A Bad Business Offer

Sarah McMahon
4 min readSep 18, 2022

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

Sometime last year, a company called Tealfeed reached out to me asking me to publish my content on their platform. I was already posting on Medium, and I figured why not? Worst case scenario, nobody reads anything. Best case, I acquire some more readers. I started posting my blogs there as well, and quickly gained over 2,000 followers. Tealfeed was likely promoting my writing within the platform, because the quick increase in followers dwindled after I rejected their offer.

A few months ago, Tealfeed invited me to have a conversation around their upcoming Creator’s Program as a way to monetize my content. It sounded good on paper-they would promote my content, help me get subscribers, and those subscribers would eventually pay me a small fee every month for access to my content. In the meantime, Tealfeed would pay me a small amount to post exclusively on their platform.

I already monetize my content on Medium and here. I don’t make much, but fortunately, I don’t need to. I don’t write to earn a living, I write because I like to. And if I changed what I wrote about in order to monetize my content, I’d likely hate it.

The way Medium pays me is based on how much time members spend reading my stories. The longer members read, the more I earn. I’ve made as little as a dollar some months, and up to $20 others. Like I said, not a huge money maker. Medium itself makes money off annual fees paid by members. Tealfeed’s monetization is similar, but different. They would make money by taking a cut of the fees paid to me. The real kicker was that I would have to post exclusively on Tealfeed, and I’d have to consider their input regarding what I write about. Medium doesn’t do this.

I explained that I’ve had my blog for nearly four years now, and that all my content is available there. Their response was more or less, “take a chance on us.” But why? Why would I utilize a platform that is outside of my control while also relinquishing creative control, on the small chance that a bunch of people are going to pay me $5 a month to read my writing? They were essentially suggesting a paywall that I wasn’t comfortable with and that frankly, probably won’t work. I sometimes pay for access to news articles, but I would never pay for access to a blog.

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