Medium has just launched its subscription service, which for $5 per month will give subscribers access to… something, eventually.
At the moment, the service isn’t offering subscribers much beyond the knowledge that their money is going directly to writers. Medium says it will direct all revenue from “those who sign up in the first few months” straight to writers and publishers, so the company won’t be taking a cut for the time being.
Eventually, Medium does plan to start offering new features to subscribers. It says they’ll get exclusive stories and early access to a new Medium interface, which involves human-curated reading lists. Paying subscribers will also get the ability to save stories for offline reading.
This all sounds kind of haphazard, which isn’t necessarily a huge surprise since Medium came to the subscription model only after trying and abandoning an advertising-based business. In January, the company laid off a third of its staff and renounced ads as a pernicious influence on the world, without mentioning that Google and Facebook are so good at ads there’s hardly room for anyone else to compete.
Medium began emailing some users about its membership program this afternoon, saying that it’s first launching signups with “a limited number of people.” But the membership website is public, and it seems that anyone can access it.