Peeping at the Numbers of the Medium Partner Program

You can read this article on Medium too.

This is an updated and extended version of a previous article.


Medium Partner Program is aimed at rewarding independent authors “based on how members engage with their stories” and it’s there since September 2017.

It changed the lifes of several people and boosted writing dreams for countless others. However, you can guess that it’s worth giving a closer look at the numbers.

Let’s face the raw data that we can know:

MPP earnings over time

Money averagely earned by authors are not much. One-third of the authors earned nothing out of their locked stories, and more than 90% of the authors earn less than $100. You can’t expect to make a living out of Medium, of course, but even get something beyond $100 is not for everybody.

Interesting to see that the percentage of authors who earn something has recently raised up to 69%. Already an effect of new Medium earning calculation, now mostly (exclusively?) based on reading time?

But you have certainly noticed that the most earned by an author, in the last months, skyrocketed to more than 20k. Certainly not an effect of the more recent changes, so… marketing move?

What we can see is that someone is making a first-rate living out of telling us that they’re making a first-rate living out of Medium, or by taking the Medium editorial taste seriously. Outside that, only a handful of authors can make it.

The huge difference between the large base below $100 and the top numbers tells that very few authors reached the peak zone, or somewhere nearby. 92% of the authors remain below $100, so it’s easy to guess that most of the remaining 8% is not much above $100. You likely can’t name more than a few authors who earn more than a grand from the MPP, and I’d bet that an approximated analysis would give percentages way below 1%.

It’s also interesting that the low earnings of the top publications, provided only till July 2018, were much less than single authors. It’s clear that Medium never liked independent publications, and in 2018 they completely abandoned them, in features, promotion, and the possibility to earn money. Sad contrast with the flourishing of flagship publications from the Medium editorial factory.

One piece of the puzzle is still missing here: the recent changes about republishing, a tactic many authors relied on. The stop to republishing older pieces (at least in part, since repurposing is still allowed) can only affect the future data, but it’s an easy guess that the most productive authors won’t be touched. We’ll see.

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