The Blog

Your thoughts on a Save Brijit campaign?

In brijit on Friday, 16 May 2008 at 13:19

Trying to get a handle on the pros and cons of a Save Brijit campaign of some sort. I’m heartened by all the great feedback here and around the Web. Would need to happen by Monday, for sure, and ideally by COB today. A Facebook group? A petition? Any thoughts? Ideas and volunteers wanted!

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  1. I’m a little confused as to what the purpose of such a campaign would be. It doesn’t seem like there’s some person who such a campaign would target and whose mind it would change. (But then, I don’t know how the site’s funding dried up either.)

    If you think that with enough support an angel investor would get interested, a petition may be sufficient to convince them. You guys surely know better than I whether or not such a thing is feasible.

    Barring that, two interesting ideas that have come to mind are a pledge drive — getting the site enough money to keep working in roughly the way it did — or making Brijit more Wiki-like — i.e. unpaid contributors. I don’t know how workable either idea is, but they’re the ones I’ve thought of.

    I do know that I’d love to see Brijit return somehow.

  2. Well, whatever you decide, I’ll sign up to be a part of it. Just keep us posted and tell us what you want us to do to save Brijit, and, I hope, to keep it just as it was.

  3. have you outlined, or do you plan to outline, what it is you need exactly (and how much of it, whether money or infrastructure).

    since the situation has come this far publicly, how about laying it out flatly in practical terms and see what the community can come up with?

  4. Thanks for the thoughts. I’m thinking next week I’ll start to map out our model here on the blog. Might prove interesting…

  5. Hi, i’m from brazil and only today i realized what’s happening with Brijiit. It’s a great site, deserves a better luck! Keep fighting, it’s a really god idea.

    Bye

  6. Where is the financial drain coming from? What was your support? I know this one will sound crazy, but I’ve seen it work. Sell small percentages of Brijit on the online auctions. What other kind of support could you use? Contact me if you would like to brainstorm.

  7. Have you thought about getting funding by partnering with the library of congress or google. Perhaps one of the databases out there that the universities depend on like jstore would find the abstracts useful and a relationship can be arranged. i know how tough it is when a new business fails but yours is a much better idea them mind was. Don’t give up. Where was the funding from originally anyway?

  8. I love Brijit. If it “died” I would be very sad indeed. I would love to support anything that would help Brijit continue to operate.

  9. I’m sorry Brijit had to close. Hopefully you’ll get funding soon, as I’ve been a fan and constant user since you started 7-8 months ago.

    Because your revenue is based on traffic, how about trying to establish a reader community a la Digg or Jezebel? Jezebel is a new Gawker property which developed a huge following in a short time by encouraging reader participation through a very smart commenting/networking system.

    Most articles you summarize on Brijit still don’t allow reader comments, and by allowing your readers the opportunity to do so on Brijit, people who have similar reading interests will have the chance to talk to each other, giving them a reason to hit on the same summary more than once to check on the ongoing discussions.

  10. I just thought of this….for people that just want small tidbits of news in the email, how about a paid subscription to an email newsletter which covers the major topics on the site each time you publish?

  11. i dunno, it’s not like who is running brijit are ignorant or unseasoned.

    clearly the business model -does- need to be re-thought and modified.

    16,000 articles @ $5 per article minimum is USD 80,000.00 — and that’s six months of work.

    it was insinuated in an interview article that some of the writer payments were derived from ad revenue, which i think is probably rather small.

    a few ideas, some outlandish, other not:

    * brijit joins an ad network more exclusive than google ads

    * readers -don’t- get linked to the source article unless you’re a paying subscriber

    * you only see headlines if you’re not a subscriber (basically brijit becomes a content-specific aggregator for non-paying readers)

    * subscribers receive IM or SMS summaries

    * subscription RSS feeds

    * $4 per summary

    * start summarizing popular blog articles instead of print media (and release that as a separate feed)

    * develop partnerships with source publishers (economist, harpers, etc)

    * raise funding and technical support via Internet Archive and re-target Brijit more toward public service

    * pr0n

  12. Maybe simply partnering with Google’s Adsense to step up advertising on the site would help. I think the newsletter is a good idea, but the only way people would pay for it is if it was significantly different than what they could access for free on the site. Maybe marketing it to universities; offering discounts on it to educators would help get it going.

  13. You have a loyal readership. Why not just ask them for money/article summaries?

    You won’t earn much from AdSense. Maybe $2/1000 uniques/day. I’d partner with an ad agency to maximize your profits from advertising.

    In the meantime you might as well let volunteers continue to post summaries. I don’t think most people were posting summaries on your site for the $5.

    I think they were doing it, because they liked your project and they wanted to get their name out there. If you can figure out ways to better promote your featured writers, then they will get far more than $5 worth of publicity and you will get all the articles that you need.

  14. Although I can see where some of the people on here are coming from, I don’t agree that it would be a good idea to drop the $5 per summary. You’ve really hit upon a good idea with that for several reasons.

    -Many of your writers are (often young) people with time on their hands and an interest in what they’re reading/summarizing. For those people, $5 a summary isn’t small potatoes; if I get 20 summaries accepted a month, I can pay off my cable/internet bill. Pretty sweet if you’re a college student or after college poor non-student.
    -The competition to keep the summaries good by only giving it to the best out of every 2 or 3 summarizers per job keeps people interested in doing well, and always doing more summaries, so they can get a certain amount published.
    -All told, you’re getting all of your writing done for your site for about $150,000 a year. Not a bad price for all of the writing of a massive website. And certainly you could scale that back by trimming a little fat from the articles you choose.

    I’m certainly summarizing for the $5, and I think it’s pretty unrelated to the name recognition or to be a featured writer, although those things are fine.

