3 Strategic Moves from Medium.com to Further Expand Its Position in The Social Blogging Market


Medium.com CEO of Ev Williams has announced in his post yesterday 5 major new features. These new features are:
  • New Apps
  • New Editor Tool
  • Mentions
  • Publishing API
  • Domains

In addition to the 5 features, medium is launching a new logo (see the image above). 3 out of 5 moves in the announcement are strategic for Medium and they are redefining what Medium.com means to writers and readers:
  1. Mentions
  2. Publishing API
  3. Domains
Allow me to elaborate more.

Mentions – More and More Social!

This is the same @mentions feature from Twitter. It is a key new social media in addition to its existing Follow feature. With @mentions, anyone can make reference to just about anyone and everyone like Twitter does. To many medium.com, this is a way to catch some other member’s attention. However, for those being “@mentioned”, it’s a way to build quantify their influential power and be able show to the world how often that they are being mentioned.

@Mention further strengthen Medium.com as a social media platform.

Publishing API – Create A New Tier of Value Added Service Provider

Ev Williams has openly said that they allow other platform to cross publish their contents to Medium.com. It is obvious, on the surface, that Medium.com wants to attract more contents. However, if we think one or two steps more on a wider scope, the use of APIs has always been reserved for the tech savvy organizations who have the programming power to make use of the APIs. APIs are not meant for ordinary users. Thus Medium.com attempts to create an eco-system of with other value-added service providers. These second tier value-added companies marry their unique strength and creativities leveraging Medium.com community to create provide more services (free or paid I suppose) to users. For example, someone may create a platform out of the APIs to create an automated content cross-publishing service from WordPress to Medium.com via RSS (RSS is the minimum raw format for content syndication, with API, I am sure they can do better then RSS) as a Migration service or SEO Link building tool. 

Domains – Switching from to be secondary content to primary content position

With Custom Domains, writers can map their domain to the Medium.com account much like WordPress.com, Blogger and other blogging platform. At first glance, we can all say that writers will move their personal site (the home page) to Medium and further brand their medium.com account. On deeper thoughts, writer don’t have to map the www.xyz.com to Medium but instead to map a domain extension such as blog.xyz.com which may further be linked to the www.xyz.com to form a complete site. I am of course assuming Medium will offer this feature in the Domains service. Since Medium.com is very simple blogging site, I anticipate that it’s too simple for most companies or even individual writers / marketers to make medium.com their home page as yet. Those who use Medium.com as their  “home page” today are probably from a pretty narrow market segment: for those who simply writes for influential power and not to offer other commercial services in the same site. So I am guessing that more company will integrate an extended domain name blog.xyz.com instead of the www.xyz.com to Medium.com. However, at the least, Medium is switching from a second tier of content (as a copy of other website’s content) to primary content source where people will first write and publish on medium because the users’ domain is mapped to the medium.com.

Summary

In the ever-accelerating online content and social media marketing industry, it seems everybody is expanding into everybody else in their market. These moves from medium.com remind me that it’s a counter strategic move against Facebook’s announcement of the enhancement of Facebook Notes feature (see my earlier article here). It is also overlapping with Twitter when it takes away the 140 characters limitation (see my earlier article here).

Not too long these social blogging platforms will all have similar set of features. So in a long run none of these platform will offer much meaningful differentiations from product feature perspectives. However, their brands and their nature communities form their unique market positions. And that’s what make these mega players different from each other. Today, with what’s been shown on the table, Medium position itself for influential writers who are not writing for revenue but more on expressing their ideas and to change the world! It’s more like a broadcasting content network for the journalists and the celebrities instead of a “friend to friend referral” average Joe network like Facebook. 

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