Medium’s Partner Program and Idiocracy

This is my first post since since April of 2018. Recently, while traipsing around Thailand doing charity stuff, I got wind of Medium’s Partner Program where—unlike a direct subscription—it pays you based on a share of members’ reading time of your posts. Basically.

That sounds cool to me. Somewhat like the YouTube monetization model, it puts the onus upon you to create stuff folks want to consume…early and often.

There are requirements to apply for it. I read them thoroughly, and applied. I’m an active blogger since 2003 (yea, 19 years) with 5,000 posts under my belt and thought I might both cross-post appropriate stuff from my blog and even do some Medium-exclusive posts.

So I applied. To their credit, the determination was within hours, even after the submission reply stipulated that a reply might take 2–3 days.

Hi there,

Thank you for applying for the Partner Program, and for all your writing on Medium. We’ve reviewed your application, and unfortunately you do not meet the criteria for Partner Program at this time.

As a reminder, those are:

Have 100 followers

Have published at least one story on Medium previously (Note: responses don’t count)

Be within the geographical enrollment eligible locations, as described in Getting Started with the Partner Program (See the full Partner Program terms here.)

Be at least 18 years old

Not meeting the criteria at this time is not a reflection on your writing. Once you meet the criteria, you’re welcome to re-apply after 30 days.

Being mystified, I wrote back and even though the email said in the small print at the bottom that it’s an automated reply and don’t reply, I replied anyway (but backed it up with a help-center ticket as well). To their credit once again, I actually got a reply within hours, to the do-not-reply email. Really, there’s already 2 pluses for how they manage stuff.

I want to learn to love this company.

My reply:

Greetings,

I’m mystified by this determination. As far as I can see, I meet all of the criteria.

1) I have 749 Followers

2) I have published 24 stories to Medium in the past but intend to do more if under the partner program

3) I’m an American citizen; born in Reno, Nevada, my state of residency. I pay US taxes, have my bank accounts in the USA. I already have a Stripe account.

I’ve read all of your eligibility terms, even before applying. Could you be more specific?

Richard Nikoley

So, here’s the reply I got back to that.

Thanks for reaching out. Currently, enrollment in the Partner Program is only available in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.

This is noted in our article about connecting a Stripe account. In order to join the Partner Program, you must use an IP address originating in one of the supported countries, even if you have banking and tax information from a supported country. If you are based in or trying to join from an unsupported country, you will unfortunately not be able to join the Partner Program.

We apologize for this and appreciate your understanding. We are looking to expand our payout options so writers can access the Partner Program from all countries.

Plot thickens. Apparently it’s all about their insistence that I’m going to have problems getting paid because of Stripe. But I already said I have a Stripe account. Here.

Thank you for your paternalism and maternalism, Medium, but I set up Stripe in the first place—1,044 payments ago—while also in Thailand previously, and there wasn’t a hitch. They didn’t get agitated over my current IP address. Rather, they required actual credentials. No problem. Easy. Stripe never gives a fuck about my IP address. Ever.

I never bother with VPN.

OK, I understand.

My residence is in the USA, but I’m visiting Thailand currently (on a Visa, US Passport). My only residency is in the USA.

I just happened to apply while visiting here.

I can easily remote in to my home computer and apply again from there. Would that work?

Richard

Now it gets sad.

It’s understandable that companies want to reduce support costs, especially with expensive phone support. They have employed a lot of bots and some are actually not so bad theses days. It’s often decent to use the chat bot to refer you to a better article dealing with your issue than to use the plain search function.

What’s disappointing is that when nothing really works and you finally get to a human being, it’s too often just more bot.

Worse than that, the human bots have little to no inclination or ability to discern whether an issue might call for an exception and forward it up…escalate it. They are only about trying to explain the policies and procedures to you—that you understand as well as they do.

Thanks for clarifying your status on our platform. In order to join the Partner Program, writers must be located in a supported country at the time of the application and program enrollment, even if you have banking and tax information from a supported country. These requirements are due to certain restrictions within the enrollment process, as well as to prevent a situation where you may run the risk of not being able to receive your earned money and potential tax problems.

Let’s unpack this sad idiocy.

“writers must be located in a supported country at the time of the application and program enrollment.”

