the very top echelon of publications so far this year to see the dark truth.

According to data provided by, the definitive leaderboard for top followed Medium publications, here are the current top 10 publications, their publishing statuses, and the last time they published a story:

  1. The Medium Blog — 2M followers
    (Active, last published: May 2024)
  2. The Startup — 780K followers
    (Active, last published: May 2024)
  3. Towards Data Science — 690K followers
    (Active, last published: May 2024)
  4. freeCodeCamp — 588K followers
    (Dormant, last published: August 2021)
  5. — 518K followers
    (Dormant, last published: January 2022)
  6. The Coinbase Blog — 541K followers
    (Dormant, last published: June 2022)
  7. Personal Growth — 496K followers
    (Active, last published: May 2024)
  8. UX Collective — 469K followers
    (Active, last published: May 2024)
  9. — 467K followers
    (Dormant, last published: March 2021)
  10. Startup Grind — 443K followers
    (Active, last published: May 2024)

Notice that 40% of the top 10 Medium publications haven’t published a story in 2024, suggesting that they are dormant. In fact, half of those dormant publications last published in 2021 and the other half in 2022. It doesn’t appear that they have any plans of returning to Medium, especially given the continued minimal level of support from Medium for publications and their editorial teams.

Furthermore, of the 428 Medium publications with at least 10,000 followers, 59% are dormant, not having published a single story here since 2023. Those 253 dormant publications represent a non-distinct total of 14.7 million subscribers. That’s about 21% more than the 12 million non-distinct total subscribers of the publications that remain active on Medium in 2024. Not good.

What Happened?

Several factors have contributed to the dormancy of these publications:

  1. Shift in Platform Priorities: As Medium evolved, its focus shifted. Changes in algorithms, monetization strategies, and platform policies have influenced the activity levels of publications across the spectrum, from corporate blogs to hobbyists.
  2. Migration to Independent Platforms: Some publications, like freeCodeCamp, moved to their own platforms to have more control over their content and monetization. This sort of migration has often lead to a drop in activity on Medium. The same was the case for HackerNoon, which last published on Medium in 2021.
  3. Content Saturation: As for the publications that only recently launched on Medium, with the influx of other new publications and writers, the competition for attention from readers may have been to fierce to manage. Some publications likely struggled to maintain their audience and eventually ceased operations.
  4. Resource Constraints: Running a publication requires time, effort, and financial resources. I know this from first-hand experience. I successfully built a Medium publication from 0 to over 50,000 subscribers before selling it in 2019. As with mine, many of these top publications started as passion projects, and sustaining them over the long term without significant financial backing can be unbearably challenging.

The Impact on Medium’s Readers and Writers

For readers, the dormancy of these top publications means fewer go-to sources for reliable, high-quality content on Medium. The void left by these publications is often filled by new and emerging voices, but the transition can be and has been jarring for loyal followers of the publications they once read here. In many cases, the publications brought those readers to Medium, as external readers who signed up for Medium after discovering the publication.

For writers, the decline of active publications on Medium limits the platforms available for reaching large audiences of readers on Medium. Writers now have to explore alternative publications or build their own following from scratch. allows you to filter out the dormant publications so you can focus on the active ones, who are still publishing stories on Medium.

The Future of Medium Publications

Despite many top-followed publications going dormant, the landscape of Medium is far from bleak. New publications continue to emerge, and some of the active giants still produce valuable content. The dynamism of Medium ensures that there will always be a place for quality writing.

With a quick scan on the fastest growing Medium publications leaderboard provided by, we can see that readers are still finding publications they love to read and follow; many Medium publications are growing by double-digit number of followers each day.

Medium itself has also introduced various programs and incentives to encourage writers and publications to stay active on the platform. As the digital content world continues to change, Medium and its user-ran publications will likely continue to adapt how they operate together to empower writers to bring the best of this platform to readers.

Final Thoughts

The dormancy of 76% of the top 100 followed publications on Medium highlights the ever-changing nature of digital media. While it marks the end of an era for some beloved publications, it also opens up opportunities for new voices to rise and fill the gap. That voice can be yours if you’re up for the challenge.

A screenshot of the leaderboard of top topics covered by Medium publications, provided by

As one of Medium’s oldest users — a writer, publication owner and editor, previous software engineering employee, and creator of vital community tools in my free time— I maintain that Medium remains a vital platform for writers and readers, continually evolving to meet the needs of its community, at least in intention if too often not in results.

Read about why Smedian shut down, by Kristina God, MBA

Learn More About Medium Publications at

In any case, if you’re a read, writer, or Medium publication editor, check out the TopMediumPublications for more insights on this vast platform and its most popular publications and topics. You can even filter out all the dormant publications from the lists.

Finally, if you’re a writer, share your stories on to reach more readers outside of Medium.



Lincoln W Daniel
Writers Guild

Chief Bull @ ® Elevating writers @ Author @JavaForHumans Ex: Editor in Chief MarkGrowth (acq.), Engineer @Medium @GoPuff