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Conversation With Brijit Editor-In-Chief Jeremy Brosowsky
Yesterday I had the chance to meet with Jeremy Brosowsky. Jeremy is the Editor-In-Chief of a new publishing site called Brijit. We spent some time discussing the site and what it does — here are my notes. Jeremy started by helping me understand their tagline, "Aggregation, Recommendation, and Abbreviation."
Brijit creates 100 word abstracts of many magazines and some blogs to help you find the most important articles that must be read on a certain source. Jeremy said that he came up with the idea while looking at a pile of print magazines that he was behind on and thought there had to be a way to easily know which articles are must-reads versus the balance of the publication.
Jeremy was quick to note that in some of the initial reviews, including on Techcrunch, that they classified the site incorrectly as a Digg-clone and said it’s not a clone at all. I would agree that it’s not a clone. It does look like Brijit has expanded since Erick’s review as they now have a few blogs listed.
As I walked home I tried to think about the easiest way to describe Brijit and what I came up with is that it’s the Cliff Notes for magazines and blogs. They only focus on content, no news articles.
Here’s how the service works. Jeremy has four editors. Combined with some feed scraping, they select the best content from their sources. The selected stories go into a writer pool where any of the writers on Brijit can pick up the story and work on the abstract. The story is rated by the author as well on a 1-3 scale. The writer submits the abstract (100 words or less) and then an editor reviews it. If the abstract goes live, the author is paid $5-8 depending on the media of the story.
The system seems similar to Mahalo in that human editors (Mahalo calls them guides) have to approve the content before it goes live. Unlike Mahalo, there is no chance for spam on Brijit as the stories are provided by the editors and there are no links inside of the abstract, except to the actual full blog post or magazine.
Their current marketing strategy appears to be based on getting high search rankings. I told Jeremy that I struggle with this – just as I do with Digg. I have written before that Digg should not be in Google results and I believe Brijit shouldn’t be either. Jeremy disagrees and says that if they just copied the articles he could understand but they are creating new abstracts.
The team is split with technology in Sunnyvale, California and the editors in Washington, D.C.
I also struggle with Brijit based on the fact that they aren’t creating any new content but just taking content from other sources, resizing it and packaging it for the search engines. A writer spends days working on an article, and Brijit takes it, summarizes it and generates revenue on the writer’s content. Yes, I get the idea that the person should click through to the actual article and therefore Brijit is driving traffic to the writer’s site. Jeremy said that it’s a new piece of content – and agreed that if they were only pulling the writer’s content (say in a partial feed), it wouldn’t be right. He does note that the excerpts on Brijit are protected by fair use.
One of the areas I suggested for change is with regards to their newsletter. You can subscribe to any topic you like and receive a daily email with the new content in that topic. However the links in the email go to Brijit, not the original source. What reason do I have for going to Brijit once I’ve read their abstract? Jeremy gave me some answer about it being a technical thing but I don’t buy it.
Jeremy is very passionate around the Brijit concept and I assume they will do well if they can own the search results. On a side note, the site is very well designed. One of the classiest looking sites I’ve seen in a long time.