Jeff
Love it! That very opportunity for Medium was analyzed in more depth here:

“…it would enhance the user experience without encumbering it the way subscriptions do. (It reminds me of Google’s original search ads, which were literally direct responses that helped users find what they were looking for.) This would be a win-win-win for every Medium stakeholder, with everyone’s incentives aligned. It would make Medium a true platform, creating more value than it extracts. At the same time, it would also remain a democratizing platform for all of its users.

“That democratizing potential is something once promised by every property on the free and open web, but the ad-based business model required to sustain ‘free and open’ naturally accrues to the scale advantage. It would be a crowning achievement for Ev were he to find the product/market fit that not only sustained Medium, but also preserved its free and open nature.

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