Medium is dying a slow, preventable death.
And they could fix the thing that’s killing them — and all the writers relying on the platform —, yet nothing happens.
I am finding it hard to believe that no one in a key position at Medium knows about this immense vulnerability.
Cannot think of any reasons why they would still allow it to happen.
It hurts all parties who act in good faith.
The only ones who can benefit from the loophole are, in general, bad actors. Whether they are writers or only using the platform for reading purposes, these are the people willing to continuously exploit the vulnerability to their advantage.
Others may use it simply because the solution is right there, in front of them, and they don’t know about the possible implications of their actions.
I already wrote about this issue back in January.
The main problem with Medium is, in my opinion, the fact that the “3 free stories a month” rule is useless since anyone can access an unlimited number of articles if they open a link in Incognito Mode.
This discourages subscriptions, robs writers of their earnings, and allows the significant manipulation of the Medium algorithm.
This obviously hurts Medium itself, so it beats me why there seems to be no interest in dealing with the issue.
What Can Be Done?
The solution is simple, really. Solutions, even.
I don’t know if the thing can be stopped at code level — if it can be modified so that the 3 free stories a month rule would work in Incognito Windows as well.
But I can think of two possible alternatives:
1 — Only allow the 3 free stories a month rule to work once the user is logged into their account. You cannot monitor random visitors, but user behavior should be easier to manage and track.
2 — My preferred version. Scrape the 3 free stories a month rule entirely. Instead, ask all writers to select at least 3 of their articles to be offered freely on the platform. Potential subscribers get a free sample of what’s going on on Medium, writers get to keep most of their work behind a paywall if that’s what they want. So, there would be free content and gated content. But not in the way that happens now, where all content is treated like Schrödinger’s cat — until someone clicks on it, any article can be thought of as being both free and behind a paywall.
Fix it, Medium.
Here is an additional significant issue, discovered by August Birch.
Thank you for reading.
This article was originally published on an external platform on May 19, 2022.