A collective plea for follows, and a take on Medium’s new partner policy

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Medium, Medium Staff

This isn’t a piece that you would normally find any of us creators — from science-fiction fanatics to political commentators — writing on this platform, but it comes at a certain time where the publication of something like this is necessary.

In August of 2021, it was announced that Medium’s Partner Program policy was changing; that is the service used by creators to earn money on their works. All we knew was that we would ‘keep our membership through the end of 2021’, until I received an email mere days ago, titled ‘Notice of potential removal from Medium’s Partner Program’. In this email, I discovered I have all but fifteen days to source ninety-two followers out of thin air. That feat may sound tiny and easily surpassable, but it’s much harder than you might think; it’s not just me, but thousands upon thousands of small but highly-talented creators are left wrangling in this mess trying to make up the follower shortfall in time. Many of us fear we will not, myself included.

“We’re writing today to notify you that the Medium account associated with this email address is at risk of being removed from the Partner Program. As outlined here, Medium has created new eligibility and activity requirements for writers to maintain their enrollment in the Partner Program. If you have fewer than 100 followers you may be removed from the Partner Program.”

“Currently, your Medium account does not meet this requirement. You will have until March 2nd, 2022 to reach the 100-follower requirement, or your account will be removed from the Partner Program. Your existing metered posts will be un-metered and you’ll no longer be eligible to earn on them. You will be paid out for any earnings on your metered posts up until the time you are removed from the Partner Program.” — email received February 15, 2022 at 5.30pm

Two pleas on Twitter have gone out from me — an account with 795 followers as of the late morning of February 19 — leading to an increase to 21 on here, merely over a fifth of the way to be able to keep my earnings coming in. Thousands of other creators are pulling the same tactic, with little to no avail, and for someone like myself who only has Twitter, Snapchat (no-one’s going to like politics there when they’re a group of 50 secondary-school-age children), and Medium itself, we are all caught in between a rock and a hard place. Trust me, I don’t want to set up a Twitter DM bot. I really, really, really don’t.

I pose a simple question. Small creators on this platform make really good products, and with time, they will reach the 100-follower mark, whether that be in two months or two years. Why has the decision undertaken by Medium been to strike all those already on the Partner Program, and not impact only people seeking to join? Why is it us who’ve been on the program for six months or more who are getting removed? Is there any justification for why that is?

As one of these people, I know what the feeling of getting money from my favorite hobby is. It’s elation. Indescribable elation. Yes, you have poorly-performing articles, like mine on former Conservative MPs Helena Guergis and Bill Casey, but you also have what we colloquially (in Britain) call ‘bangers’. On my latest article — where I cover the Freedom Convoy and Erin O’Toole’s deposition — I sit at just over $4, American. That, for me, is an insane amount of money. It helps me to buy school pens. It helps me to pay for tea and coffee. It helps me to pay for my cadet payments in the British Army. I know that after currency conversion to sterling and taxation from both the Internal Revenue Services of America and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs on our side of the pond, I’ll end up with less than stated. But I don’t care. For someone who doesn’t earn allowances or anything of the sort at home, even fifty pennies means the world.

It’s a shocking policy that harms small creators, and I wish I had longer to be able to rack up the seventy-nine followers now needed for me to be able to keep earning. I fear the target will not be hit in time. Hundreds or thousands think so too. Hell, I don’t even know if I’ll be paid that four dollars!

Medium likely isn’t going to see this, but if they do, I need to say something. Please, re-think this decision. Are you sparing us, or are you leaving us in the ditch of a freeway? And to any readers reading this, please follow myself, but also follow every creator who’s in desperate need of a few tens of subscribers. You’ll be giving us the world without knowing it, even if you create an account today, follow a few people, unsubscribe from Medium’s emails, and never come back to this site ever again.

Spread this article everywhere you can, spread my tweet everywhere you can, spread the word everywhere you can, and help us keep earning for the hard work we put into writing.

 by the author.



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