You wrote: “If ever there is an indicator of quality, that’s it.”

I’m sorry, but there is a huge difference between correlation and causation.

There are so many factors that lead to making money on Medium which have nothing to do with the quality of the writing:

  1. If Medium only features articles by the publications it owns, there is a huge amount of attention (hence, eyeballs and ultimately claps) flowing in that direction.
  2. People with huge social media followings are almost guaranteed to have articles in the top 1% of claps, regardless of the article quality. Just do the math: 1% of 30K followers is 300 people. If each one claps 10 times that’s a huge response and pay out.
  3. Subject matter has no correlation to quality of writing. I went through every featured article on Medium during the first three weeks of August. Out of 205 featured articles, on 4 articles were written about one of these topics: Sports, Fiction, Music, Humor and TV.

My research is here, but you’ll have to wade through a lot of satire:

Finally, there are other metrics that provide a more accurate measure of writing quality.

Linda Caroll, a published author, prefers read rate, even if it only means you are getting 28 reads out of 36 views.

A number of other writers believe that highlights and responses are the strongest evidence that an article has made a strong impression on readers.

It’s unfortunate that our society perpetuates the illusion that something making money is, by definition, superior in quality.

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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