Ten days ago Medium made a major change to how it calculates payments for writers. In short, instead of paying writers based on how many readers “clap” for their stories, Medium is now paying writers based on how much time readers actually spending reading the stories.
I wrote down a few of my thoughts on this when it was first announced:
How Will Medium’s New Payment System Change the Platform?
Some first thoughts from a writer who really doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about.
And again after the first day’s earnings were posted:
The End of Day One Under Medium’s New Payment System
After a week of anticipation, Medium writers finally have a chance to see the numbers.
Now that we’ve had about a week and a half under the new payment system, I wanted to write one more (last?) time about how it’s going for me.
What Effect Has the New Payment System Had?
Now that we’re ten days in, I’m confident that the new system isn’t going to drastically change how much I’m earning on Medium. With that said, my payments do seem to have dropped a bit overall.
It’s difficult for me to tell exactly how much less I’m making because I’ve also been sick for the past two weeks and writing way less. So, my daily earnings would have been down regardless of the switch to the new system. Therefore, my comparisons are based on how much I’m earning per view, rather than on how much I’m earning per day.
A much bigger change I noticed is that my new stories make way less money than they used to (about half as much), and my old stories are making more than they used to. So even though the total earnings haven’t changed too much, earnings for individual stories have.
For me, this means Medium’s new system probably won’t change much.
For new writers, I’d expect this to mean they’ll make less money early on than new writers used to. Having a big back catalog is becoming much more important.
The New Stats
The other big change that Medium made was introducing new, much more detailed stats pages. For the first couple of days, I had a lot of fun with these, but I haven’t used them much lately.
In fact, under the new system, I’m checking my stats less than ever.
Why? The data just doesn’t seem as meaningful. Maybe it’s because I haven’t learned yet which stats will have the biggest effect, or maybe there just really isn’t an easy way to get useful information from them.
If anyone has found a useful way to use them, please let me know.
Daily Earnings Reports
The best thing about the new system has been getting daily earnings updates. It’s nice not to have to wait a week to find out how your stories did.
The only thing that isn’t perfect is that the stats only display day-by-day earnings for individual stories. For your overall earnings, there’s simply a cumulative monthly total. It would be nice to have a day-by-day breakdown for overall earnings as well.
Can You Still Earn As Much?
So, returning to my original question — can you still earn as much under Medium’s new system?
Yes, earnings have changed a bit, but not drastically. (But, keep in mind: the changes might be very different for people writing in other styles or genres.)
I think the biggest change is that new writers will probably take longer to build up to any sizeable payments. Even for new writers though, a curated or featured story could probably make a sizeable amount.
If you’re on the fence about writing for Medium, I’d still recommend giving it a try. There’s still plenty of opportunity to earn money, if that’s what you’re interested in.
I also want to mention that there are a ton of other benefits to writing on Medium, even aside from the money. I’ve been writing a lot about earnings on Medium since they just shook things up, but the payments are just a small part of why many of us write here.
I’ve been writing on Medium for about a year and it’s amazing to me how many readers I’ve reached, and how many people have left comments about how they’ve related to my experiences.
The chance to get paid for writing about these things is pretty great, but it’s really just the icing on the cake.