Last week, two months after denouncing web advertising, Williams unveiled Medium’s new plan to monetize content: A subscription service for $5 per month that gives contributors an improved reading experience, exclusive stories and a “personal, offline reading list.”
The initiative includes a partner program whereby publishers can pitch stories to Medium that the company will fund on a per-story basis. For publishers who were relying on Medium’s revenue beta, the partner program represents a potential new revenue stream. But some interviewed for this article say it won’t be enough to pay their bills.
“Right now, we’re very concerned about the future of our site’s partnership with Medium,” said Neil Miller, the founder of pop culture site Film School Rejects. “What we were sold when we joined their platform is very different from what they’re offering as a way forward.”
“It’s almost as if Ev Williams wasn’t concerned that he was pulling out the rug from underneath publishers who had placed their trust in his vision for the future of journalism,” he said.
Medium, which sold publishers on being a home for quality journalism, is now putting the sites it recruited in jeopardy, Miller said.