After a year on Medium described by Awl editor Silvia Killingsworth as a “cool experiment,” The Awl returns to former CMS haunt WordPress. Killingsworth, in a brief post heralding the move, tidily described the reason for the experiment’s end: “the year is up and personally I missed the ads,” she wrote.
Awl’s other properties that were on Medium, money-focused The Billfold and women-focused The Hairpin, return to WordPress as well, with each getting their own similar but tailored explanation for the move.
The Awl’s move follows a host of other publications that have migrated away from the platform in recent months in response to Medium’s decision in January to move away from an advertising-based business model. It was an ad revenue-sharing model based off of native advertising, combined with a fee-free platform, that enticed sites like The Awl to make the move to Medium in the first place.
Medium hasn’t yet been able to replace that revenue stream with a new one that generates a comparable return, leading to what is looking more and more like an exodus for publishers who joined last year. In May, Pacific Standard and The Ringer both left the platform, Pacific Standard for its own site and The Ringer for Vox Media’s Chorus platform in a first-of-its-kind revenue-sharing deal with the publisher. Wired Media Group’s Backchannel followed suit in June and is now housed on Wired.com