What, so people need to show up at their local bank branch?

So, a Medium writer has to fly back home to enroll? What if they just started a summer in some wonderland and wish to write about it? What if they’re a travel writer…gotta rush back to sign up? What if they’re a frequent international business traveller for weeks at a time? Gotta wait until they get back to Nebraska?

Plain stupid and idiotic.

“These requirements are due to certain restrictions within the enrollment process, as well as to prevent a situation where you may run the risk of not being able to receive your earned money and potential tax problems.”

Amongst the most double-speak, meaningless gobbledigook I’ve ever heard.

What are:

“certain restrictions”

“run the risk”

“receive your earned money”

“potential tax problems”

It’s all just covering up an inability to assess individual situations and recognize exceptions to THE GREAT SYSTEM!!!

Again to their credit:

We can waive the 30-day waiting period for you. You can review the eligibility requirements here, and are welcome to reapply once you have met all of the requirements.

I think that’s code for I can remote into a US-based computer and reapply without waiting 30 days, or scooting back to the USA just now.

We’ll see how that works.

…For those still reading I have a rather similar recent story if you care to see how this sort of IP-Idiocracy works (and there are a million examples). At the advent of the virus thingy 2 1/2 years ago I was in Thailand and I ended up sitting it out in rural Thailand and I built a house for a poor family out of pocket.

I was bored. But, also in love with the family and the village. Long story short, the virus lost me tons of money, so I could no longer finish getting this family to self-sustainability, teach a man to fish, style.

I wanted to create a GoFundMe to get a laddies clothing shop going. While GFM explicitly allows you to create campaigns for anywhere, you can only create them from within their supported countries. Thailand is not one of them.

You cannot create an account or log into an account from here. VPN? Worthless. How about Amazon AWS WorkSpaces? No joy. I had to have my brother create an account from California for me. Then, a friend in Florida lent me an old laptop and set it up for remote access using TeamViewer.

I got it done.

Help Rural Moms Start a Ladies Clothing Store, organized by Richard Nikoley

I’m Richard, and in early 2020, I came to Thailand intending to travel around Asia, working remotely to maintain my…

www.gofundme.com

And I’ve raised $4,200 so far…but with far more damn trouble than it ought to have taken because I happened to be in an unapproved geographical region.

Idiocracy.


Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.

5 Comments

  1. Alan Andersen on July 19, 2022 at 08:31

    I may have already talked about this and you may have already answered. If so, I apologize. But what about Substack? Substack is very hot right now and I believe anyone can sign up without any prior followers or articles anywhere. You could mirror this site there and get subscriptions there as well as here. Maybe the issue was that, like Patreon, Substack could go all squirrely some day. And who knows, maybe Substack won’t like Thailand either.

    The bot thing drives me crazy. Notice how their stupid bot did not initially tell you that Thailand was the problem. They made you go back and forth. I’m about ready to just give up with this smarmy corporate AI bot shit. I dropped my phone in the toilet the other day and badly needed to call Verizon and just talk to someone on an emergency basis. Didn’t happen. It’s like they have every roadblock imaginable in order to prevent me from talking to an actual human. I finally just had to pack a lunch and start driving to every Verizon store in the area. And even then, unlike the old days, one can no longer just walk into a retail outlet and talk to a guy behind a counter. Oh no. Not that simple. Instead, I get greeting by a fellow with an iPad who tells me there are five people scheduled and front of me and it will be an hour. So I wait my hour and then finally a human meets me and tells me they are out of stock so why don’t I just go access their online bot system and order a phone online and have it sent to me in 3-5 business days. So full circle. Back to the bots. Fuck me and fuck them.

  2. James McCullough on July 19, 2022 at 11:59

    Are you intending to post different content on Medium as a way to drive subscriber growth to your site and/or YouTube?

    • Richard Nikoley on July 19, 2022 at 12:06

      No. Blog and YouTube stays the same here. Medium is a sort of ecosphere unto itself. Millions of readers and it’s quite popular. You can’t read much for free. You have to pop for the 5 bucks per month, or 50 per year.

      When a members reads your content, you get a bit of the subscription fees they pay.

      It’s different than subscribing to a single creator’s content, like here. I don’t know how much exclusive I’ll do there. We’ll see.

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