17 Reasons Publishing is Broken
It starts with the title of this post
Why did you click on this article? It is that simple question that is driving the minds of media companies and content creators around the world.
Everyone writes for their own reason. But for many, that reason is to monetize and create profit. The goal for the most popular content on the internet, often times, is to capture attention and somehow convert views to dollars.
For years it has been that way.
In case you missed it, Medium has been in the news lately. Co-founder, and former co-founder of Twitter, Ev Williams wrote some powerful words in this article about the future of Medium and online publishing. He said that:
As of today, we are reducing our team by about one third — eliminating 50 jobs, mostly in sales, support, and other business functions. We are also changing our business model to more directly drive the mission we set out on originally.
His announcement received both support and backlash from the community. As you may or may not know, I love Medium for what it has enabled me to do (write a blog post every single day for the past year). But I understand that it is far from perfect. And most of that centers around that single question and huge problem:
“The current system causes increasing amounts of misinformation…and pressure to put out more content more cheaply — depth, originality, or quality be damned. It’s unsustainable and unsatisfying for producers and consumers alike….We need a new model.”
We had started scaling up the teams to sell and support products that were, at best, incremental improvements on the ad-driven publishing model, not the transformative model we were aiming for.
The ad-driven model is fundamentally broken. And Medium was not doing anything to disrupt it. In fact, they were, up until this blog post, in the perfect position to buy into it and create great returns for their investors.
There is a huge incentive problem in the publishing space. Media is fundamentally broken. Even Medium’s team resorts to click-bait tactics to drive new growth:
The listicles won’t stop until we change the way this industry works. Is it on the writers to stop? Or is it on the platforms to change the incentive structure?
As a writer, the only way I am going to get published in Forbes or Business Insider (like I did) is if I provide content that is going to generate attention / views.
Have you been on Youtube? Creators are driven to optimize for more views.
This is unsustainable and even highlighted by major events like the 2016 election.
Sooner or later, platforms are all going to realize that “view-count” is not the metric that drives revenue. It’s engagement.
Anyways…I leave with this simple question, who has the answer:
How will we consume content 10 years from now? Will we be reading content? Listening to it? Where will we find it?
Originally published at Jordan Gonen.
Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.