It seems Medium is deprecating their custom domain service, which is just another way it’s trying to gain absolute control of your content as far as I’m concerned. The service was already paused and has now officially gone.
The custom domain service gave you some control over your content because you could always take back the traffic (to your own site) at some point in the future. Medium sees this as a risk to their business model and wants to make sure it can’t happen, hence the deprecation of the custom domain service.
I simply do not understand why anyone who cares about their writing would entrust it to a third party, subject to the whims of terms of service entirely out of their control.
I can see the advantage of using Medium in terms of short-term exposure for your articles. A good article on Medium will drive a lot of hits. I can also see how the ease of setup is attractive: you’ll get your articles out there quickly, without having to set up your own website.
But I think the risks are too great in the long-term.
In the worst case, third party sites can simply disappear. Medium has had problems in the past when it had to lay off staff. But even if that doesn’t happen, increasingly onerous terms of service, such as Medium’s removal of paywalls, can wrest control from you.
It’s not just Medium of course. A lot of third party publishing platforms want control of your content. Many people use Facebook, for example, for personal blogging, photos and much of their digital life, but that will end in tears eventually. Facebook have already flexed their muscles against some (innocuous) publishers.
I firmly believe the best approach is to publish your own content and then promote it through third party sites (although I believe they’ll all crack down (further) on this eventually), but at the very least make sure you have an offline copy of all your content so that it can be recreated if the third party ever zaps it.
Take a look at IndieWeb for more reasons why you should maintain control of your content.