I have a couple of issues with all of this:
- How, exactly, will partners be compensated? What conditions will there be? Why would people sign up at all when there continues to be good free content at Medium? Doesn’t this serve as a disincentive for partners or Medium staff to recommend any free stories, even if they’re great?
- How is putting content behind a paywall innovative or revolutionary? This is precisely the model that many failing old media outfits use, and it relies on traditional and outmoded methods of gatekeeping.
Paywall vs. ads seems like a false dichotomy. There are other ways this could be set up. Plenty of people were ready to join Medium without really knowing what they’re getting, because they want to support something independent and different, just like plenty of people contribute to public radio, Patreons, Kickstarters, and independent media outlets far and wide. It suggests there could be another way to implement this that doesn’t rely on 20th Century methodologies, which also doesn’t risk hiding good content in restricted areas.