Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Medium’s Pivot Caught Its Publishing Partners by Surprise

After Medium announced yesterday that they would be laying off fifty employees and terminating their advertising program, they apparently forgot to give a heads-up to the publishers who moved to the platform in April.

Peter Sterne and Kelsey Sutton, Politico:

Medium’s exit from the online ad business was news to some of its publishing partners, many of whom have come to depend on the publishing platform as a key source of revenue. More than two dozen publications are members of Medium’s revenue beta program, which allows them to sell paid subscriptions to readers and to receive a cut of Medium’s native advertising revenue.

Five members of the revenue beta program told POLITICO that they did not receive any advance notice of Medium’s change in strategy before Williams’ public announcement. One publishing partner only learned about the pivot after reading an article about it on the tech news site Recode.

“Our publishers were informed about the changes by our team in addition to the post,” a Medium spokeswoman told POLITICO.

Via Jason Kottke, who writes:

New businesses are unstable…that’s just the way it is. In Silicon Valley (and in other startup-rich areas), these unstable businesses have lots of someone else’s money to throw around — which makes them appear more stable in the short term — but they cannot escape the reality of the extreme risk involved in building a new business, particularly a business that needs to grow quickly (as almost all VC-backed startups are required to do). All of which can make it difficult to enter into a business arrangement with a startup…just ask publishers working with Facebook or businesses dependent on Twitter’s API or Vine or Tumblr, not to mention the thousands of startups that have ceased to exist over the years.

Couldn’t have said it any better.