Medium will now pay writers based on how many claps they get

Medium plans to start letting more and more authors publish paywalled articles. And to determine how they get paid, the blogging platform has selected a fairly unorthodox method: claps, which are, basically, Medium’s equivalent of a Like.

A couple weeks ago, Medium replaced its “recommend” feature — a little heart button at the end of each article — with a “clap” button that you can click as many times as you want (much like how Periscope lets you send broadcasters an infinite number of hearts). The site wants people to send authors claps to show how much they enjoy reading each article.

Image: Medium

Now, those claps are actually going to mean something. Medium pays authors by dividing up every individual subscriber’s fee between the different articles they’ve read that month. But rather than doing an even division between articles, Medium will weight payments toward whichever articles a subscriber gives the most claps to. It’s not clear exactly how much each individual clap tips the scale, but you can be sure that writers will be asking readers to click that button.

It’s a pretty strange way to implement payments, since it relies on a really arbitrary metric that individual subscribers might use in really different and inconsistent ways. Time spent on page and whether someone shared an article probably would have been useful metrics by which to tell how much a reader enjoyed a piece, but maybe that makes too much sense for a startup in the middle of its second business model pivot. On the positive side, claps can help Medium surface content that people are enjoying and get it in front of more readers.

For now, Medium is dividing between writers the entirety of subscribers’ $5 per month fee. Eventually, the company plans to “start covering our own costs,” but it’s not taking a cut for the time being, as it tries to attract writers.

So far, Medium has worked with specific authors and publishers to put their articles behind the site’s paywall. As of today, it’s going to start rolling out the option to more and more of the site’s writers. A representative for the company wouldn’t clarify if all writers would eventually be given this ability, but said Medium is “planning to ramp up quickly” the number of eligible authors.

Medium is also changing its logo today. Instead of the green “M,” you’re going to start seeing this wordmark around:


This seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to just to post your Why My Company Went Bankrupt And I’m Leaving San Francisco But I’m Grateful For The Journey essay.

This is just plain wrong and irresponsible on so many levels. This is the main reason why we got to this stage with Trump: by giving people what they want to see but not what they should see. The media never learned the lesson.

So who decides what people should see? You?

i think you and Geoff actually ask for the same thing:
Which is that no one should really decide what you see and you should have access to all information and then be able to decide what is more appropriate for you yourself.
Where Geoff has a very good point is that a big problem of current media is that it does not support better researched/written/quality articles more, it instead pushes more what is by all reasonable standards to be considered bad media. Example: clickbait headlines, top 10 lists, lots of overblown or even fake news, basically things of few substance which just catch more eye balls at first glance.
Now one could of course say hey, if that’s what the people want, they should have it, but yeah, most people actually do not really want to be bombarded with fake news to the degree where one can have a hard time to tell what is actually really real on many topics anymore. It’s just, like with a car accident, when it is something looking eye catching, we look, even if we don’t actually like what we see.

So that’s already an issue with advertising refinanced media.
Now with this "popularity based financing" it is a bit different, but similarly negative, it’s like then stuff gets pushed more which does all "to please"/entice the audience to clap.
I still see that as better model than purely clickbaity things getting pushed by regular ad models, but yeah, still far from an ideal model.

Traditional web company writes piece critical of a new way of paying writers on the web. Oh, and on the the same day the village voice announces it will stop it’s weekly print edition and media twitter cries about it.

Can’t wait for the automated bots to clap articles lol

But that only matters if the robot is paying the $5 a month sub which, if someone wants to pay to have a robot give people money, who cares?

Honestly just hope that my favorite Medium writers don’t start putting everything behind the paywall.

I personally believe that Medium should adapt Twitch’s style of monetization. Free for everyone (with ads), $5/month for ad-free and subscriber donations. I understand that the two communities are vastly different, but I don’t see a downside in at least trying this system if Medium is willing to try out this clap thing.

I agree with you about "favorite Medium writers" going behind the wall, but I have to add that when Medium allowed companies to start posting about their "journey" of product development (read: ads), it just became another ad-riddled place for me. It somewhat turned me off to their platform. I preferred it when it was just individuals sharing their own stories. I’ve thought about "upgrading" my account but I have my reservations regarding their current business model.

I’ve managed now to just pick out a few writers that I follow everything they post. They are also very active twitter users as well.

I thought claps were limited to 50-per-article? At least, that’s where they stop for me. And I started just cookie-clicker-clapping the hell out of everything because I thought the hearts-to-claps change was dumb

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