In August of 2023, Medium’s Partner Program underwent a massive overhaul, changing how writers get paid. At one time, it was easy to make a sizeable amount of money from writing on Medium. My best month there was just over $1100. Not bad.

But now? It’s a lot more difficult. In fact, some months, many of us don’t make much there at all.

This discouraging trend has led many people – including yours truly – to question whether or not writing on Medium is even worth the effort anymore. Should I hang it up and just go full time on another platform? Is Medium dead?

Let’s talk about that.

The glory days of Medium

At one time, it was relatively easy to make decent money from Medium. As I said, my best month was just over $1100.

I’ve been a top writer there in several categories and have, in general, enjoyed my interactions with other writers in a wide variety of niches.

Medium was, at one time, a great place to make some decent side money. No, it probably wouldn’t be enough to quit your job, but certainly it was enough for a fancy dinner or short trip.

It was nice.

At one time, I had hoped to gain enough followers and to write enough that I could fund my other projects with what I earned from Medium. At for a time, I could do that. Medium helped me fund some projects that I might not otherwise have been able to.

It was great.

I didn’t write there every day, but I tried to have something new posted every couple of days at least.

But now, since the changes to the Medium Partner Program, I’m wondering if it’s even worth it anymore. And I’ve found myself writing there less and less.

So what’s changed?

Medium has drastically changed how it calculates earnings for writers. A story that at one time could have earned a good amount now may earn a few dollars – or less. That is, of course, unless it’s selected for a boost.

But, as I wrote on Substack, the boost program is everything wrong with Medium right now.

If a story gets boosted, it can easily earn a few hundred bucks. If it doesn’t, good luck.

To be clear, even before this change, a story might or might not do well. There was no guarantee that any given story would earn well or fall flat. I had many that did really well, and I had many that were barely noticed at all. That’s normal and to be expected.

But now, in the post-update Medium Partner Program, it seems that only those stories lucky enough to be boosted actually earn much at all.

In any given month, it’s primarily my boosted stories that actually earn anything. That’s not to say stories without boosts don’t earn. They do. But what they earn may be a few cents to a few dollars and rarely much more than that.

It’s clear that the Medium that once was is not the Medium that now is. And I hate to say that.

Certainly I do still like Medium for a lot of reasons. If nothing else, it’s a nice place to post content and get it in front of eyes that might not have otherwise seen it. But in my opinion, it’s no longer the viable side hustle that it once was.

So don’t count on Medium for earnings?

Look, to be clear, I’m not at all saying that you can’t make money on Medium. I’m not. And yes, you can make a bit here and there if you are blessed to get your stories seen and chosen by boost nominators.

It’s always nice to see an email that a story has been selected for a boost. But I miss the days when I didn’t have to rely on boosts to actually have a good month of earnings on Medium.

Earnings have never been really predictable there, of course. One month could be great and the next not so much. But ever since the August 2023 update, earnings have been predictably underwhelming – and I’m not the only one to think so.

Even veteran Medium writers have taken to social media and Substack talking about this change. The tech niche has been hit especially hard, it seems.

Currently, I can’t advise anyone – new writer or not – to join Medium with the expectation that writing there is going to pay the bills. It likely won’t.

At most, it’s a nice bit of extra spending money. Nothing more.

So where does that leave Medium?

To me, Medium remains part of a long term content strategy. It’s not my main focus or my only focus. But as part of the whole, it’s a good tool.

Medium has the unique benefit of having a built-in audience. Medium members pay a monthly or yearly fee to read content that’s placed behind the paywall, and that means there’s always a market for good content.

Despite my frustrations, I can’t bring myself to say that Medium is bad or not worth it. It isn’t.

The only way it would be “not worth it” to me is if I were writing on Medium with the expectation that it would help me make enough money to quit my day job and retire to Fiji.

That’s not going to happen.

But as a tool in a larger, overall strategy, it’s nice to have.

For me, Medium’s purpose has shifted. At one time, it was primarily a money making tool. Now, I’m going to use it as a place primarily to build an audience and drive attention to other projects – both now and in the future.

It’s hard to deny the power of Medium for building an audience, and even if I made absolutely nothing from it, I would be crazy to not leverage that strength.

But going forward, it simply won’t be primarily a money maker for me.

If I have a good month, great.

If not, at least my expectations were low.