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3 Ways Vocal Media Can Improve to be Better than Medium

by Shamona Pretz 9 days ago in product review

The Vocal Media vs. Medium Debate Continues

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

Recently, I was asked to participate in a research interview for Vocal Media.

(Full disclosure: I was offered $100 for my time, as well as an annual membership to their Vocal+ program.)

I was designated their “standby participant”, and would only be asked to participate if their initial candidate dropped out.

As luck would have it: I only spent 5 minutes with the interviewer before the candidate did in fact show up, and I was bid adieu and told to enjoy my evening. To this day, easiest hundred bucks I’ve ever made.

However, I was disappointed that I couldn’t participate in the interview.

If you’ve been following my blog or my Youtube channel for the past several months, you’ve likely seen that I’ve been very vocal (pun intended) about the happenings surrounding Vocal Media.

Truth of the matter is that I don’t hate Vocal Media. I genuinely believe it has the potential to give platforms like Medium and Wattpad a run for their money.

There are just some glaring issues holding Vocal Media back. Here are just some of the things I would have spoken about had I been allowed to take the interview and explain how Vocal Media could improve:

1) Make Quick Edit Available to All

Back in July, Vocal Media announced Quick Edit, a feature that would allow users to edit already-published posts without having to contact the Vocal team for assistance.

While I think it was a move in the right direction, I was dismayed to find out this feature was only offered to users who were part of Vocal+, a membership program that charged $9.99 for perks such as eligibility into their Writing Challenges.

Compare that to Medium, which offers full editing features to both free users and those that pay for the Medium Partner Program.

If Vocal Media hopes to be competitive, they need to make such a fundamental feature available to all users of the platform.

2) Transparency in Challenges

Writing Challenges are Vocal Media’s bread and butter. The platform holds several contests, often simultaneously, and awards generous cash prizes and free memberships to participants.

This is not an indictment on Vocal Media for making the Challenges exclusive to Vocal+ members. FanStory — a site devoted to weekly writing contests — offers a similar subscription program of $9.95 a month.

The main issue with Vocal Media is that it needs to be more transparent with its rules. This came to a head when the 2nd place winner of The Old Barn Challenge submitted an entry that far exceeded the 2000-word guidelines listed on the Challenges page. In fact, there was a discrepancy in how the rules were presented between the Challenge page and the Contest Rules page.

While the 2nd place prize winner broke no rules according to the Official Rules, it highlighted the lack of care and transparency Vocal Media placed on running fair writing competitions.

After the scandal, a person who worked for Vocal Media offered to explain the vetting process more clearly for its frustrated members.

3) Lower or Eliminate the Payment Threshold

Both Vocal Media and Medium pay their writers — Vocal through Challenges, Bonuses, and views, and Medium through some sort of nebulous algorithm that factors in views, engagement and enrollment into the Medium Partner Program.

Recently, Medium has implemented a payout threshold; now writers will get paid through their Stripe account only if they reach the minimum payout of $10.

This is still better than Vocal Media, which only pays writers who reach a minimum of $20 if they are a Vocal+ member, and $35 if they are a free user.

If Vocal Media wants to attract more members, they should make the payment threshold equal to Medium for both paid and unpaid users. Better yet, they should abolish the payment minimum threshold entirely, if only for those who are already paying $9.99 a month for the privilege of becoming a Vocal+ member.

These are just a few things I would have brought had I been given a chance to take the research interview. Do you agree? What are some things you would change about Vocal Media? Do you prefer to write for Medium or Vocal Media, or do you already write for both platforms?

Sylvie is a dual American/Canadian citizen living in Toronto, Canada. She has written for numerous sites, including Screen Rant, The Spool and Midnight & Indigo. Sylvie is currently writing her first YA novel; follow her writing journey at https://sylviesoul.com and @sylvsoulwriter on Twitter.

product review

Shamona Pretz

I am a fiction writer, specializing in YA and fantasy.

Visit my website at https://sylviesoul.com

Donate so I can live out my best 'Coffee Talk' dreams post-pandemic at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/rgvwZexNH

Read next: Being Happy as Single

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