Hey Medium, this is really clumsy

So at the bottom of every Medium article is a content recommendation widget. If you’re just posting to the main Medium domain, that content recommendation widget will algorithmically suggest related content for you to click on, thereby helping your content get more distribution if it gets placed in any of these widgets.

For those who run Medium publications, the widget has traditionally only recommended other articles published within that same publication. This is definitely a big help in getting more people to keep clicking on your articles.

But all that changed today. Now, every single article published to Medium, regardless of subject matter, is being forced to promote the same Medium collection. Check out the screen grab below and tell me which one of these is not like the other.

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Essentially, someone high up at Medium decided that they were going to override the platform’s content recommendation system and just promote the company’s own original content by blunt force.

Not only is this really clumsy, but it’s signaling to content creators that Medium’s distribution comes at the expense of yours. I’m forced to give up valuable real estate on my publication so Medium can clumsily promote its own content that isn’t even relevant to my readers.

This is just one of many moves Medium’s made in the last year that makes it much harder for its users to achieve organic distribution on its platform. When I first started on Medium, it was quite common for articles of mine to generate thousands of views purely through organic sharing within the platform.

But then Medium decided to revamp its platform so it focused less on showing you content you subscribed to and instead tried to push you content based on vague content categories that you’d expressed interest in. Go to the front page of Medium today, and the majority of articles come from users you’re not subscribed to.

Since Medium made these changes, I can’t remember the last time an article of mine did well on here without some outside influencer sharing it on non-Medium platforms. Medium has changed its platform in way that’s removed its core value proposition: organic distribution.

And here we have them trying to ram their own content down our throats in a way that I think would horrify most Silicon Valley engineers. Hopefully someone reads this post and comes to their senses.

Written by

Tech and media journalist. Email me: simonowens@gmail.com

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