The Awl is taking part in an exodus of independent publishers leaving online-publishing platform Medium. The current events site, as well as The Billfold and The Hairpin, its personal finance and women-focused sites, are moving back to the WordPress platform.
The Awl editor Silvia Killingsworth called its year on Medium a “cool experiment.” In a post explaining the move, she wrote: “The year is up, and personally I missed the ads.”
In January, Medium decided to move away from an ad-based business model and shift to a subscription model. It laid off 50 employees, about one-third of its staff, and ended “Promoted Stories,” its branded-content business.
So far, publishers are not fans of the change.
Pacific Standard and The Ringer both left the platform just a month after the announcement. The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ sports, culture and tech site, moved to Vox Media’s platform. Wired Media Group’s Backchannel, a tech business brand, left Medium in June and is now housed on Wired.com.
ThinkProgress left Medium in July, the platform's biggest loss. The nonprofit site attracts between 8 million to 10 million unique visitors monthly.
When ThinkProgress first moved to Medium, editor-in-chief Judd Legum told CNNMoney how difficult it can be to host your own site and compete with Facebook's News Feed algorithm. “It's really impossible for an independent publisher to develop and maintain its own publishing platform in this environment,” Legum said at the time.
The Billfold team wrote in a post last week: “Adapting to change is all part of the many joys of being a small, independent publisher.”
The staff at The Awl, The Billfold and The Hairpin noted the transition “will likely result in a few kinks,” such as broken links and adjusting to a new commenting system.
Medium was created by Twitter cofounder Evan Williams in 2012.