Feels like lately you can’t go anywhere without stepping into links leading to Medium.com: always interesting sounding headlines, but when you read the linked article, you usually don’t learn anything of value. I don’t even bother with clicking through anymore, when I see that domain.
Speaking of Medium, what do Medium, Tumblr, Deviantart, Squidoo, Blogger, Myspace, Tripod,… have in common? If you were going to answer “free publishing!”, then my reply would be: “You may think that you get to publish for free, but actually, you are just working for free”. Think about it. Without you pouring hours over hours of unpaid labor into their platform, these websites would have no content and they are entirely aware of that.
Ever cared to read the TOS of a free hoster? In a nutshell: your content is their content. Once you hit the “publish” button, you implicitly grant a non revocable, world wide royalty free license to the platform, to use your work in whatever way suits their business model. And not only that, but the more you publish, the harder it gets for you to take your business elsewhere. You may be able to copy your own stuff over, but you’ll leave all the backlinks behind for sure. Welcome to the cloud, where your data is held hostage, so you’ll stick with the service.
If you also have this nagging feeling that clicking on a Medium.com link will be a waste of your time, here’s why: nobody with half a brain puts quality material on a free hoster! As a result, 99% of the content there is either “giving it a try” or fluff pieces created by people following the latest and greatest SEO tips (gosh, I still remember when everyone was telling you to publish something on Squidoo in order to drive traffic somewhere else – I wonder if that led to their downfall). All free hosters are digital junk yards. Their whole business model rides on encouraging people to post drivel and then flooding the net with links to it.