Thank you for that explanation. It seems Medium has undergone a typical cycle for internet technology: (1) build an application that users can use for free, (2) get them hooked, and (3) then monetize it — hoping the addiction is strong enough to overlook the new monetizing aspect.
Given (from what I’m seeing) that the average Medium user is not here very long, so Medium business model has yet to prove itself. While I got value for my $50, I have to wonder whether those fees are actually paying the bills let alone ROI. But that’s not my problem.
I was on G+ for several years. I found it amusing that the king of monetizing websites dared not put Google ad units on their own social media forum.
For two years, I was on a forum called Writerbeat (which has been recently become defunct). It seemed to hold about 50 regular contributors with another 50 trying it out. The discourse was quite vibrant; sometimes civil, sometimes not. While most of were middle-aged white guys, we came from different political and life spectrums. I got to know some people reasonably well and had built up a good rapport. The owner tried a lot of different things to get more people on her forum. But it seems 150 was the most it could hold. I think when too many people are interacting, it becomes too noisy, people drift away. And without a community, there’s not much of a reason to stay.
Despite the rapport I built up on Writerbeat, I only got a couple people to my website to read at least half the book. I put in lots of work to help build that community, but not much ROI for that work. I had to put my time elsewhere.
Selfish motive you may surmise. I’m kind of getting the impression that many Medium newbies somehow believe they could earn some money with the new Medium. For most, that is not working, so they leave.