I don't see what's so private about them. Paprika's link goes to their explain-all website. Here's the page on how they supposedly work.
What are they really? Take your pick:
___ A busywork project for writers who are avoiding writing.Check all the answers that seem applicable.
___ A bunch of misguided souls who don't realize that they've reinvented the literary agency. (As has been said before on the internet, the problem isn't that they're reinventing the wheel; it's that they're arguing about whether it should have three corners or four.)
___ Doomed. They think editing is a grammar and spelling check. They think their "idea bank" is a valuable resource. They have no mechanism for tracking sales and payments, but they think authors are going to reliably remit 20% of their sales in repayment for WB's rudimentary editing and agenting.