Who would pay $5 to support a website?
March 22, 2017 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Medium is now selling monthly subscriptions
posted by beukeboom (33 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 


(From what I remember, Medium previously unceremoniously fired some quality people, including Anil Dash and Jessamyn. So I tend to side-eye any promises of investing in and promoting good writers, personally)
posted by naju at 8:13 PM on March 22, 2017 [9 favorites]


Amazing. A visionary, totally new "economic model for content": ask people to pay for a subscription and use the revenue to commission writing for them to read! What will the greatest minds in tech think of next?
posted by RogerB at 8:17 PM on March 22, 2017 [25 favorites]


Williams is charismatic, imaginative, and brilliant in some ways, particularly around products, but he's impetuous and clueless in others.

In Silicon Valley? Fake News.
posted by klanawa at 8:38 PM on March 22, 2017


Pff, I tried to make an account but the email confirmation link only works if opened on a mobile device, which is not great if you don't have an email account linked to your mobile device. This *select three of your interests* thing is weird too. Just show me good journalism; My interests aren't that narrow. And anyway I think I'd rather give $5 to an independent journalist than the co-founder of twitter, if we're going to get political about things.
posted by mammal at 8:45 PM on March 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


So are we now 'in town'?
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:09 PM on March 22, 2017 [19 favorites]


Medium previously unceremoniously fired some quality people, including Anil Dash and Jessamyn.
And a decade before, Ev's first internet unicorn, Blogger, fired some quality people including mathowie and pb, before selling out to Google. And I haven't trusted Ev Williams since.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:16 PM on March 22, 2017 [7 favorites]


An, ahem, editorial about this: "Ev Williams has lost his goddamn mind."
posted by Political Funny Man at 9:19 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'm rather tired of the subscription model that seems to be everywhere these days. The new note app, Milanote, is fantastic--far more useful to me than, say, Evernote, but so frustrating that they went with a subscription model.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:33 PM on March 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Or, maybe he really is “The Forrest Gump of the Internet,” as The Atlantic once proclaimed.

lol
posted by My Dad at 9:49 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's low hanging fruit, but I'll take it:

Medium is neither rare nor well-done.
posted by parliboy at 10:14 PM on March 22, 2017 [44 favorites]


Large Medium for small sum
posted by Going To Maine at 10:39 PM on March 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


You Should See the Other Guy: Subscriptions are cartoonishly more profitable per paying customer. That's why it's the basic standard for modern business-to-business software. Compared to shrinkwrapped software from the old days, you might get $400 for the same product that you'd be charging $100/mo, something like that, for software-as-a-service. Compared to ads, where you might squeeze $1/year out of the same usage rate, even if there are more people using.
posted by hleehowon at 11:22 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


So the b2b folks charge that much more, and the direct-to-consumer projects basically copy the b2b folks because of their profitability.

Some of these b2b people charge quite a bit...
posted by hleehowon at 11:26 PM on March 22, 2017


Subscriptions are cartoonishly more profitable per paying customer

Only if you retain those customers, of course. If customers drop your service after too short a time, you lose money. Plenty of XaaS businesses that have gone bust can attest to that.
posted by Lyme Drop at 11:43 PM on March 22, 2017


Medium fired Jessamyn? What were they thinking?
posted by yueliang at 12:01 AM on March 23, 2017


The mainstream internet has become a place where you can spout such useless drivel without any protest.
First, the basics: Medium will remain the best place to share ideas that matter and to find independent voices and fresh perspectives — for free. For members, it will get better.
Centralization: The best place to share ideas that matter and to find independent voices and fresh perspectives should not be limited to a website. Not even a search engine should sit on that monopoly.

Membership. I'm not saying All information should be free, but nowadays you need to register and give out your browsing habits to over to a dozen companies in an effort to keep up with the news. Actually I am saying that all information should be free.

I'm saying that we shouldn't hand over the technology to Silicon Valley or whoever are the new pioneers of journalism this week.

Information wants to be free and so should we.

