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Digging a Little Deeper into Medium’s New Payment Changes

Not a serious article.

I got an interesting email this morning from Medium, letting me know they’re tweaking some of the metrics by which we earn money around here. I was immediately suspicious. Some of these changes might work out in my favor, but others seem downright arbitrary!

I figured the best thing to do was immediately write a post about it, so we can all stress eat and go over this craziness together.


Hi there, humor writer who brings a pervading sense of awkwardness to the pages of our website,

We are so glad you are a part of the Medium Partner Program. Without you, there would be 95% less otter-related content. And, while sometimes we wish you’d just pretend to be normal and write an article about leadership or bitcoin that doesn’t end in chaos, you’re sort of like the pet hermit crab around here, in that you smell funny and don’t bring a lot to the table, but we’d be really sad if you died.

(I might be projecting, but I’m pretty sure that was in the email.)

Today we’re excited to announce upcoming improvements to how we calculate your stories’ earnings, as well as to your story stats page that we’ll be rolling out at the end of October.

Here’s what’s changing:

  1. We will calculate earnings based on the attractiveness of the Medium members reading your articles. We’ve stalked each paying member on social media and given them an attractiveness rating. It’s in your best interest to cultivate a following of beautiful people and cut the dogs loose. Every time an unattractive person claps for your story, $4 is subtracted from your earnings. (I don’t know, Medium. This seems a little harsh. It’s sure to increase my earnings, because everyone who reads my stuff is stunningly gorgeous, but I worry about the other writers.)
  2. We will include reading time from cats too, if they are paying members. For too long, you’ve missed out on revenue from cats staring at laptop screens. No more! (This is an inspired change.)
  3. Your earnings will be updated every 23 seconds, instead of weekly. We found you weren’t as addicted as you could be, so we thought if we kept a continual, ongoing record of your profits, you’d never leave. (It’s fine. I was spending too much time outside. Now I never have to wear pants again.)
  4. Your story stats will show new metrics to explain your earnings. These include:
  • Whether or not you wore glasses while writing your article.
  • If you used the words “synergy” “palpate” “triumvirate” or “omnipotent” in your article.
  • If you said something flattering about the Medium team in your article. Like that we all have shapely jawlines or good taste in cheese.
  • If you live in Florida.
  • If you’ve ever told anyone you could join Mensa if you wanted.
  • If you used that Unsplash photo of the dog wearing a blanket in your article.
  • If you remembered to click the bribe a curator button when you published your article.
  • If we like the general cut of your jib.

Thank you for sharing your weird ass writing and joining us in creating a better place to share important ideas about clown sharks. If you have questions or are currently in the throes of a paralyzing anxiety attack, please send a note to

Thanks for writing,
The Medium team

I’m guessing a lot of eyebrows went up this morning when that little missive popped into our inboxes. After all, it’s a pretty radical approach to paying people for content. But Medium has always done things a little differently and, while I tend to greet all change with skepticism and horror, this could be good for us!

I, at least, am willing to give it a few weeks before I start tar and feathering random things and making dramatic proclamations on social media.

In the meantime, thanks for being so darn pretty.

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

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Engaged in inadvisable wordsmitheries and other creative acts.

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