Evolving the Partner Program

Grow your community, earn more money

Medium Staff
The Medium Blog
7 min readAug 11, 2021


In 2017, Medium launched the Partner Program to further our mission of rewarding quality ideas by helping writers monetize their work. Since the program’s inception, participants have collectively earned more than $28 million. Now we’re giving writers more ways to earn money as they grow their Medium following.

Today, we’re announcing an evolution of the Partner Program that more directly ties writers’ earnings to the audiences they build. Earnings based on member read time will remain the same, but we are adding an additional revenue stream that gives writers more control over their earnings, while continuing to provide opportunities to tap into Medium’s expansive network. We’re also adding basic eligibility criteria to the Partner Program to ensure we’re directing earnings to active writers.

Here’s what’s new:

  1. Referred Memberships

We know Medium writers love building a devoted audience of readers who want to hear from them. Knowing this, we’re now enabling writers to tap into their network of followers and build a more dependable earning stream.

Here’s how Referred Memberships work: For every reader who a Partner Program writer converts to a paying Medium member, the writer will receive half of that reader’s membership fee, net of standard payment processor fees. Referral earnings are recurring as long as the reader’s membership plan remains active, and will be in addition to Partner Program earnings based on member read time.

Here’s an example of what a writers’ Referred Memberships earnings could look like:

There are two ways writers can earn via referrals.

First, every Partner Program writer will now have a personalized referral landing page where readers can become a paying member for unlimited access to your writing, plus the rest of Medium. Each reader who converts through your page will count as a referred member for you, meaning you’ll receive half of their membership fee for as long as they are a paying member.

You can leverage your landing page however you’d like: share it on social platforms, link to it on Medium post pages, or include it on your profile. Directing your readers to this page is completely optional. When you do, remember to let your readers know that you’ll receive a portion of their membership fees. Here is a helpful Federal Trade Commission FAQ about affiliate referrals.

Second, when a non-paying reader subscribes to your email, they’ll be given the option to convert to a Medium member, which, if they do, will count toward your referral earnings. You don’t have to do a thing: whether you actively encourage readers to become email subscribers, or they subscribe on their own, we’ll automatically ask if they’d like to become a member.

You can track the number of Referred Memberships you’ve converted and retained in your audience stats.

For more details on how Referred Memberships work see the FAQ below, or check out our updated Partner Program Terms.

2. Partner Program Eligibility Criteria

We are instating a simple application process that requires writers to meet basic criteria. We’ve learned a couple of things that have informed this decision.

We want to ensure that quality, engaged writers are reaping the benefits of their hard work. We’ve heard from committed writers that it can be frustrating to participate in a shared earnings pool with writers who are not active on the platform.

We’ve also found those who build a following, and remain active, are most successful. These criteria encourage writers to build an audience and writing cadence first, so they’re in a better position if/when they choose to monetize.

A few important details on the new criteria:

  • All current Partner Program writers will remain in the program for the rest of the year. No one is being removed immediately if they don’t meet the new criteria. At the end of 2021, if you have not reached 100 followers, you may be removed from the program. We will notify you in advance if you are at risk and give you an opportunity to meet the criteria.
  • New writers who wish to join the Partner Program must go through an application process. To be approved, you must have at least 100 followers, have published at least one story, and be within the geographical enrollment eligible locations, as described in Getting started with the Medium Partner Program guide.
  • Stay active to keep earning. We may disable monetization for writers who haven’t published for 6 months or more. We’ll send you a notification before we take any action and share resources to help you get back on track.
  • In the near future we plan to introduce a minimum payout threshold of $10. If you don’t make at least $10 in a given month, we’ll roll over the balance to the next month until you meet the minimum threshold. For example, if you make $5 in September and $5 in October, we’ll roll over your September balance into October. Stay tuned for more details.

More transparency, control, and opportunities to earn. These are a few of the many things we’re working on to help writers get the most out of Medium. As always, we’ll continue to update and improve our offering based on valuable feedback from writers like you.

We’re rolling out these updates over the course of the day, and they might not be available to everyone right away. For more details, please review our updated Partner Program Terms and the FAQs below.

FAQs: Referred Memberships

How much do I earn for a monthly and annual membership that I have Referred?

  • As of August 11, 2021*, our monthly membership is USD $5/month. Taking into account a standard payment processing fee of 2.9%+$0.30, a writer will earn 50% or $2.27/month per membership on a recurring basis as long as the reader’s membership plan is active and you remain in the Partner Program.
  • As of August 11, 2021*, our annual membership is USD $50/year. Taking into account a standard payment processing fee of 2.9%+$0.30, a creator will earn 50% or $2.01/month per membership for 12 months. Similar to monthly memberships, the payout will be on a monthly basis as long as the reader’s membership plan is active.
  • *Note that the factors determining your payout (e.g. referral earnings share, processing fee, etc.) may change from time-to-time. If they do change, we will notify you in advance.

Will my referral landing page be automatic, or do I need to enable it?

  • If you’re in the Partner Program, your membership page will automatically be live at your profile URL /membership.

Do I have to promote Referred Memberships to earn money in the Partner Program?

  • No. Promoting Referred Memberships is optional. Keep in mind that earnings from Referred Memberships is additive to earnings generated based on member read time.

When and where can I drive Referred Memberships?

  • Your referral landing page: go to Settings > Audience dev > Promote memberships
  • Email subscriptions: when a non-member subscribes to your email (see details on email subscriptions here), they’ll be asked if they want to become a member. If they do convert, that membership counts toward your referral earnings.

Is my referral landing page available on the web and in the app?

  • Right now, readers can access your referral page through web-based browsers. It is not available via the Mobile App.

If I’m a current Medium member, can I direct part of my membership fee to my favorite writer?

  • Referred Memberships are for new Medium members only, so if you are a current member, you cannot direct part of your fee to a specific writer. But of course, current members will continue to support their favorite writer[s] through their reading time.

FAQs: Partner Program Eligibility Criteria

I want to join the Partner Program — what criteria do I need to meet in order to apply?

What if I don’t meet the Partner Program criteria thresholds?

  • Keep writing and building your community
  • Don’t forget to connect to Twitter so your audience can find you
  • Check out this post on Creator’s Hub and other resources that can help you grow

How do I apply for the Partner Program?

  • Simply go to https://medium.com/earn and click the “Apply” button. That will redirect you to an application form. Before you apply, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria listed above.
  • Our team will manually review every application and follow-up with applicants soon.

What happens if I’m already in the Partner Program?

  • If you are already in the Partner Program, you will remain in the program for the rest of the year. Meaning no one is being removed immediately if they don’t meet the new criteria. At the end of 2021, if you have not reached 100 followers, you may be removed from the program. Not to worry, we will notify you in advance if you are at risk.

How do I make sure I continue to be in good standing?

  • Keep writing. We encourage all Partner Program writers to remain active, publishing at least once every 6 months. Medium does reserve the right, at its discretion, to disable monetization from a writer if they have been inactive for 6 months or more. Writers who are at risk will receive notification before we take any action.

What if I don’t get accepted when I apply to the Partner Program? How soon can I reapply?

  • Unless you are making big strides when it comes to follower growth, please wait at least 30 days from your last application before submitting a new one.