Medium is a blogging media site founded by Evan Williams, one of the founders of Twitter. Bezos also tweeted about his blog post, to his 834,000 followers, so that’s a double score for technologies created by Williams and used by Bezos in this drama. (Just in case you haven’t been following closely: intimate photos and text messages between Bezos and the woman he was having an affair with were obtained by the Enquirer, which published some of the trove and threatened to publish others).
Medium was a curious choice for Bezos to strike back at the Enquirer because Bezos owns the Washington Post. He certainly could have run an editorial there. And he runs Amazon which has Amazon Web Services, one of the biggest internet tech companies on the planet. It was more than capable of hosting his post, as well.
But, by choosing a neutral third-party blog-hosting site for his revelations and accusations, he clearly avoided some political, and perhaps legal, ramifications. His Medium post alleges that one of the reasons he wound up in this drama was because he owns the Washington Post, which has made him a political target of Donald Trump and the Saudis, who are not happy wth the Post’s coverage. And he said his role at Amazon had been used by Enquirer publisher AMI as a justification for some of its editorial decisions.
Did Bezos go too far in publishing the emails?
Bezos held nothing back in his Medium post. Not only did he explicitly accuse the Enquirer of extortion and blackmail, he published emails that he said proved it. He didn’t edit the emails to remove embarrassing details about his personal life. He also didn’t edit out all the sender’s phone numbers and email addresses.
And that’s caused an interesting sidebar in the drama, with some journalists wondering if Bezos violated Medium’s terms of service.
As Wired’s Louise Mtsakis pointed out, the post appears to violate Medium’s rules, which doesn’t allow “Posting copies of private communications between private individuals without the explicit consent of all parties to the communication.”
Medium had no comment on that when asked by Business Insider. It also wouldn’t say if Bezos gave the company a heads up that the post was coming or if it just showed up on their platform as a surprise.
But they did tell us that he will not get paid for the post. Medium pays writers based on how many claps they get. A clap is akin to a “like” button.
This post has already gotten 185,000 claps.
But alas, to qualify for payment, a writer has to join the partner program and has to put the post behind the paywall, where people pay to see it.
“Mr. Bezos is not in the Medium Partner Program and the story is not behind the metered paywall, so he does not earn any money from his post,” a spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.
Medium has a complicated way of determining how much money each popular article earns but it says the highest amount paid for a story last month was $4,290.43.
But even if Bezos breaks viewership and clap records, he’s not owed a dime.
With a net worth of $131.5 billion, Bezos, the world’s richest person, probably won’t mind.