Brijit, the magazine and newspaper review site we reviewed very positively when it launched in October, is today expanding its innovative platform to include very short user reviews of top articles in Digg, Techmeme and videos on YouTube. The company pays users $5 for each 100 word review of a magazine article, news story or TV show.
It's already proven to be a great way to make more informed purchases in the periodical section of your local bookstore, I look forward to using it now to find gems buried in the flood of content available on these social media sites.
How it Works
Review writers sign up with their Paypal addresses for payment, then claim "assignments" by source or topic area. Up to three reviewers can claim an assignment and each assignment has a deadline before which the review must be submitted. The assignment desk shows a fair amount of reviewer activity so far, though see further discussion of user adoption below.
The whole Brijit site is very elegant in its design and user experience. I love the ability to view the highest rated business stories in the past week, for example. I really like the whole site, in fact. Brijit is one of my favorite services that's launched in the last year. If you're an intellectually curious person who subscribes to too many magazines and doesn't find time to read the best articles, or who likes a good national newspaper and a cup of coffee on the weekends - I think you'll like Brijit too.
The addition of online social media sites is a smart one. Brijit says they will use an algorithm to discover the most interesting articles and videos to assign to reviewers. Bringing the Brijit community of well-read smarties into an editorial position relative to YouTube videos, for example, sounds like a great way to discover the really high-value videos on the site.
Seeking the Nerd Network Effect
The one down-side to Brijit is that it will be a real challenge to grow. Reading a full article on a time schedule and writing a thoughtful review, even if only 100 words, is not an easy task. That's why sites like YouTube, Digg and Techmeme leverage the simplest actions possible by their users to determine what's hot. Brijit would be a much better site if its userbase was much larger and there were multiple reviews on each item, as the company clearly hopes will happen. The company told us it saw "40% month-over-month growth for the first half of April versus the first half March" and that user growth is "accelerating." That's good news.
That said, even with small numbers of users it's a fun site to use. Small numbers of users will not sustain the kind of growth that will make $5 payments per review viable over the long term, but with enough growth and presumably some high-end advertising in the future - hopefully this site can thrive.
Below is a widget displaying the most recent items on Brijit that I've saved for later reading, just one of a number of nice little features you'll find on the site.