The word "goodbye" written in cursive in black paint on a light blue wall. Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash.
Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

The dolphins were right – it is time for me to leave Planet Medium.

I started writing working as a freelance writer in 2010, and when that work dwindled, around 2018, I thought I would give Medium a try. My first “paycheck” from Medium was $100.00, and I was super excited about it. My best guess was that Medium really liked my writing. The money gave me hope that I could, potentially, supplement my freelance writing with the work that I post on Medium.

Diminishing Returns

The next month, Medium paid me… seven cents. At the time, I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. Looking back, I think Medium was using the $100.00 to bring in new writers. Unfortunately, Medium wasn’t actually interested in paying the new writers for their work after that initial $100.00.

There were a whole lot of zeros in my Stripe Account. Things were not off to a good start at all. Medium continued to ignore me all the way through 2018. I’m not sure what changed, but in 2019, Medium suddenly remembered that I existed, and started giving me a few dollars a month.

The highest payment in 2019 was $21.21. The lowest was $2.46. I took the time to add up all of those monthly payments from 2019. It added up to $93.22. That isn’t a bad amount of money. But, when given out in little pieces, stretched over a year, it didn’t feel like I was earning very much.

By 2020, my freelance writing work was picking up again. One of the best things about freelance writing was that I could work from home. Each client was explicitly clear about how much work they wanted from me in a given month. The amount of money I would be paid for that work was clearly stated. Most of my clients paid me in a timely fashion, and it was always a fair amount of money for the work.

2020 was the year that people started to understand that COVID-19 had quickly become a pandemic. It was killing people – especially those who were immunocompromised (like me). Being able to work from home was a blessing.

In 2020, there were a few months when Medium didn’t pay me anything at all. (April and July). If I ignore those two months, the highest amount Medium paid me in 2020 was $3.00. The lowest (other than the zeros) was eight cents.

How much did I make from Medium in 2020? It added up to $9.94. A pattern had formed. Medium was paying me less and less each month. I’m likely not the only Medium writer who had this unfortunate experience.

How did 2021 go for me on Medium? Not well. The lowest “payment” was in February (which was $0.00). The highest payment was $25.06 in September. All the payments in 2021 add up to $48.92.

We are now in 2022, and I am making pennies on Medium.

Medium Shouldn’t Push Writers to Sell Medium Memberships

It is my understanding that some Medium writers, who had a newsletter, may have successfully encouraged their fans to move to Medium with them. I don’t have a problem with this.

What troubles me is that Medium strongly encourages all of their writers to push friends, family, and people they connect to on social media, to buy a Medium subscription. Easy to do if you come here already having a large, devoted, audience. Nearly impossible if you don’t have that as a starting point.

Personally, I’ve always felt that if Medium wants more writers – then Medium should be the one advertising the membership themselves. I’ve tried posting about the Medium membership on social media. It has not resulted in even one membership conversion.

Years ago, I used to work in telemarketing. We were paid not by the hour, but by how many people we could convince to buy whatever product we were trying to sell to them. Those who truly put in their best efforts to sell the products – and sometime had a little success – almost never were paid well for their work. Medium wants you to put in your time and effort to sell memberships. Medium is not offering to pay you for the time you spend trying to sell memberships.

Perhaps Medium thought this was a way to help writers make money. It doesn’t work out that way. Every time a writer sells a Medium membership, that writer gets half of that person’s monthly Medium subscription. All the other writers have to scramble in the hopes of gathering up some pennies out of the other half of those subscriptions. In my opinion, this is why most of us have dwindling payments.

Medium Isn’t Great for People Who Are Disabled

I’m going to start this section with some praise for Medium. The company recently added the ability to have an article read to them. I personally find this feature super helpful, because I am dyslexic. When I come to an article that someone has highlighted almost the entirety of, it makes it hard for me to read. Being able to listen to it helps. The audio feature can also be useful for people who are legally blind or visually impaired.

Medium drops the ball when it comes to other disabilities. I have two chronic illnesses that can cause a great deal of pain. Neither one has a cure.

One of them is fibromyalgia, a neurological disease that not only has no cure, but also suppresses my immune system. Fibromyalgia can cause intense pain at any moment, due to stress, exertion, exercise, or other reasons. The pain can be excruciating, and I use CBD to stop it. Even so, I end up exhausted all day.

The other one is allergies. Some of you might want to downplay that, assuming that I’m simply sneezing.

Not so! I have so many food allergies that eating food from a restaurant is a gamble at best (due to potential cross-contamination in the kitchen). I am allergic to all types of pollen, grass, ragweed, and several kinds of trees. If I pet a dog, I have to wash my hands immediately after. I also am allergic to latex, adhesives, makeup, nail polish remover, certain fabrics in clothing, and some metals.

There are days when the pollen count is too high and I am in intense pain. There have been times when my immune system finds something new to be allergic to. For example, it stopped being able to discern lettuce from ragweed. There are times when I notice I’ve broken out in hives and need to take strong allergy medications to counteract it.

Allergy medications make me tired. This leaves people like me with little time or energy to spend on doing anything other than trying to recover. It is no longer possible for me to attempt to compete on Medium for “clicks” that – at best – might bring in $1.00.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Clicks

All of this is my way of saying goodbye. My experiment at Medium has come to an end. It is no longer healthy for me to continue to post something on Medium for pennies. My next step is to delete all of my stories and leave the Partner Program.

So Long, And Thanks For All The Clicks

Twitter Banned Accounts Tweeting Propaganda is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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