UPDATE 22/3/2017: I haven’t received any feedback to my submission, but I was obviously too ambitious with the following idea. The actual implementation seems much more old-school. Find the details here https://blog.medium.com/upgrade-your-medium-924b74c36552#.odfgim42y

Product: access to the premium community on Medium for a fee. It can be $9/month.

Publishers and invidual authors agree with Medium to be part of a Medium-wide membership beta program. They contribute a minimum of 4 premium stories per month that will be locked and visible to active members only with exceptions (see later). Locked stories allow publishers to set a special excerpt and image to be visible to anyone. Authors and publishers get paid based on the number of praises they receive on each story they publish. Praises are like recommends (hearts) but for members only. Members only get a limited number of praises to give out each month, it could be 6 or 9 praises.

If a member praises a story, that story will be unlocked to all the followers of the user account who praised the story. The story will also get promoted to each users personal feed. When a user without a valid membership reads a locked story (thanks to his friend who praised the story), he gets a special promo: “Become a member and get $2 off”. The member who praised the story gets $2 off from the next billing cycle if his friend becomes a member. Members gets a special badge, a praise count badge and special commenting rights. They can send reactions and they will be prominent.

The whole idea is based on:

  1. Paying publishers for restricted content based on quality criteria, not views.
  2. Praises are limited and scarce, must be used with moderation. Members don’t subscribe to a publication, but they know that they can give 100% of their subscription money to one single publisher, if they want.
  3. Members know that their money is sent to authors and publishers. They also get rewarded for recommending a special story to their followers.
  4. The model creates engagement, loyalty and frequency. Members tend to come back for more stories, read more, want to spend their praises.
  5. Publishers get paid based on the network they are able to create, and are encouraged to produce more premium stories which equals to more opportunities of getting praises
  6. Medium stays a platform for quality content and enhances its position and unique value offering