Medium wants to be publishers’ digital printing press, too

On Tuesday, Medium introduced ways for publishers to host their content on the blogging platform and make money from native ads or paid subscriptions.

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Letters in a printing press

Medium has laid out the welcome mat for publishers who are increasingly cool with hosting their content on others’ properties, so long as they get paid in the process.

On Tuesday, the almost four-year-old blogging platform created by Blogger and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams announced a new set of tools for publishers looking to abandon their online homes and lease some space on Medium. Basically, Medium wants to be the new WordPress with a mix of Facebook and Twitter.

Like WordPress, Medium will let publishers use its publishing tools to post content — but to Medium sub-domains, not their own domains — and customize the look and feel of those sub-domains. And like Facebook and Twitter, Medium is pitching publishers on the notion that their content will appear in the content feeds that serve as Medium’s home page and that people will be able to comment on their content within Medium.

“On Medium, publishers have full control over their content and spend exactly zero time, money, or effort on tech and hosting, instead focusing their resources on producing great content and reaching new audiences,” Medium said in a blog post announcing the news.

In keeping with the publishers putting their content everywhere trend, Medium eventually plans to make it so that publishers’ Medium posts can be reformatted as Facebook Instant Articles or Accelerated Mobile Pages, the Google-backed mobile web alternative to Facebook’s quick-loading format.

The Awl, Monday Note, NewCo Shift, The Infatuation’s The Banana Boat and Dollar Shave Club’s MEL are among the first publishers to make their homes on Medium.

Moving from one publishing system to another is like moving houses, if you tricked out your old house to the point that you don’t know if any of the furniture can squeeze out the doorway. But Medium claims it’s devised a way to make the transition easier.

“We’ve built an easy solution that allows you to move your archives to your custom domain on Medium without having to start from scratch. And, of course, we preserve timestamps and links,” Medium said in its blog post.

Publishers setting up shop on Medium will be able to make money in two ways.

If they “consistently produce meaningful, original content and maintain a loyal following of engaged readers,” per Medium, they can host branded posts on their Medium domains with sponsored links included at the bottom of their own posts and get a cut of the resulting revenue. Medium said it will give the “majority” of that revenue to the publishers “based on total time reading, our primary on-platform measurement, as well as the depth and frequency of engagement with their content.” So like Facebook’s Suggested Videos program, it will involve more than basic arithmetic for publishers to calculate how much money they expect from Medium. Bose, SoFi, Nest, Intel and Volpi Foods are among the first brands to run these promoted posts.

Or if advertising isn’t a publishers’ game, they can ask people to pay a monthly subscription in order to check out their content. It’s up to publishers how much they want to charge people per month, but Medium recommended $5 or $10 a month to start. If publishers opt to charge $10 or more per month, Medium will take a 20-percent cut of that revenue. On the flip side, if they charge $10 or less, they’ll need to shave off an undisclosed amount for Medium, as well as a percentage for payment processing fees. Those payment processing fees are waived for publishers that charge $11 or more per month.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.

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