reviving blogging has not been profitable

When Medium was born in 2012, and especially when it reached its maximum impact in 2015, it was seen as a savior. The savior of laid-back journalism in the age of click-bait and intrusive ads. And also, as the regenerator of the blog model that had illuminated the beginning of the massive internet and that had lost a lot of presence in a way.

Today there is hardly any of that left. Evan Williams, founder and CEO of the platform (if ever it was decided to be a platform or more a medium in itself) announced a few days ago that it offered the 75 publishers who were still on staff the option of an agreed exit. It has not been confirmed, but it is to be expected that this will cease all the own publications that Medium had promoted in recent years, and that it will simply remain, now, as a technology company, and not a media company, that offers a writing platform .

Along the way here, Medium has undergone many changes in its business model, in its relationship with freelance writers and media groups itself. To the point of becoming completely blurred.

Is Medium a blog network, a portal network, a blog post trying to find direct money for writers, a CMS like WordPress…? Surely, he has wanted to be all and none of that at the same time.

This is the story of how an idea that was welcomed with open arms has ended up falling into unimportant importance. From how it has gone from the phrase “you have to open a profile or a blog on Medium” to almost completely leaving the conversation both in journalistic and technological terms. The epilogue is missing, but surely we are also already talking about the story of a failure.

The birth of Medium, the obsession of Ev Williams

Medium’s history is inextricable from that of its founder and CEO, Evan Williams.

Medium was offered in its beginnings as a free platform, in which the written text was the center. There were no banners, and the design was committed to minimalism.

But what was initially a place for anyone to write long texts soon began to pivot. In 2013 Medium acquired Matter, a science and technology publication, incorporating it as its first medium within the platform itself. Medium had started to emerge as publisher.

The rise of Medium – as it collected investment rounds that were not too important compared to other companies but big for the media industry – coincided in 2015, the time when Barack Obama started posting on the platform. Today the profile of the President of the United States is still active, with Joe Biden’s Executive taking it up again in recent months. But in just this five years, a curious anecdote illustrates the direction that the company has taken.

Some days ago, The Verge published an article in which he spoke with 14 Medium employees reviewing their major failures. One of the most recent was that Biden’s team found that the president’s profile was receiving recommendations for erotic stories. Something had changed. Medium grew by putting editorial content curation at the center, something that it seems to have left behind to rely on algorithms that, apparently, consider that these stories are the ones that increase retention on the platform the most.

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