So I have previously published pieces about the advantages of Medium (here) and later published a piece about the advantages of using it as a syndication platform, which mostly still stands. However, for me personally I will no longer be using it any capacity.
I wrote an article (note this article is not up for reasons) criticizing a problematic cryptocurrency, this article was distributed by Medium curators, and was up for five months before I finally received this email:
You can review the article yourself but I do not think it was gratuitously abusive, and I do not think harmful is a meaningful metric here. If any post that could be harmful to a business is taken down then you are effectively eliminating the ability for people to criticize or review. Once I realized it had been taken down I decided to review their Terms of Service (something I should have done before ever promoting them). They include in their terms this line right here:
This blanket statement made me realize that it was no longer going to be a fortuitous relationship for me to allow them to use my content to advance their platform. I encourage all content creators to control your own domain, control your own hosting if you can (or use one who has committed to being anti-censorship like WordPress), control your own email list, and keep backups of your content. I did all of these things so this takedown has little effect on me, but I worry about the effect it could have on someone else.
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Update: I disavow this post. Left up for reference sake.
Medium for a long time was my preferred publication platform. It offers a beautiful interface, simple interaction features, and the ability to be featured in a variety of ways to extend your reach. I have to give the creators of Medium support for designing what is arguably one of the best reading and writing platforms on the internet. However, they fall victim to the same fundamental flaw as other proprietary platforms, and that is that they tend to silo your content. Once you have placed your content in the control of another platform you are now, at least in part, subject to their whims and vagaries. For example, it used to be possible to set Medium up with your own custom domain, that feature has now been deprecated.
Giving Medium the benefit of the doubt, they are one of the best silos on the internet. Thanks to them several of my articles on various cryptocurrencies projects got thousands more views than they likely would have otherwise, so it is a little bit hard for me to complain about them. However, even the best silo is still a silo and perhaps more insidious for being so tempting. However, the reason Medium still has incredible value even after you “leave” is that they allow themselves to become a syndication platform for your content.
Since Medium has a need for content to be available on the platform they made the very prudent decision of making it easy to import posts from other locations (like this one will be) and share them on Medium. The benefits of this are a canonical link that boosts your own site SEO, improved visibility, and the ability to have your article in a Medium publication. This let’s you profit from most of the benefits of Medium and maintain control of your content.