Every now and then something happens that calls our attention about platforms and content. For example, the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytics scandal. Or some time before, Medium enforcing a paywall around their content.
As several people have pointed out, if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product.
Medium has an excellent publishing platform and offers visibility to those who publish there. But they can’t offer it for free forever. Facebook is no different. I’m surprised by the number of businesses selling their products only through Facebook. I understand, it’s where you target audience is! But it’s Facebook who controls your content, who sees it and when. And it’s Facebook that decides that you need to pay to “boost” your post to your audience. Facebook’s priorities and goals are very different than yours.
Something similar could be said about relying only on LinkedIn for your professional profile1, or selling your products through Amazon. Although the situation with Amazon is slightly different because you are paying Amazon for fulfillment, storage, etc. But if your niche is lucrative enough –and Amazon has precise data about everything that happens on their platform–, nothing stops Amazon from launching their own brand and competing head to head with your business.
Put your work in a platform where you are the customer, not the product. If you are in for the long term it’s not only totally worth it but indispensable.