Product Proposal—Addressing Multiple Logins at Medium
Medium has a multiple account problem. If you haven’t personally experienced it, then you probably know someone who has - you have accidentally created a new account without meaning to, and are left with multiple Medium accounts and confusion around which account is which.
While this has been a problem for as long as Medium has been in existence (or so I am told), it has become more and more of a concern with the introduction of Medium membership and our rapid member growth. Now, we have paying members who unintentionally create other accounts, and cannot access stories when logged in to those accounts - and think their membership is “broken”. We have had more than 1,000 such tickets from members over the last 4 months - this issue impacts an unacceptably high percentage of our member base, especially given how negative an experience it is to feel like you cannot access the value you paid for.
It is worth noting that we tried to solve this problem to some degree in Fall 2017 with Project Clementine. This project split out sign up and sign in as distinct screens, and also introduced error messaging when users tried to sign up with an existing account, or sign in with a new email address (error cases highlighted in yellow on this [sheet redacted]). However, we saw significant login rate dropoff (as documented in this 3-part investigation [link redacted]), and decided to roll back the error messaging part of the new login experience in order to mitigate the drop. It was unclear whether the error messaging was, in fact, reducing multiple accounts, and the login drop was deemed unacceptable at the time. Of course, we might make a different decision about the tradeoff now!
As we continue building our membership business, we need to get this multiple accounts problem under control, or we risk increasing negative sentiment and confusion among our paying users.