    Sure the economy’s down right now, and it might be hard to find a good deal with a partner or with an advertising agency, but that’s the way to go I think. I do a lot of reading on the web and there just isn’t anything else like Brijit. If you can just get over that hump any way you can, I think this site will do very well in the long run.

    I guess my primary suggestion for right now is to scale back the amount of articles that you cover. What if you pair with an ad agency, cover 25% to 50% of the sources that you previously did, and refuse to increase the number of sources you use until you’re back in black and trending in the right direction?

  15. Every day Brijit brought me something worth sharing, worth getting excited about, and even worth subscribing to a magazine for. I added three magazine subscriptions after becoming a Brijit regular.

    There have been a lot of great suggestions. Here’s mine:

    1. Pay top writers with profile pages, including a bio and photo, instead of money.
    1a. Pay top readers with profile pages as well.
    1b. Consider a brijit dating service, if only to get more subscribers and ads. It needn’t be the focus of the site at all.

    2. Let readers choose a “channel” and get daily emails which would contain the latest abstracts from a particular magazine, or writer, or topic.

    3. Sell merchandise in a Brijit store -magazine subscriptions, t-shirts, coffee cups, bumper stickers.

    4. As other writers have suggested, charge a membership fee for access to full-length articles.

    5. Do a daily or weekly YouTube video, where someone talks about the most popular magazine, radio or TV item for that day or week. Could be an interview format, like a talk show.

  16. My Best Idea Yet — The Amazon Kindle Solution

    Brijit needs to go to where the readers are: Amazon Kindle owners!

    Right now, owners of the wildly-popular e-book can subscribe to digital versions of several magazines. What if they could subscribe to Brijit abstracts?

    Kindle owners are always searching the store for something new, and this would be it. The charge could be $5 per month for a subscription to the abstracts. Amazon could share that 50-50 with Brijit.com.

    Think of all those Kindle owners, stuck on a plane, wishing they had something interesting to read. The abstracts would fit the bill perfectly. Amazon would like it because it would encourage more magazine subscriptions.

    I think you could get by with paying writers $1 – $3 per abstract. There’s something about being a paid writer. It’s magic. No matter how low the amount, the payment elevates the writer into the ranks of gainfully employed.
    Just talk to any syndicated newspaper columnist if you doubt this.

  17. People would likely take less per abstract if there was a higher percentage chance they’d be published. Veteran Brijiteers with a good track record could agree to abstract every article of interest from a particular publication each month for a set fee. This could be on a month-by-month basis.

    Obviously the Brijit community thrives on the competition and benefits from a large variety of voices. You’d still want to have a large pool of work up for grabs.

    Maybe the free online sources could be competed for, as before, and the sources that are primarily off-line and/or behind a firewall could be assigned.

  18. And not to take away from the fun of being part of a new venture, but I disagree with Adam Saunders — I do think the cash is a motivating factor for some folks (and not just traditionally cash-strapped students). Disposable income is getting eaten up by rising gas, heating oil, and food prices and it’s way cool to be able to fund your Amazon.com or iTunes habit with an enjoyable sideline like Brijit.

  19. As a Brijit writer, I can tell you that the money does matter. It takes longer than you might imagine to abstract articles, and to do it in a competitive way. Often, less than a third of my abstracts were chosen, so I had to turn out a lot of work to get a reasonable amount of money. Freelance writers are worthy of their wages, as not everyone can turn out the required “Brijit tone.” Brijit was a great company to work for, as they seemed to value their writers and communicated with them freely. I would love to see a return of the pay model, as I gave a great deal of my life and time to write for Brijit. It was a wonderful experience, and I learned so much!

  20. The whiny and self pitying tone of most of Brijit’s communications reflect the “gotta get paid” mentality of the people running brijit. Join the real world. A lot of Internet ventures don’t work out, the high skool version of what Brijit has been doing was good for their ego, which is a 24/7 ticker that never stops running. Shut up already. The Internet has sharp corners, fend for yourself and quit whining. I’m astonished the flash page at brijit is a landing message whining and complaining they’re out of money. Waaah poor baby. What the hell makes you better than a lot of content rich sites that fail? A more pathetic message from a website i have never ever seen. The internal flaws in the business model from inside the model aren’t exposed because those people who saw them didn’t hang around. The ceaselessly self promotional and blindingly myopic Kool Aid view of Brijit toward itself has gotten it where it is now, literally blogging from website hell and calling it news and content. if you were reading the saccharine precious emails from Brijit these past 6 months, you wouldn;t hav wrested the eyes of the “team” from their own mirror. But since the Brijit was run on some guy’s backend of his sevrer, all this whining about co lo sevrer sbeing down is a fraud. Hosting a CMS like Brijit costs 3.99 a month. If you can’t pocket that, stop the self piteous blogging and get a real job.But since the Brijit was run on some guy’s backend of his sevrer, all this whining about co lo sevrer sbeing down is a fraud. Hosting a CMS like Brijit costs 3.99 a month. If you can’t pocket that, stop the self piteous blogging and get a real job. I actually got so angry at the college intern skills shown editing my summaries i made my own website in 5 minutes and posted all my original submissions for viewers to compare side by side with what brijit “edited”. And I didn’t send out self congratulatory emails with self referential love-me emotions either.

  21. Remember the ads for editors at the outset of Brijit? How many startups run on bare bones can afford Dupont Circle addresses?

  22. re: Laura Dixon post:
    People would NOT likely take less per abstract if there was a higher percentage (?)chance they’d be published. So, writing uality defers to lowballing? Nice. If someone want to publish, they CAN DO THEIR OWN WEBSITE. And probably afford better web hosting, it sounds like.

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