Or any other platform’s, as a matter of fact.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that the number one piece of advice that I have for new content creators and online writers is to never rely on external platforms to build your business and grow your own website instead.
Obviously, this also applies to Medium.
One shouldn’t treat it as the basket for all of one’s eggs, so to speak.
But even if you’re only using external platforms as a secondary environment to host your content — repurposed, republished, or shiny new — you should still have access to trustworthy insights linked to your posts’ performance.
On Medium, and this is the case with many other platforms as well, your success on the platform — at least in terms of how the local algorithm treats you — and your earnings are directly determined by the type and amount of engagement linked to what you post.
But can you trust that whatever shows up on your dashboard is a truthful and complete representation of that engagement?
The short answer — that’s going to upset some people — is No, you cannot trust the data in the dashboard.
Before you start psychoanalyzing me and think I’m just being doubtful regarding everything around me and it spills over onto my relationship with Medium and all the other platforms, let me tell you a little story.
It’s not about Medium, it’s about Udemy — one of the marketplaces I use to host several of my online courses.
A few years back, when I was just starting on the platform, a curious thing happened.
A student popped up in the enrolled students’ area but no fee was attached to that individual.
First, I thought they must be from Udemy’s staff — instructors allow Udemy to provide the courses for free to their employees and several other associates and collaborators.
I checked the data for the student, but nothing like that.
Then I thought it must be some sort of delay. I waited a few days, still nothing.
Now, as I said before, I was pretty new on the platform, so it was easy for me to spot and track the new enrollments.
Finally, I decided to contact Udemy’s support team.
The first person who was assigned the support ticket couldn’t provide any more information than what I could already see with my own eyes on the dashboard.
I asked for an escalation of the matter.
They were very helpful, a manager joined the discussion, and since they couldn’t figure out what happened either, they asked me to wait while they check with their IT team.
Several days later, they came back with a response.
It turns out there was a severe malfunction that was affecting their payment processing when a student bought courses from the Apple store.
The glitch would cause the instructor not to be credited with any amount from the sale.
They managed this situation in a great way — decided to credit me with the entire amount of the sale and for Udemy to not take any cut from this specific transaction.
They also checked and — I have to believe them — fixed the algorithm.
Now, that one situation got solved but it left me, as a content creator, with the confirmation of what otherwise would’ve been only a supposition, maybe one in the “conspiracy theories” area: you cannot trust what you see in a platform’s dashboard, especially when you do not own it and have no way to directly verify what’s going on under the hood.
- Stats can be flawed on all platforms.
- Yes, glitches in the stats can cause your earnings to suffer.
- You need to pay attention to everything in your dashboard, just in case there’s something you can catch and ask questions about.
- This may or may not be a platform’s intention. While I am 100% sure there are some really bad actors out there doctoring the stats and manipulating the amount of money they have to pay to their collaborators, I don’t want to assume that every platform is like that. Technology will fail at times, it’s part of the game.
- Ask and you shall receive. If you see something wrong, open a support ticket and try to get to the bottom of it. This will also show you how the platform you’re collaborating with is dealing with such matters and in the end, if they respect the ones who help them build and maintain their business.
- Don’t think it’s always about money. It’s mainly about being able to trust collaborators and rely on partnerships.
- Never just one basket for all of your eggs.
Thank you for reading.
This article was originally published on an external platform on July 8, 2022.