Medium, a once widely popular blog publishing platform founded ten years ago with the support of a ton of venture capital, may be dying while LexBlog, a self funded blog publishing platform for the legal community founded eighteen years ago is thriving.
Who predicted this?
I was a little scared when Ev Williams, Medium’s founder and a co-founder of Twitter and Blogger, launched Medium on the backing of venture capital exceeding $100 million.
How could a small company focused on turning a profit by charging for the use of a legal blogging platform continue to grow in the face of a free blogging platform offered by a company not focused on making a profit?
But the word on the net this last week is that Medium is dead, or at least dying.
The discussion comes on Ev’s announcement that he is stepping down as C.E.O. of Medium to start a new holding company and research lab.
Why didn’t Medium crush LexBlog?
- Legal bloggers want and need their own site. They can’t blog on someone else’s site. Bloggers want to control the domain for their site, they want to move their content around, if need be, they want to be cited and linked as a publication and they want to be able to preserve their content – an archive.
- Niched focused legal blogs draw readers. Medium’s argument that bloggers need a blogger’s community to get noticed and to build readership didn’t apply.
- Medium went from one business model to another to attract bloggers and writers, many focused on bloggers earning money from their writing. Legal bloggers aren’t interested in earning money from their writing, they have a business model in practicing law. Legal derives revenue from growing relationships and a reputation that grow business.
- Not the right fit for lawyers or legal tech execs. I never saw any of their publishing on Medium unless it was linkeded to from elsewhere, such as a press release or website.
- Changing business models. Medium bounced all over in its business models and product delivery in attempts to get a return for investors. Changes in business models and product delivery brought all sorts of changes for bloggers and writers on Medium. Legal bloggers need to know the hand they’re being dealt from the start – or at least have a choice in changes.
Medium has not closed its doors. Tony Stubblebine, the chief executive of the online coaching company Coach.me will replace Ev as CEO and Ev will become chairman of Medium’s board, a new position.
But two rounds of large lay offs and and now Ev leaving signal that other publishing platforms will lead when it comes to the creator economy – especially in legal.