Be Careful With Your Medium Email List

It should only be used to notify when you publish on Medium.

Linda Kowalchek
4 min readJan 20


sad woman using laptop
Photo by Mizuno K for Pexels

I don’t like to play with fire. When you play with fire, you usually get burned. And I’m not into pain of any sort.

I’m also sort of a paranoid person, but I would rather be overly cautious than have the Feds pounding on my door in the middle of the night.

This situation has been eating at me since Medium started telling us how we can “build” an email list on Medium. But I never said anything. Well, I’m saying something now.

This article does not constitute legal advice, but you might want to get some after you read what I have to say.

I had to face this issue head-on when I started a Substack. I wrote a story about my Substack here:

Do you know how at the end of your stories, Medium puts a little box your readers can click on and leave their email addresses? Like this one:

By clicking on the box and leaving their email address, your readers are permitting Medium to send them an email whenever you publish a story on Medium. Sounds like a great plan, right? Yeah, sure it does.

Anyway, out of nearly 4,000 Medium followers, I have 53 readers who were kind enough to share their email addresses with Medium so they could be notified whenever I publish on Medium.

Here’s where it gets messy. Medium gives you access to the email addresses of those readers who want to be notified whenever you publish a story on Medium. You can even download a list of those readers and their email addresses. Sounds awesome.

I mean, Medium is being so generous by helping you build your email address, isn’t it? No, not really.

See, this creates the idea that you can use Medium as a “stepping stone.” You can take that list of email addresses and contact those people personally when you start a Substack, write a book, or have something you want to promote, right? Not so fast.



Linda Kowalchek

Member of the typewriter generation. I write about the writer’s journey and things that happen to me. 100% AI free. Reach me at