A number of legal professionals use the on-line publishing platform, Medium, for the publishing of their articles. Many are attracted by the distrubution of their content to other relevant Medium users.

Plus this ditribution and the platform was free. No more.

Medium has shifted from a free and open publishing platform and community, to a paywall model where the content of publishers on Medium is only distributed to those who are paid subscribers to Medium.

Quincy Larson, founder of the web development community, freeCodeCamp (web development of millions) and one of the most-followed authors on Medium, with 158,000 followers, reports that Medium barely shows his articles to anyone.

How so?

“Medium has shifted to a paywall model where they mainly recommend paywalled articles, then encourage visitors to pay to get around their paywall.”

Checking Medium’s front page, Larson found three of four trending articles were paywalled. Non-paywalled articles no longer get recommended. 

“…[N]ot much of the traffic to Medium articles comes from Medium itself. Most of it comes from Google and social media.”

Legal professionals who see Medium as giving their content more distribution are kidding themselves.

“As of 2019, Medium won’t give you much “distribution” within their platform unless you’re willing to put your articles to be behind their paywall.

At the same time, if you do put your article behind their paywall, you’re limiting your readership to just the people who have the resources to pay.”

Wanting to make his articles and the learning resources of the freeCodeCamp community widely available, Larson moved off Medium.

Beyond distribution, Larson realized other signifcant benefits.

  • Faster site speed, something that’s a benefit for readers, something that means higher search rankings on Google and something that will result in appearing more often on social networks.
  • Full control of content and the publishing experience.
  • Better anylitics
  • A lot more readers.
  • Ability to publish more than just content, ie, audio and video.
  • Publish in any language

When Ev Williams, a co-founder of Blogger and Twitter, founded Medium seven years with the goal of an easy to use blog publishing platform with a community effect where users would recommend and share posts to other users.

A series of unsuccessful business models has now resulted in a paywall model where content is no longer shared and declining platform performance, as compared to other publishing platforms receiving upgrades and feature enhancements multiple times a year.

It’s hard to see Medium as credible publishing platform for legal professionals who are blogging or just looking to publish on an infreqeunt basis.

Loss of control of your content always made Medium questionable.

Now we have the paywall model, and the same game played by traditional legal publishers – write for us for the exposure and then we’ll move your content beyond a paywall. And in the case some legal publishers, delete the content altogether.