This is the first in what I think just might be a series of me writing about ideas I had or should not have had in order to let them go. It’s called Killing Darlings. So far.

To answer your first question, no, I couldn’t come up with a better name for this pretend product. This might lead you to fairly accurate conclusions as to this things validity.

In my long and sordid history of fantasy entrepreneurship, I’ve had many a plan. Most times it stewed for a decade or two and withered on some lost synapse deep in the prefrontal cortex and never made it to any usable form save a drunken conversation to someone who didn’t care. Not this one. This one I just couldn’t let go that way. I couldn’t let this idea storm out that that front door. This prodigal product idea would have the fatted calf and its cake and eat it too.

This Unsplash photo by Aaron Burden photo completely shows the painstaking effort writers on the Internet go through to get words to you through the Internet
This Unsplash photo by Aaron Burden photo completely shows the painstaking effort writers on the Internet go through to get words to you through the Internet

I used to hate Medium. To me it was the problem with writing and symptomatic of that the Internet’s lack of a non-shit, non-exploitive business model1 in general. It was the Enemy all the books you read about starting companies instead of actually starting companies tell you to have. Medium for me was Billy Joel, Fascism and litter all wrapped up in one.

It seemed, for a while at any rate, that the last bit of writing happening on the Internet was happening on Medium. Now things have shifted to Substack and newsletters in general for a multitude of reasons, most of which have to do with trying to make a buck. But at the time, when Anti-Medium might have been relevant, writers (bloggers) no longer seemed to have a choice when it comes to putting up content if they wanted to be seen. It had to go on Medium.

If the writers put it on their blog there would be no network effects, and if they played the Twitter game they would put themselves into a death spiral of trying to feed the beast to gain engagement. Medium has a payout mechanism, where members pay up a certain amount every month and then if you, the writer, get a bunch of reads, then you get a bit of that money. The amounts were laughable, nothing you could possibly live on, and then as an extra kick in the balls, Medium has the right to do whatever they want with your work2.

How it would work

  1. An author or blogger writes or otherwise creates a bunch of content in CMS or blogging engine
  2. They insert a line of JS as an embed in the article
  3. The article is then reposted or ‘forwarded’ to a web page. To do so the author needs to have an account and will need to pay $0.50 USD per month to be posted.
  4. The web page shows a snippet of the article (title, image, ideally snippet or summary)
  5. Articles are shown on the web page are shown in a descending order in three types of view: latest, most unique visits and random
  6. The author now has a small view of what they’ve written published publicly alongside other authors
  7. The author can also insert another line of JS embed on to their blog or website which will show posts that are also forwarded or posted on the Anti-Medium web site, choosing whether by author, web site, latest, most unique visits or random. This is free. A small link to Anti-Medium is put below the cross-posting embed. Also they, not a company’s algorithm, can choose what from the network they want to display, for instance from a pool of authors, a category or only the latest.


Oh it didn’t stop there, not with Billy Joel in the vanguard of Panzer Gruppe IX pouring across the French border it didn’t. It needed to become a thing. It needed to be a website at the very least. It needed to possess a form as tight as leather pants on an ageing member of an 80’s rock band. It needed a language the Internet at Large could ingest at speed to fully comprehend what was surely either genius or just some more drivel. So it needed not things like an actual business plan or research or anything, it needed an FAQ. That long lovelorn unfortunate fool of Internet writing. So here it is. You’ll notice that it’s written like it’s a real thing, which I of course now realise that it never could have been.

Is this a web ring?

Essentially yes. Sort of. Mainly.

Why should I use this instead of Medium?

Good question. Why should you not poke yourself in the eye or drink bleach? Medium takes what you write, mainly for free, and then as an added bonus, they own it. They own what you just gave them for free, and then they make money off it. You are then left with no rights to what you just gave them. Then Writing itself decides to close the casket on itself on the grave we all dug for it.

Do I own the content that you post links to?

Yes of course. We don’t own anything, we’re just reposting little blobs of your content so people can see your stuff. Consider this a rock solid guarantee. Their eyes lock across the the dusty, deserted lane, a tumbleweed rolls across in the distance, baked like everything else almost to a crisp. First MacKaye nods, and then Smith in response. Words have no place in that moment. They know it is true for life. It’s like that.

Why do authors have to pay?

When the devil comes for your soul he’ll tell you he gave you all the vice in the world for free as well. But now it’s time to collect. This is what’s happened to the Internet, instead of people paying for stuff, we’ve given away our souls to advertising and surveillance capitalism. We don’t have to have any of that. You get your stuff out there for a minimal price and it’s very straight forward, you have to pay for that.

What about putting ads on my site?

Nothing is stopping you from putting ads on your site though if you want. In fact, the Web Ring of Content Ultimate Power will help bring more people to that site. Thus more people view your ads.

Really no ads?

Did you read the bit above? So far yes, no ads. This is the point, we’re trying to recreate the idea of content having a business model beyond everything being free and buried in ads that follow you around and steal the souls of you and your children, damning you for eternity.


As you can see, this somehow in my mind equaled making the thing. You can also see that to call it even half baked would be a compliment. But here we are, it now is done because the idea of the idea came out and everyone can now learn from this. Maybe.

I could go on forever about this, and in some ways this is still my long running work trying to fix this ↩︎

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