Update (Dec 22, 2019): Medium stops paying writers in India
Yesterday, I casually checked the map of countries where Stripe (Medium’s Payment Partner) works, and was a bit taken aback to find India had finally appeared on the map. I scrolled down to check out the list of countries, and confirm the sighting. India was there alright. About time, I say!
After all, Medium began payments to writers in other countries in early 2017. It’s not the lack of payments that bothered me (most writers earn peanuts anyway) so much as Medium’s non-inclusive policy. A writing platform where writers are paid based on the country they live in, is simply unfair. I have been protesting for years, and was really glad to see this issue finally sorted out.
On second thoughts, I shouldn’t be counting my chickens before they hatch. India is marked as ‘Preview’ so I assume the listing is probably not yet official. Maybe, it’s not even functional. I decide to sign up with Stripe, link it with my Medium account, join the Medium Partner Program, and see if it really works.
Accordingly, I got going. The process was quite elaborate. You have to fill in all details on Stripe, connect your bank account, sync emails if need be. After that, you go back to Medium, and link it to your Stripe account. That part happened easily.
But then, I noticed the fine print which said that payments would not happen until I entered my tax details. There were three forms there, and the system recommended one of them. I suppose it did this based on the fact that I am an individual, and not based in the US. I’m not sure what all this means, but I got a hint when it was done.
So let’s say I earn $1, does this mean 30 cents will be withheld as US taxes? And what about the Indian government? Will they deduct another 30 cents leaving me 40 cents for every dollar I earn? This guy has a nice confusing take on the issue. Anyway, I guess I won’t know for sure till I get paid that first one dollar. I think this could be a while as I haven’t really been active on Medium for some time now.
There’s a catch in getting paid. It seems Medium changed the way writers get paid while I was away. Claps don’t matter anymore. It’s the time a reader spends on an article. Medium claims they are improving how they calculate writer earnings. But something tells me it could be more about improving Medium’s bottomline. Whatever, it’s Medium’s platform, and they can do as they please. After all, if writers here find it unfair, they will leave, and Medium will quickly change its tune. Anyway, that’s not in our control so there’s no point wasting time over it.
Improving how we calculate writer earnings
In Medium’s Partner Program, writers earn daily through a new model to reward quality writing
What I did have to do was make sure my articles are eligible to get paid. It seems there was yet another catch. Or rather two catches.
The first was whatever I had published prior to my joining the Medium Partner Program wasn’t eligible to earn money. The workaround is you have to go back to your old articles, switch back to edit mode, tap on the three dots, scroll down to Manage distribution setting and then tick the pop-up.
The second catch is that ‘stories published before Medium implemented its new recommendation system, will not be sent to curators for review’. I clicked ‘Yes’ just to check how well the article would do without curation.
Finally, now that Medium is finally allowing writers in India to get paid, I decided to rejoin as a Medium Member. If I’m going to be paid by the membership fees of other writers on Medium, it’s only fair that I contribute my 5 bits!
Anyway, this post is technically the first post I’m writing after I joined the Medium Partner Program. It will be interesting to see if this post becomes eligible to earn money. Or does a story have to be recommended by Medium and go behind the paywall before it is eligible to earn.
Maybe in a few days, I will have some clue as to how this thing works.