Basecamp Moves Company Blog to Medium.com

Posted by Michael Boyink on December 26, 2015

Common advice for businesses publishing content on the web is “don’t build on a rented lot”. Invest your time building on a platform that you own and control. Use “rented” social channels to point traffic back to that central piece of owned digital real estate.

This month technology giant Basecamp did just the opposite, moving their company blog to the social blogging platform Medium.

Why the Move?

In the announcement, Basecamp founder David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) lists their reasons for the move:

  • Medium’s excellent writing environment
  • Medium’s reach (a couple of Basecamps posts on Medium went viral)
  • Basecamp struggles to maintain an in-house blogging platform
  • Medium promised to keep the platform ad-free

What are the Risks?

This is a story that’s already been told online. A new social network debuts and hordes of people join and start building an audience.

And everyone parties like it’s 1999.

Until the funding runs out.

Suddenly tasked with, you know, actually making money, the social network starts running ads and charging publishers to get their content in front of the audience they so carefully built.

This article by Michael Hyatt has examples of people going through this with Facebook when Facebook suddenly decided they needed money.

Medium is not yet profitable but is taking steps in that direction.

No matter the “users first” language you hear, I think we all know where those steps will go.

Betting on Venture Capital

Basecamp has made a big deal out of being profitable:

We’re also big believers in business 101. We don’t spend more than we earn, we don’t waste money on things that don’t matter, we don’t give away everything for free and hope we’ll figure it out before we run out of cash. We’re in business to stay in business, and we have 15 profitable years in a row to back it up.About Basecamp

They even run a series of features about other “bootstrapped and profitable” companies.

It begs the question - why would they choose to put their blog on a service that is neither bootstrapped nor profitable?

Less Risky for Techies

Basecamp is a company full of smart folks. If they see Medium start to falter or catch wind of new decisions regarding advertising, they could probably have their content exported out and re-hosted on a new platform in less than a day.

(I saw a comment to this effect from DHH on Medium.com but darned if I can find it again to quote).

Should You Move Your Business Blog To Medium.com?

I won’t say the answer is 100% “No”.

But you’d have to make a great case for why the answer should be “Yes”.

Consider:

  • You have little control over content posted on Medium.com
  • Your blog traffic would no longer show in your web analytics
  • You lose the chance to turn blog readers into newsletter subscribers
  • You lose the chance to offer blog readers content upgrades, email lead magnets, etc

Don’t Rule Out Medium.com

This doesn’t mean you need to completely dismiss using Medium.com.

Just use it strategically if it makes sense for your business.

You might even cross-post all your content there.

Just don’t give away the farm.