Medium was launched in 2012, and was once an extraordinary reading experience, for its large quantity of excellent publishers and fast yet clean reading interface. However, over the years, Medium turns to be a worse alternative compared to which it tried to rival, not to say some new players, e.g. Substack.
From and clean reading experience to a disaster, two strategies of Medium should be most blamed. One is on technology side, the intensive modern Web technology has made Medium slower. To read a single post, the browser needs to send out more than 100 requests, and downloads about 3MB resources, while the main content is no more than 100KB.
In these huge load of resources, most doesn’t contribute to actual reading experience. Some makes bothersome animations, when scrolling through the post, animations really make it harder to concentrate on the content. Others are tracking the visitors and making irrelevant writer and article recommendations, thus leads to the other strategy of Medium, social publishing and reading.
Medium randomly shows full screen overlay, like traditional paywall news website, to make you register an account before reading a post shared by someone. Although it’s easy for a developer to strip this popup parameter from the URL, most normal readers can’t dismiss this overlay in the page directly. And if you have a Google account logged in the browser, then Medium prefers to make you sign in with your Google account by showing a small popup, better than that overlay. By doing so, Medium tries its best to disturb readers and to track them. Anonymous third party trackers along with personal tracking through registered accounts make Medium easier to monetize on you, just like how Facebook or Google abuses your privacy. Not only they can recommend articles to you, they can also recommend ads by selling your privacy. When everyone had its own blog, readers were able to read without hassles, instead of being exposed to shit.
Besides huge load of resources, bothersome animations, and endless tracking, Medium also offers the worst comments feature. When you want to read how people respond to an article, you need to click that responses button to open a new page, and if some response is not short enough, it would be stripped and you need to open another new page to read that. You just can’t stay in the same page to read the responses flawlessly. I don’t understand how does this contribute to Medium in user experience or revenue.
Due to the strategy of Medium, it should be used as something similar to Facebook or Twitter to spread your article. But never make it the main place to publish something, you should always have some good reading experience to serve your readers, not this disaster.