Medium continues to evolve at a fair old clip;
- First we had the launch of its more “bloggy” interface to encourage more short form writing.
- Then they brought writing to the iOS app, finally:
But the most interesting – and possibly telling – move is the arrival of custom domains on the platform:
We’re starting out with a very limited beta for a select few publications. We are delighted to have partnered with New America to bring you context.newamerica.org, with Midcentury Modern at its new home midcenturymodernmag.com, and with Substance at substance.media. Rounding out our list of launch domains is Medium’s very own comics publication thenib.com. You can learn more about these publications here.
Your publishing brand, on Medium
So, now you can run your publication on Medium on your own domain name, so you’re not trapped on the platform forever. That’s an encouraging move.
The problem? It’s a curiously top-down approach. We’re seeing only established publishers given access to these tools first. Now, if Medium continues with its existing patterns of behaviour, this will eventually be available to everyone, but that could be a year away.
This is very different to the models of publishing platforms we’ve seen in the past. They’ve tended to support and celebrate the independent publisher who grew an audience on the platform, and then later see existing brands join the party. Here, the existing brands get first play, and the rest of us wait. In effect, Medium is starting where Twitter has evolved to: as a two tier service, with existing publishers getting a better service than the general mass of the user base.
Some might see that as a good thing – but I can’t help worrying that this is severely restricting Medium’s potential to be a home for innovative publishing experiments.
Another argument for not just owning your content – as you do even if you publish on Medium – but owning the space you publish on, too.