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.

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Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Last week, Medium announced that they would be changing how they calculate writer payments. Today the changes went into effect:

  • Payment amounts are now calculated by read time instead of claps.
  • Payment amounts are now updated daily instead of weekly.
  • The stats dashboard has been updated to show a more detailed daily breakdown.

My Initial Thoughts

Even though it’s still October 28th here in the Eastern US, Medium’s calendars have already flipped over to October 29th and calculated our first day of earnings under the new system.

So far, my earnings have stayed remarkably similar to the numbers I was seeing under the old system.

The biggest change I’ve seen is that earnings seem to be spread out over way more stories. I had way more stories earning just a few cents. (Mostly really old stories that just got one or two readers today.)

I tried looking through a few stories to get a general sense of how much I was making per minute read. The numbers were all over the place. I couldn’t even come up with a decent estimate. I think it depends on too many additional factors.

Overall though, the total earnings are right on track with what I would have expected under the old-system.

I’m feeling relieved because I was a little worried that the new system would just totally decimate my earnings.

One day is admittedly not much of a data sample though, so I’m still planning to keep a careful eye on my stats pages over the next week to see if anything changes.

Reading the New Stats

I’m really happy with the new stats page. So far, only the pages for individual stories have changed, not the main stats page.

I love the breakdown of reading time per day and total reading time per story. I’ve got to admit I’m not sure that I have much practical use for this information, but it’s certainly fun to see.

Average reading time per story is also an interesting feature that I wasn’t expecting. I’m not sure whether average reading time includes everyone who clicked the story or just people who “finished” it.

Most of my stories seem to have an average of around two and a half minutes of reading time, which is actually about what I would have guessed.

In general, the new pages are really intuitive and easy to use. It only took me a few seconds to get what was going on.

The one thing that I found a little confusing about the new stats is how they retrofitted old data into them. They’ve essentially just divided up the weekly earnings evenly across the days of the week. I think I would have preferred if they just left those old earnings off the new charts entirely.

Feeling Better

Overall, I’m feeling much better about the new system. I don’t think it’s going to lead to me suddenly being able to quit my day job, but it shouldn’t reduce my earnings to pennies either.

I’m most excited about getting daily updates on payments. I think everything about the payments feels much more transparent than it used to.

I hope that everyone else on Medium is feeling similarly. I wanted to write up my first impressions before reading anyone else’s, but I’m expecting that most people have similar thoughts.

The bottom line: it’s still a great time to write on Medium.

Written by

I’m a lawyer and teacher from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, running, and more.

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