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How Much Can You Earn With 10,000 Claps on Medium?

  • 8 min read

Clap, clap, clap! Two exciting examples explore the power and real impact of claps.

The other day I received an email from a new Medium author who became a referred member after watching one of my free YouTube tutorials.

When he signed up for Medium through my referral link, I thanked him and told him he could email me if he had a question.

I’m glad he did because this topic is interesting for every new writer (and any person on the internet): money.

In fact, “How to make money online” is one of the most searched topics on Google.

I don’t frown when someone asks me how to make money on Medium because I know that…

  • 6 in 10 Americans don’t have $500 in their bank account
  • 77% of Americans report feeling anxious about their financial situation
  • 60% of Americans have a side hustle

(*Since New Writers Welcome only allows me to put more than 2 links in my post, I’m sorry that I can’t provide you with the links. Just trust me or google for the articles. The same goes for the stories and writers mentioned. Thanks!*)

No matter where we are located in the world, in this day and time (inflation, pandemic, job loss, AI, boredom), I totally get that people want to make some money on the side — me too.

The gist of the new writer’s super smart question is:

Is there a solid correlation between claps and $ and how much money can I make with 10,000 claps?

Let’s talk about making money on Medium

Let me give you some background information first.

Medium does allow writers to make money through the Medium Partner Program (MPP).

The Partner Program distributes funds from its subscription revenues.

So far, so good, but how does it work?

Medium calculates your earnings based on an arcane formula related to how much time paying (!) members spend reading each writer in relation to other writers in the program.

“Our partners are more in competition with each other. Each new author comes in and they’re splitting the same pie”, new CEO Tony Stubblebine said in an interview.

How we’re getting paid through Reading Time

Reading time is the actual amount of time people spend actively reading your story.

On the Story Stats page, you can see…

the ‘lifetime member reading time’ = the total amount of time Medium members spent reading your story in the selected time period

Here’s an example:

Kristina God; screenshot of top-performing story

Moreover, scrolling activity, gaps in time, and coffee breaks are taken into account too when calculating the reading time.

Medium will also pay you for reading time from non-members if they become paying members within one month after reading your story.

Side note: Of course, your payout depends on whether it’s a long-form post with 3 minutes plus or a short form post with 1 min.

My Money Journey

I started my writing journey in December 2020 and earned $0.17.

screenshot Kristina God; $0.17 in the first month

I have now published over 1,500 articles on Medium.

In 27 months on this platform, I’ve earned a nice five digits income from the Medium Partner Program and $1,050 in bonuses.

The so-called $100 Club is a club only 6–8% of Medium’s writers are in.

I made my way to the elite club in the summer of 2021 — without knowing that $100 is a magical threshold.

Back then I only had around 500 followers.

Stripe summary May 2021, as a newbie, 6 months on Medium

In October 2021, I shared a story where I explained how I jumped from zero to $500.

Last summer, I crossed the $1,000 mark for the first time:

Stripe summary August 2021

Is there a solid correlation between claps and dollars?

I know where this question comes from.

Many articles on private blogs and even mainstream media sites postulate that you get paid for engagement on Medium.

False!

This information is outdated.

As shown above, you now get paid for reading time — not claps anymore.

Why did Medium change from claps to reading time?

I heard one reason was that there were Facebook groups where people shared links to their stories and mutually clapped 50x for each other.

Medium stopped this unfair game.

However, engagement is still important when writing here.

The more people clap for your story, the better.

Apparently, it doesn't matter whether they clap once or 50x. Every clapper is a fan.

  • When you get 10 fans Medium will show your post to more people.
  • With 50 to the next until you get 100 fans.
  • Then it’s 500 and finally 1,000.

So Medium’s algorithm pushes your story even further (until it stops getting clicked).

How much money can you make with 10,000+ claps?

What do you think, new writer?

  • Thousands of dollars?
  • Hundreds of thousands?

Let me share an example with you from Hogan Thora.

Hogan definitely has a voice and is a badass storyteller.

For his story “The Secrets I Learned About My Famous Dad After His Death”, he received more than 10,000 claps.

photo credit: story Hogan Thora

I didn’t see his 10,000 claps and think “He doesn’t deserve it.” I thought, “Right on.” Amy Sea

Amy tried to figure out how much money Hogan made

Hopefully, all his claps were subscribers and it wasn’t one of those 97% non-members reads. 97% of non-member readers feels like you got stuck with the bill.

Assuming those claps came primarily from Medium members who didn’t just clap without reading but stayed for 3 minutes… can you calculate this with a fictive number of members?

No worries. I’ve got you covered. You can’t really calculate this on your own. The writer has to tell you.

So what did Hogan earn with 13,000 claps?

First of all, you need to know that it is a deeply personal story about his father who used to be a child movie star.

“I invested 5 days of soul searching I didn’t want to do. It’s deeply personal. I wanted it to fail. It didn’t feel like a story people would click on. Sigh.” Hogan Thora

He put a lot of heart and soul into writing this story and…. drum roll please made $3,000 with 13,000 claps.

You could say on average this is $0.23 per clap.

But you need to keep the reading time in mind. It’s a 7-minute read… so I bet the average reading time is 3 minutes+.

Attention! Claps can be a vanity metric

Here’s an example from Smillew Rahcuef

photo credit: Smillew Rahcuef

With 10,000+ claps he made… $100.

photo credit: I Got 10,000 Claps on An Article!

Here’s what Smillew found out:

“95% of the almost 3k views are internal. With an average reading time of 2min 39 sec, the total reading time is 47h12min, and the $$$ amount is $97.

  • This confirms the $2/hour of reading time rule.
  • It’s also in line with the $0.03 per view”

And on average $0.01 per clap.

Rui Alves emphasizes:

Claps are just a vanity metric. Stories that earn 4 figures have almost no claps at all.

Bottom Line

Medium writers don’t get paid for claps anymore. They get paid for reading time.

I showed you:

Two examples.

Both got 10,000 claps.

One writer got $100. The other earned $3,000.

This shows: claps can be a vanity metric.

However, you could say (if you got enough internal views and reads) per clap on average you can earn between $0.01 and $0.23 per clap on Medium.

What are your experiences with claps and earning money on Medium?


Kristina God is a professional marketing expert, entrepreneur, and Medium Top Writer. She has been featured on Better Marketing, The Startup, Mind Cafe, and more. Sign up for her free weekly Substack newsletter here and get notified when she publishes a new YouTube tutorial!

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