I started writing on Medium in 2015 around the time I self-published my first book, Un-Crap Your Life.
Not long after, I began submitting some of my tech articles to the Medium publication Hacker Noon. Back in 2016 there were fewer than 50K readers on Hacker Noon and even though it didn’t get a huge amount of traffic, I always felt a great deal of satisfaction when my articles got accepted and published in the Hacker Noon publication. My most popular Hacker Noon story chronicles the history of blockchain visionary, Dan Larimer and has over 50K views at last count.
I just learned that Medium cut off Hacker Noon’s sponsorships in September, which effectively killed Hacker Noon’s revenue stream.
Hacker Noon has been profitable for a while, having formed partnerships with a small number of tech companies and then placed ads at the top of their website. I never noticed these ads too much since most of them seemed related to a lot of the tech topics. The ads on Hacker Noon never seemed intrusive. In fact, their ad model seems to make a lot of sense since they have no intention of ever tracking their visitors.
Well, Medium wasn’t having any of it.
Medium has since removed these sponsorships that Hacker Noon negotiated, and it’s been reported that Medium has put its own ads in their place. To me this seems a bit ridiculous. Hacker Noon has grown into a serious tech news contender recently, and Medium should embrace this, not kill it. Hacker Noon now has more web traffic than Venture Beat. TechCrunch still leads the pack but Hacker Noon is like a decentralized version of it, so I am guessing it will continue to grow.
I guess it’s hard times for publishing platforms, especially those who have not tokenized their economies.….Not sure how that Medium subscription model is panning out so far……
Medium killing Hacker Noon’s revenue stream seems rather short-sighted and downright ugly. But the good news in all of this is that Hacker Noon is now deciding to grow even more. They are going to create their own independent standalone site. Hacker Noon is run by a husband and wife team and illustrates perfectly how a lean operation is both possible and profitable.
Hacker Noon is now taking investment and has already raised more than $699K in a crowdfunding round.
The smallest amount you can invest is $106, which means Hacker Noon is open to regular people, not just elite investors. You can invest in Hacker Noon here: https://www.startengine.com/hackernoon
They are building out their web infrastructure, team, business model and community. In many ways, it sounds like they are really going to expand and try out new revenue models, even including a possible tokenization strategy.
Hacker Noon was very welcoming to the blockchain and crypto communities at a time when mainstream outlets were not. I believe this one fact led to the massive growth that it saw over the last year.
A Brief Intro to The Hacker Noon Story
What Hacker Noon Is Saying About Medium Killing Their Revenue
I learned about Medium killing Hacker Noon’s funding from their crowdfunding investment website. Here’s what they had to say about it:
“Medium’s latest pivot was a wake up call. We were overly reliant on a 3rd party, and we need to evolve. Their ads remain on our site… for now. Since they banned our sponsorship package in early September, we have: Acquired the Crypto Disrupted podcast & launched the Hacker Noon podcast, created the Hacker Noon job board, pre-sold 2019 sponsorship inventory, and hired an awesome interim CTO.” -https://www.startengine.com/hackernoon
What Hacker Noon Says About Community:
“We care deeply about our contributors. What makes Hacker Noon truly stand out is the fact that we are independently-owned & community-driven. Our community drives our editorial, not just our traffic. By staying true to our spirit (publish what the community wants), we naturally become one of the most trusted blogs in blockchain & cryptocurrency. Going forward, we will harness the power of our community even more by empowering subject matter experts to become verified writers and community editors.… “ https://www.startengine.com/hackernoon
A lot of companies claim to “care about community” but let’s face it, most don’t. And a lot of online sites, once they get big, they screw over all the little people who helped them grow. As an independent writer who started writing for Hacker Noon in its earliest days, I have to say that they still treat me the same as when I first started to contribute.
I’ve had several conversations with David Smooke and he is a true professional. I’m looking forward to the future of Hacker Noon and also I’m going to put more skin in the game because David and Linh have built an amazing culture that I appreciate. I currently have not invested in Hacker Noon but I might and I definitely will still continue writing for it as I’m even more motivated now than ever before.
This latest move by Medium makes me like Hacker Noon even more and Medium, well, not as much.
About the author:
Stellabelle is an artist and writer currently working on many blockchain projects.