‘Your Friends at Medium’ are Unfriendly.

Photo by Chris Curry on Unsplash

Medium Partner Program

Your friends at Medium have been enticing me with joining the partner program. From emails, ‘Learn more about the partner program’ tag above the white canvas, to ‘We like your style’ and ‘You read a lot.’

They have been wagging the chicken curry drumstick above my head, with 3 limited stories a month and I have been dying to unlock those black stars for a long while.

I have been wanting to read all of Shannon Ashley’s posts and all Tom Kuegler’s post and be in the loop. It feels like standing on the sidelines when 20K people are applauding for a locked post and I want to know why we are applauding.

Blogger Since 2016

I have been a blogger from 2016. I have a pretty decent blog in which I wrote musings and all about my life. I have written for several publications.

When I discovered Medium, I loved how the posts were quality and writers had command over their work. I have read posts on Medium every single day and I have loved it.

I write daily on the commute. I have drafts, but I don’t post on my blog because Sarah Nderi is yet to find a niche and we are working on that.

I went Premium on Medium in July 2018.

I would have gone premium earlier and unlock every bookmarked story had M-Pesa Xpress, a mobile transfer and payment App been working. Whether the fault lies with Safaricom or Medium is still a mystery to me. So instead, I used my credit card to pay for the services.

Now, I get that locking post would seem like being a sell out to most writers, but to me it is not. Warner Bros once said that you need money to make more art, or something along those lines. Writers need to pay for WI-FI, buy books, buy that cup of coffee that gets them alert and creative, and still pay for bills.

Writer’s need to know that it is okay to charge for their time, their art and not feel guilty.

Earning from Medium by African, Pacific and Carribean Writers

My greatest concern is that while Medium is quick to establish credit card use for writers and readers to go premium; it is not as quick to use the same criteria to aid writers that would want to go join the partner program and earn from their writing. Medium has opted for Stripe which only supports 25 countries.

Now this is discrimination and smells more of profit for Medium than earning by writers. I have no problem with Stripe and the countries they choose to support, but it is restrictive for writers who want to earn from their art because of Medium’s choice. 

Stripe seems to support the economically strong nations, in my opinion.

The logical option would be to have the Partnership program only available to writers of the 25 Nations that can monetize their art. Or use Paypal instead. Paypal has even incorporated M-Pesa, now money can move from your Paypal to your phone if you reside in the East African region. It is trying to be inclusive.

Medium’s Response

Their response to me was to wait until Stripe adds support for my country. Writers have been posting their earnings after trying out a month of trying the Medium premium choice.

It would be nice if my writing could buy me a cup of coffee, a new book, stationery, a back pack or utility bills. I would not mind, neither would I feel like a sell out.

20, 10 or 50 dollars may not seem like a lot of money in an American or Canadian economy but in Nairobi, that would go a long way. Whether or not I will continue with paying for the Medium App, I don’t know.

On the bright side I learn a lot from Medium, on the downside, Medium doesn’t support writers from the wider African, Pacific, and Asian regions. At least that what it is communicating from choosing Stripe.

I will keep an open mind but I don’t know if I want to be ‘friends’ with them anymore.

This post first appeared here in Writer’s Guild

Edited Later: Sarah Nderi has found a niche, and is active. Subscribe to my email list here.
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