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Buyers Remorse — Medium Is Losing A Lot Of New Writers

  • 6 min read

It’s a nightmare scenario for Medium but can be improved.

Recently I lost one of my referrals and Medium lost a new paying member.

Here’s the email log (which he allowed me to share):

“I am starting to have serious reservations (…) from a technology perspective.

Support avoids answering me.

(They do not respond to technical issues.

I am tired of waiting.)”

I tried to help this new writer with his tech headaches but couldn’t. I’m not a representative of Medium, I said.

When I woke up the other day, I had another mail in my inbox:

“I cancelled Medium subscription.”

That’s tragic.

👋Bye-bye, to another paying Medium member and referral.

Why “another”?

In September, I could attract four new paying members and lost three.

Since I stay in touch with some of my referrals, I know their pain points and motives to leave Medium again after only a few months on the platform

To sum it up:

Somehow Medium overpromises what it’s offering and once your a paying member underdelivers.

They feel “buyer's remorse”.

What’s buyer’s remorse?

Buyer’s remorse is a typical psychological phenomenon.

You buy something… and then you regret it.

When you want to write online (and earn some bucks), you have to pick one platform.

Let’s say you picked Medium. You become a paying member to get unlimited access… a few days later you’re finding yourself wondering:


Oh dear God, what have I done? Did I pick the wrong platform?

The most common reason for regretting a purchase is that it didn’t meet one’s expectations.

Why doesn’t Medium meet the expectations of new paying members?

Here are just some of the pain points my referrals, students, as well as followers, shared with me within the last past months:

  • 👎No help — Most of the new paying members don’t know where to start and how to use Medium. From not knowing how to clap to not knowing how to tag a post.
  • 👎Messy feed — Most new paying members are frustrated about their feed and recommendations. The stories shown in their feed aren’t the ones they want to read.
  • 👎No feedback— As in the example shown above, often new paying members don’t have a clue how to reach someone from Medium’s support. Often they have some technical issues… but don’t get any help.
  • 👎Not *really* ad-free — Medium is ad-free. This is one of the reasons people become paying subscribers. Once on the other side, they see how much distraction there is. In the desktop version, you have “What we’re reading” section at the top right next to your feed. Plus, there’s the “More from Medium” box on the right side when you’re reading a story.
  • 👎No money — They don’t earn as much as they expected and don’t have the feeling writing on Medium is worthwhile.

Side note: Of course, these are just five of many more reasons.

What’s the buyer’s relief?

These days, no one wants to throw hard-earned cash out the window.

$5 for a monthly subscription is a lot of cash!

So when new paying subscribers experience buyer’s remorse it’s definitely relatable.

Maybe the $5 is better invested somewhere else.

So what’s the opposite of regretting paying $5 for a Medium membership?

It’s the shoulder relaxing buyer's relief.

This….oohhh…YEAH!… feeling.


It comes from committing to a decision and feeling that Medium will help you to get where you want to go.

How can Medium prevent paying subscribers from buyer’s remorse?

Medium must be mindful of buyer’s remorse.

It’s a nightmare scenario for any serious business to see that a paying member has started to detest their relationship with you.

Medium’s job is to make their paying subscribers feel at ease with their purchase instead of making them feel as if they have made a mistake in placing their trust in the platform.

Here are some crucial steps to take:

As a Brand Manager for an international company and from working with hundreds of brands, here are my top ideas I’d like to share today — for better brand reputation and long-term sales for Medium:

  • 👍Social Listening — Understanding what causes buyer’s remorse is key. Tony and his team are listening. I like this. However, there needs to be more room (!) for communication and interactions between Medium and its paying subscribers.
  • 👍Education — It’s crucial to educate new subscribers about Medium as a product and platform. That’s why I recommend having ALL information about Medium in ONE place. I recommended opening a publication called “Better Medium” to share all relevant information otherwise people are frustrated.
  • 👍Transparency — New customers are longing for precise and thorough information. Where can they find them? In the Welcome Email Series they should get all the tools they need to get started. Customers want to find the most relevant information in the shortest period of time
  • 👍Timely Responses — Once a new member clicked through the Help Sites… then maybe (finally!) found a place where he/she can open a ticket, it can take several days, sometimes even weeks to get an answer. Medium should provide timely responses. Otherwise, the new subscriber feels on his/her own.

Once new paying subscriber has figured out how to utilize Medium as a product, they’ll be less likely to abandon it!

That’s why it’s so important to work closely to help new subscribers.

Final Takeaways

If you experience buyer’s remorse, don’t throw in the towel.

Just because you’re regretful now doesn’t imply you didn’t genuinely want to join Medium or that you made a poor decision!

I’m always here to help new paying subscribers by sharing value-packed stories to figure out the Medium online writing puzzle.


I’m curious. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

© Kristina God

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