Jeff Dritz graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 2007 and practiced corporate law for seven years before leaving to focus full-time on Adizu, a startup that lets you write and share with your network without the hassle of setting up and maintaining a blog. It’s an attempt to combat the fact that 99% of blogs, as many as 500 million, have been abandoned.
“While some people believe that the advent of Facebook, Twitter, etc. caused a loss of interest in long-form writing, we believe that the real problem lies in the platform of blogging. First, if you start a blog, it was hard to turn your potential audience (initially your family and friends) into an actual one. You have to let them know you have a blog, often by spamming them (“hey, check out my new blog”, “hey, there’s a new post up on my blog”), but they may have many friends with many different blogs, and each one is a separate site that they have to remember to visit.” Jeff explains.
What is Adizu trying to solve?
Most of us are non-professional bloggers who have various other things to do. We mostly won’t have a dedicated time to sit and write every day. But with your blog, if you don’t post something new, nothing new goes up. And if your audience keeps coming back and seeing the same stale content, they stop coming back. Then when you have time and the inclination to post something new, it doesn’t matter because you’ve lost your audience. Jeff feels that blogging came and went before social networking arrived and the key to social networking sites is your news feed. It delivers your content to your network (and your network’s content to you) without them having to seek it out. Facebook, twitter and Instagram are doing their best in their own capacity. But Adizu tries to address the long form blogging space. The site is simple to use. You join using either Facebook Connect or Twitter, and that way, you already have a network on Adizu; all your Facebook friends are your Adizu friends, and everyone you follow on Twitter you’ll follow on Adizu (and vice versa). Then you don’t “create a blog”, you just write, and whenever you do, your posts show up in your friends’ news feeds for them to read and comment. This way, whether you write once a day or once a month, your friends will see your posts. That’s it.
“I came up with the idea for Adizu a few years ago while I was traveling Latin America. I wanted to share my observations and experiences with my friends, but I didn’t want to start a blog my friends wouldn’t know about, and that I wouldn’t be able to write on regularly enough. Ultimately, I ended up sending out sporadic mass emails to my friends, but I felt like I was spamming them. I felt like there had to be a better way to write and be read without having to start a blog” Jeff explains.
He found it a little hard initially as he had to figure out every aspect of starting up, due to his lack of experience in both tech and business. While this was a hurdle, it has taught him a lot in general, and proved to his strength later on.
The most obvious competition is blogs, it is difficult to acquire an audience for a blog, and a blog requires you to write regularly to maintain your audience. Adizu takes care of both these problems with a news feed. There are other sites, such Bleacher Report, Yelp, or Medium, on which you can write without having to start a blog, but they’re focused around the subject of a post, not the writer. With Adizu, the posts that are delivered to you are those being written by people in your network. “Our bet is that people are interested in whatever their friends are writing, regardless of what they’re writing about.Adizu gets compared to Medium a lot. Aside from the fact that Medium delivers you content based upon your interests (as opposed as just from your friends), Medium seems to take itself a bit more seriously. This can be a bit intimidating to writers, and focuses on “quality” subjects and writing. Adizu is more open; if you want to keep a travel journal, or keep your family and friends up-to-date with the growth of your toddler or progress of your new diet, Adizu is a great venue for it.” He says.
Jeff wants Adizu to become the place that people go to share their longer-form thoughts, opinions, and life updates with their friends. From there, Adizu has plenty of potential uses. It could be used internally within organizations share ideas. It could be used by fans of TV shows, movies, sports teams, and products to review and argue. The reality of a user-generated content site is that, while one can put it out there and target different groups, one never really knows who is going to use it and how. But once you start to see how it’s being used, the product can be tailored to those uses.
Adizu’s target audience includes everyone and anyone who wants to share thoughts, opinions and anything else with their network. That said, Adizu could be a great tool for enthusiasts of a certain product to write about that product and share within that group. Fans of a football team could review the recent game with other fans (ditto movies, etc.). Founders of startups could use Adizu to share their progress with the world. There are plenty of potential uses for a site that lets you write without having to start a blog.
There are a number of potential revenue streams. The biggest, and most obvious, is advertising. One thing to keep in mind while considering these revenue streams is that, unlike media sites that focus on the display of content, Adizu’s content is user-generated and therefore Adizu does not need to pay for content creation. Adizu can have “Sponsored Posts” that would be shared either throughout the network or to a targeted group of users. A “freemium” model will allow more involved users to pay for the right to customize certain aspects of the site, as well as to get their posts displayed more widely across the site to get more readers.