The child was conceived in October 2007. But, it died prematurely in May 2008. This is an obituary.
The idea was exciting: Reviews of top magazine articles in 100 words. Maybe, I should call it, the "Twitter of Reviews". Also, $5 for each published review was a good proposition. But it turned out to be a costly one.
For those who came late, here's what Brijit was:
"Simply, Brijit aggregates the world's best long-form content and abstracts it in 100 words or less, providing busy, omnivorous, and increasingly mobile readers with rich, qualitative summaries as well as better guideposts for what to read, watch or listen to now. We produce these abstracts in concert with our readers, as one community of readers, writers and editors. Think of us as your well-read friend who leads you to that can't miss article, video clip or product."
They were able to raise around $ 1 million from angel funding. According to their site, they have around 16,000 reviews. That accounts for 16,000 * 5 = 80,000 as payouts! The rest 920,000(1,000,000 - 80,000) itself is a huge sum of money and I can't think of how they could have spent it in such a short period. The interface is good, the reviews are good and the editors do a nice job. But like Sherlock Holmes says, they overlooked some elementary things.
Even though it was a feasible idea (in the sense of making money), Brijit failed to shake the existing aggregators. They were not able to project that they had a revolutionary idea where you can get the news in feeds with a small review so that you can decide whether to read it or not. They could have even challenged the 'market leaders in feeds' if they had projected this properly.
They failed to make use of a potential money source - making money by magazine affiliate systems. While they were offering their reviews on the articles, they could have made thousands of dollars by having a link to subscribe for the magazine. Or I must say, in a higher level, they didn't have a proper monetization plan and were not at all caring to have one in place because they were pampered by the angels. One of the angel investors were the former Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine. They got money and contacts, so what to worry about? Maybe that led to the downfall.
The Biggest Mistake
On May 15th 2008, they committed the biggest mistake. Below is the homepage from May 15th onwards.
When they ran out of angel money, they just put up a notice and said to the world that we have run out of cash and so we are closing it. Did they expect some passerby VC to see this and give them some cash? Or did they think that the users will start a "Save Brijit" campaign and raise funds?!
When they realized that they are running short of cash, they could have temporarily stopped accepting reviews from users and put reviews written by their own staff. The amount of articles covered will be less, but at least, this could have kept the site running. And by this time, may be some other "guardian angel" would have come their way!!
Anyway, Brijit is now deadpooled. May some one save their souls!!