Now, I'm digging myself further into the underground internet. Wait.. where did that place go? This thing is hollow.. help!
posted by beesbees at 3:43 AM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


Medium came with a promise of quality writing. It didn't deliver. Now it wants $5 to possibly deliver the thing it promised to deliver originally? Good luck with that.
posted by tommasz at 6:04 AM on March 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'd never pay $5/month for Medium, but I would pay $20/month for access to a wide variety of news and story sites.
posted by Stonkle at 6:43 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Information wants to be free and so should we.

Housing isn't free, so I'm not sure how one does quality writing without a room of their own.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Housing isn't free

Well there's your problem right there. If housing were free, people would produce a lot more quality journalism, because they could do so without worrying about housing et al.

The market doesn't automatically provide a mechanism to do whatever you might want or promise that you'll get everything the way you like it. There's all kinds of shit people want that markets don't provide because there's no business model for them. (Things like getting all that plastic out of the oceans, for example. Apparently building roads and bridges in the United States. Tons of things.)

Ultimately, this problem won't be solved unless we can find a way to transition from capitalism built around "there's not enough supply to meet demand!" to something else that can handle a world of "there's not enough demand to meet supply" or else we're going to end. Like the Bryan Clark piece concludes, "And if this is really the way forward, subscription models, we’re all fucked."
posted by Naberius at 7:31 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


As a "content creator" (hah, not really, just used it as a place to dump a few written pieces for a place that went under after seeing an ad here, and never got around adding more or even translating them), paying $60/year for the chance I might be an "expert contributor" looks a bit ponzi-ish, and I already know what to expect - the loudest, better connected and most self-promoting get the money, while the others are in a waiting line where a few people can bully right to the front and so the ones in the back are always in the back.
posted by lmfsilva at 7:58 AM on March 23, 2017


Medium is a good title for a platform for mediocre writing, which is Medium's specialty. Their writing is about as stimulating as Sleepytime Tea. I pay for some websites: Aeon and Metafilter, for example, but I wouldn't dream of paying for pablum.
posted by kozad at 8:25 AM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is the only online thing I pay $5 towards. I'm a shocking leech.
posted by h00py at 8:47 AM on March 23, 2017


my eyes roll by pure reflex every time I mouseover a link and see it leads to Medium. I would rather hurl myself into the sea than pay them $5 for anything. at least my day started with a good laugh.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:28 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I would never give a quality social site $5. Ever.

(Related: Don't you ever take away my classic Blue theme...)
posted by mafted jacksie at 1:27 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


John Gruber: You know that feeling when you read a piece on Medium, and the only way to express your feelings regarding said piece on Medium is to make the jag-off motion with your hand? ✊ 🍆
posted by porn in the woods at 1:42 PM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't get the whole 'Oh noes! Internet content isn't what I want it to be and needs to be "fixed"'.

Why? If there's too much crap online, don't read it. If you don't find anything you like online, read a book. If you don't like books, read a magazine or watch a movie. Or don't.

I get wanting to publish good writing, if that's your thing, but I don't see this as an important problem in search of a solution in a general sense.
posted by signal at 1:49 PM on March 23, 2017


Anyone can publish on Medium, it's not like you need to pass a test beforehand. Most of my longform-ish writing is on there because it's easy, gets a decent audience most days, and is easier to engage with than say Tumblr (which isn't great for essays).

I'm gonna sign up to be a contributor (you don't have to pay anything, it's a separate process) because hey, any extra source of income is helpful. I don't have that many supporters on Patreon despite having a pretty big following (most of which can't pay coz economic inequality), I've been having issues jobhunting for years, and "information wants to be free" ain't exactly paying my rent, so.
posted by divabat at 4:36 PM on March 23, 2017


Information wants to be free and so should we.

To quote Steve Wozniak, “Information should be free, but your time should not.”
posted by Going To Maine at 5:46 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Information "wants to" be free, labor doesn't.
posted by divabat at 6:00 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Problem is information results from labor.
posted by Miko at 8:14 PM on March 23, 2017


Well, we’re not going to solve all the problems in this thread. Dang.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:45 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


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