Calculating earnings in the Partner Program

Partner Program writers are paid monthly based on Medium members activity on eligible stories. In this guide you can learn more about your payouts and how Medium calculates them.

We’re always working to improve our model as we learn. Initially, we will calculate earnings based on these components:

  1. How long members spend reading or listening to your story
    As Medium members spend more time reading or listening to your story, you will earn more. These two elements are combined to generate the "member reading time" metric.
    For more specific information on listening time, please see the section "Will I earn when members listen to my story?"
  2. Engagement points
    This is calculated based on read/listening time, the number of people who clapped, highlighted, and responded to your story, as well as the number of people who followed you for the first time after reading your story.
  3. Boost bonus
    A multiplier of engagement points when the story is Boosted.
  4. Member read ratio adjustment
    The % of members who read your story for 30 seconds or more on the given day will adjust the value of all the points earned either up or down.

Common questions

How do you technically calculate reading time?

We calculate reading time based on the amount of time that a viewer spends actively reading on the page. We consider the viewer’s scrolling and activity, and then determine how long the viewer spent reading the story. We take care to differentiate between gaps in scroll activity versus long periods of time during which the viewer stepped away for a coffee break.

As of August 1, 2023, we define the read ratio as people who read your story for 30 seconds or more divided by total views.

Can I use my daily stats to calculate that I earn $X per minute read or per word?

No, your earnings are calculated based on a mix of factors, not a straight calculation based on word or time count. 

What is happening to referral bonuses?

We’re sunsetting the Membership Referral Program. All member referrals made up until September 1, 2023 will continue to be honored indefinitely. We will keep your custom referral pages up so that they don’t break your links in stories, but we will stop generating new referrals for members who sign up after September 1st.

Will I earn when members listen to my story?

Yes. We calculate earnings from listen time the same way that we calculate earnings from read time. Earnings from listen time are automatically incorporated into your earnings and will be represented as part of “Member reading time” on your stats detail page. However, since we can’t account for pauses in scrolling – which allows us to measure periods when a listener may have stepped away – a maximum of two full listens per member is applied toward earnings from listen time.

When will I be paid each month?

We’ll typically initiate sending payments for each month (earnings for days in that calendar month) by the 8th of the following month. Payments may take 5-7 business days to appear in your bank account. 

For example, we’ll initiate payments for earnings from December 1-31 by January 8th. The time it may take to receive those amounts in your bank account may vary.

When are my daily earnings updated? How do you define a “day”?

Earnings are updated every day. We use UTC days, meaning we include all earnings from activity during midnight UTC to 11:59 PM UTC. Earnings are then updated within a few hours.

How does Boost affect Partner Program earnings?

Getting Boosted results in both a distribution and earnings bonus. The Partner Program is designed to reward your most meaningful, original, and memorable stories. When you are in the Partner Program, members-only stories that get Boosted will earn at a higher rate, in addition to receiving the usual distribution bonus. Read more about our Boost criteria here.

How will shorter pieces perform in this new model?

We’ve tested the impact of this change on short-form writing (poems, comics, etc) to see if this 30-second constraint would negatively impact them, and the answer is that it doesn’t. If anything, the collective impact of these changes will increase earnings for short-form writing. The best way to maximize earnings here is to use titles, subtitles, topics, and preview images that spark reader interest in a way that the story is able to fully deliver on.

What are some examples of how this payment model will shape different scenarios?

Here's a breakdown of different scenarios and how earnings accrue.

Other questions

Will I earn for views from a Friend Link?

Yes, we treat views from a Friend Link the same as views not from a Friend Link. If the view qualifies for earnings, we will consider it regardless of whether or not it comes from a Friend Link.

Can I earn for stories in a publication?

Yes. As long as your stories are eligible to earn through the Partner Program, it doesn’t matter whether the stories are in a publication or not.

What is the minimum payout amount?

For most Stripe users, there is no minimum payout amount. However, there are some exceptions:

  • EUR bank accounts have a minimum payout of 1.00 EUR
  • GBP bank accounts have a minimum payout of 1.00 GBP
  • CHF bank accounts have a minimum payout of 25.00 CHF
  • NOK, DKK, and SEK bank accounts have a minimum payout of 20.00kr
  • MXN bank accounts have a minimum payout of 10.00 MXN

Visit this article from Stripe for the full list.

Will I earn for a story that is no longer part of Medium’s paywall or no longer public (deleted, unlisted, etc.)?

If you are enrolled in the Partner Program with approved tax documents, then your stories are eligible to earn during periods of time when they are public and set to earn as part of Medium’s paywall

  • If a story earns money and then later is modified to be ineligible to earn for legitimate reasons (e.g., you choose to unlist the story), then you will still receive those prior earnings at the end of the month.* Your story will not accrue additional earnings for the time period during which it is ineligible to earn.
  • If a story earns money and then later is modified to be ineligible to earn for illegitimate reasons (e.g., the story violates our Terms), then we reserve the right to withhold payment.

* Provided you are still in good standing with Medium, have approved tax documents, etc. Earnings estimates are non-binding.

Will I still earn if I don’t have approved tax documents?

For information on this question, please see the Help Center article, “Will I still earn money if I don't add my taxpayer information?”.

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