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New Update On Medium’s Partner Program and How To Get Paid For External Views (With a Caveat)

  • 7 min read

Medium-land’s new friend tier is here. Earn for external views as a friend of Medium.

Yesterday, I published a story called “Higher Views but Earnings (Still) Low? — Here’s Why You See This Phenomenon On Medium”.

It’s about a writer who shared screenshots of his stats page with me and was surprised about his high number of external views from non-members.

Here’s an example:

photo credit: Kristina God example views members vs. non-members

Of my 228 views, 138 are from non-members.

In a nutshell: Medium killed its “3 free reads per month” feature where users could read up to three stories per month for free without being paying members.

According to Medium, this approach wasn’t as effective as hoped which is why Medium decided to experiment with a new approach (I guess to reach their 1,000,000 paying subscriber milestone in 2024).

So in September 2023, they stopped offering those three free reads and started offering “longer” previews for articles.

Non-members can now see more of an article than before, but for full access, they’re prompted to sign up.

photo credit: short form content by Kristina God, preview in incognito mode, full article

The length of the free preview now is “longer and varies between 250–400 words, influenced by factors like images and paragraph size.

Attention! This new system has a loophole for short reads.

Non-members can access them completely for free!

Non-members can enjoy our stories without any restrictions, turning it into a sort of free buffet for them.

So, here’s the latest news from Medium-land (as you know, the only constant is change :D):

This week, Medium is rolling out a new “Friend tier”.

I tried to translate the Medium Speak for you…

For 15 USD p.m. or 150 USD per month, which is 3x the membership fee we now pay, you can earn for external views.

How does it work?

You do the promotion for your stories. You can share a friend link of your story and then get paid for all external views that come through your link.

In addition, you can help other writers you love by sharing their work. It’s some kind of recommendation engine, as on Substack or ConvertKit where you recommend other writers. In Medium’s case, you recommend specific paywalled articles and the external reads will pay out 4X to the writers you read.

The good news: your reads from non-members will get paid too.

In addition, if you like paid badges (as on X) you get a “Friend of Medium” badge as Burk:

Burk on Medium

Oh, and if you are one of the first 500 who upgrade, you get a tote bag (in the past, Medium sent t-shirts to some writers, so if you like merch, you’ll love it).

Here’s what Alex Benzer, Director of Medium’s Product team, shared:

“When Friends of Medium spend time reading member-only stories, they’ll generate four times more earnings for those writers compared to regular members.”

Friends of Medium will be able to create and share Friend Links for any paywalled story. When non-members follow these links and bypass the paywall, their read time is factored into the writer’s earnings. This means you can drive more earnings and reach for writers you love by sharing Friend Links to their stories.


“Part of what makes Medium work is that our base price of $5 per month is so affordable. Authors want to be read, and our accessible price makes that possible for nearly a million subscribers. But that base price leaves out a vocal group of readers who can pay more, feel generous to the authors they read, and want a way support the essential value of human stories.”

It’s for you if you…

  • are willing to promote your work! I know some writers don’t like it but if you want to share links to your stories via your newsletter, you now get paid for external views. Here’s an example from my YouTube channel:
YouTube Kristina God
  • love Medium merch and/or need a tote bag.
  • want to help the platform grow (and get more money in the next funding round in 2024) or more money in the pot for writers.
  • believe, you’ll earn more money.
  • most of your views are external, as when you’re a tech writer.
  • can afford to pay 150 USD p.a.
  • are on multiple socials, such as ConvertKit, X, Insta, Pinterest, Substack

It’s not for you if…

  • don't like to promote yourself.
  • spent all your money on Black Friday “deals” ^^ or Christmas presents.
  • can’t afford to pay 150 USD per year.
  • don't believe you’ll get paid more.
  • you’re risk-averse and want to wait and see what others say (my guess is the first 500+ will benefit the most, as with the Boost).

Food for thought

example of Friend membership/friend link metric on stats page

My baby just woke up and I have to stop writing. I will share an FAQ tomorrow. I promise :D

Just some things to keep in mind:

  • Ariel Meadow Stallings, who is responsible for the Boost Beta program shared, that it won’t affect your distribution. There are three ways to get distributed (for more read my story about it). So you won’t get Boosted more if you have the badge.
  • I don’t think it will help new writers (except Medium will help their “friends” as some nommers do ^^)
  • A few weeks back, I had 2K external views for a story that got shared on Flipboard. However, Medium has a high bounce rate. Meaning people come here and then bounce. So I’m not sure whether people would stick with my story for more than 30 sec so that it counts as read. Plus, a Medium friend would have to share my link, otherwise, it’s just frustrating for people because they can’t access our stories OR I would have been the one who shared it on Flipboard, Pinterest, etc.
  • You have to generate reads! You’re the marketer, and promoter for Medium and your stories there. If you have socials to share your work, that’s fine. If you don’t and only want to focus on Medium, it’s not for you.
  • What Benzer said: “This is just the beginning for Friend memberships. It’s a foundation for a new community experience that we’re still in the early days of building.”

What do you think?

A — I’m giving it a go. Worth trying out to see how it works.

B— I can contribute more to the writers I read.

C — I can’t afford it. I’m not financially secure (or spent all my money on Cyber Monday deals or Christmas presents).

D — I upgraded yesterday/today!

E — I don't have access (yet)

F — Finally! I told them a long time ago that I would be willing to pay more!

G — Where can I sign up? Here.

Follow me and stay tuned for my upcoming post with FAQ!

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