Medium , one of the largest content publishing platforms has an audience of 60 million. It is often praised for its ease and simplicity for authors in writing and publishing posts. The embeds work better than most other platforms, their editor is so simple and easy to use, giving you access to a more extensive member base.
However, it is nearly impossible for a writer on Medium to make money from their content. Medium partner program is limited to only 38 countries and requires a minimum of 100 followers to join the program. This makes it impossible for those outside the 38 countries to make any money from their content. Even if you have 90 robust readers for your posts, you still cannot make any money. This can seem unfair and unethical that I can buy a Medium Subscription from India but I cannot join the partner program and make money from India.
Of course, there are other usual blockades with content platforms where the payments take weeks/months to arrive from the reader to the creators, charges by payment systems involved, etc. Writing on Medium for over 5 years made me think not only about the challenges involved but also about the opportunities that can evolve from it.
Open payments and Interledger
Exploring the internet, I stumbled upon an intriguing website called Coil.com and Web monetization standard. Coil is a web-monetization provider that facilitates the payment for the content through micropayments and tips. Web monetization is an open web standard that enables you to earn income from your content over the internet.
Ideally, in a web-monetized world, I would monetize my website and get paid by visitors using web monetization platforms such as Coil. Here is everything you need to know about getting paid through Web monetization.
How to web monetize your website?
- Set up a payment pointer on Uphold or Gatehub (Instructions here). A payment pointer is an address that will help you to receive payments just like an email address is used to receive emails.
- While Emails are sent over SMTP(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), Understand that payments to these pointers are sent over ILP(Interledger protocol)
- Add a metatag with your payment pointer on your site
- Now, anyone who uses a web monetization provider like Coil visits and spends time on your site, you get paid.
More clear instructions here from Coil on web monetizing your site.
One weekend, I was sitting in a cafe along with Vineel, the Community Manager at Interledger discussing how existing platforms can adopt Interledger protocol and web monetization standards. We both passionately discussed the tremendous impact such standards could have on popular platforms such as Medium. We were ecstatic at the thought of how open payments could revolutionize the way the internet works.
Being a web engineer, I sought to figure out if I could use the Open Standard of WebExtension APIs to integrate payment pointers into other websites. After some effort, I was able to successfully do this. I then investigated if I could web monetize Medium using a browser extension, and was pleased to find that I could.
Introducing Medium Monet 🎆
Medium Monet is a browser extension I built, to add a payment pointer on to a Medium post.
How does this work?
- Firstly, You as a medium author will create a payment pointer on Uphold or Gatehub. (Helps you to receive payments. Instructions here)
- Generate your medium token. (Helps Medium Monet to validate the ownership of your medium account)
- Install the Medium Monet browser add-on. Follow the instructions here. If you want to try the add-on without setting up the dev environment, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once installed, Configure your medium account to the payment pointer on the add-on pop-up as shown in the screenshot below.
Popup to configure Medium account and payment pointer on from Medium Monet
- Now, anyone who installed Medium Monet and a web monetization provider like Coil will be able to stream payments to the medium post author and even tip the user.
Coil streaming payments to the medium site
Medium Monet will add the payment pointer to a medium post and Coil will stream payments to the author using the payment pointer.
Although Medium Monet is not available on chrome store yet, the code is Open sourced and you can find it right here.
Challenges and Opportunities with Medium monet
- Any medium author around the world who can generate a payment pointer can get paid for his content.
- No minimum number of followers is needed. If someone is reading your content, you will get paid for it.
- Although you can monetize your medium account, a free medium user can read only 3–5 posts per month for free even though he has a coil subscription.
Did anyone web monetize their platforms already?
Yes. In the publishing platforms domain, Dev.to, Hashnode, Hackernoon have already adopted web monetization standards and their users can web monetize their posts. There are a lot of other platforms that have adopted the standard. You can find a few here.
Publishing Medium Monet onto Chrome store
Medium Monet was created to demonstrate the potential of the Web Monetization Standard and the opportunities it can bring to existing content platforms and their users.
At present, I don’t think it’s the right time to distribute the add-on on the Chrome store due to the size of the market. If circumstances change and I receive more support and see the need for it, I’ll publish the add-on.
However, I hope that platforms such as Medium, YouTube, Unsplash, etc. will embrace the Standard and integrate it into their services so that their users can benefit from its capabilities.
If this fails to happen anytime sooner, I’d like to help Coil add this integration, along with the other great integrations they already have, to their platform.
I am grateful to have the chance to attend the Interledger Summit 2022 and complete the proof-of-concept of the browser add-on in the hackroom. My appreciation goes out to Alex, Vineel, Chris, and Cyberdees for showing me the possibilities of ILP and Web monetization Standards. It was a pleasure to join the summit and mingle with so many creative and like-minded people.
I’m thrilled to witness the way Web monetization standards will revolutionize how content is consumed on the web. Imagine a world without ads, improved privacy, and fewer obstacles to getting paid online — that would be a dream come true! Hopefully, this post has provided an understanding of how this game-changing technology will impact the future of the web.
Oldest comments (2)
Awesome and fascinating. The user cases are many. Shall reach out to see what we can add onto what you have done.
This is excellent Santosh! :)