I don’t think Medium needs to “copy” Wordpress, but there is something to be learned from a platform that comprises 25% of the Internet.
First, there is 2 versions of WP. Yes, one is a download that you can download free and self host. (wordpress.org) But the other is not a download, it is a managed blog service. That’s at wordpress.com and it’s for people who don’t want to manage the back end. Don’t want to update plugins and upgrade WP every time they roll out an update. And a lot of big sites use that “managed” version of Wordpress.
The managed version kind of falls under SAAS — software as a service. That is already what Medium is doing. They’re offering their platform to us as a service. They are managing the back-end for us so we can just write and not worry about any of the technical bit and bobbles.
So if they are already offering their platform to us, why not offer a few upgrades to people willing to pay for them?
As for sponsored posts and advertising, there is more than one way to do both of those. Part of my grumble, which many people apparently didn’t know, is that Medium did have sponsored posts — they just weren’t marked as such. The lack of transparency didn’t feel right or good. Apparently, it didn’t feel right to them, either, because that program was shut down.
There is nothing wrong with sponsored posts, as long as we know they are such. Also, there’s more than one way to do sponsored posts, or advertising. As you point out with ads, there is the FB way and the YouTube way. And many more ways, too.
Here’s an example with sponsored posts. Medium already sends out a daily email. What if they added one sponsored post at the top. And by “sponsored” I mean someone can pay to have Medium feature their post in the daily mailer, the way HARO does. Let’s say that spot cost $1500.
Would one sponsored post at the top of an email really ruin the experience of reading here? Hardly. Now let’s say they did 2 of those ads. One at the top and one at the bottom. That’s over a million a year already. Add some user upgrades here and that number starts to climb really fast.
And it’s just 2 examples. I could write a book of examples. There are so many ways to monetize that don’t ruin reader experience and that don’t include fooling us with sponsored posts that aren’t labelled as such. I’m glad they ended that program. But they didn’t have to — they could have just implemented it more effectively, too.
Thanks for writing this. One of the nicest things here is being able to have real conversations. So much of the Internet is just broadcasting, it’s nice to be able to have a conversation now and then.
Have a lovely weekend. :)