Docstoc to Take on Scribd

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TechCrunch40 Day 1: 5 Startup Picks

docstoc logoDocstoc is a new document sharing community hoping to be the ‘YouTube of documents’ that was announced today at TechCrunch40. This designation has already been given to industry sweetheart Scribd, which has gain a lot of momentum and press. What sets apart docstoc, though, is private online file storage with the ability to store, categorize, and share content.

While Scribd can manage all sorts of documents, docstoc is trying to set itself apart by focusing more on professional documents such a business/legal, educational (term paper, notes, outlines, ect), and self expression documents (scripts, creative writing, ebooks, ect). However, any type of document can be uploaded.

The idea came when founder Jason Lawrence Nazar (Docstoc’s CEO) was routinely spending hours looking for documents for his clients at his other company Venature.com. Venature provides consulting and capital to new startups and these new startups were routinely looking for professional files like NDAs, contract agreements, ect. I find the best ideas are born out of one’s own necessities. Docstoc was supposed to launch in April (according to their preview video), but like any good startup, they are lagging a little behind. Boy does that sound familiar.

While I did not have beta access to the project, I did check out their blog, watched a video, and read some information. At docstoc, you can upload one file at a time or they allow a drag and drop feature that enables you to upload multiple files or folders. A very nice feature indeed. Docstoc has a great search feature, but if you cannot find what you want, you can request it and then the community can fill that request.

As mentioned above, docstoc also has some social network features built in. This allows you to see all files you have uploaded and what they have been rated by the community, all files you have downloaded, view you profile, see and message friends, and go to other user’sdocstoc screenshot profiles. Sort of like Digg, users are ranked to see who are the top users of the docstoc community.

The ability for users to search and register blogs through their interface is also present within Docstoc. This creates a database of links to blogs that when searching for a specific subject, it can see if your blog might haver similar content and direct a user there. Like any other good viral service, they provide the ability to link and embed documents on other sites and blogs.

I think docstoc looks very interesting and it’s focus on professional documents is what excites me. I know I have spent countless hours looking for documents I need for business. Usually you find crappy documents or sites that try to get you to pay for the document (which is not necessarily bad as I have paid lawyers to create document’s for me).

From what little I could tell from their video, the UI looks nice and the usability features they have included, like drag and drop uploading, look very promising. They will have an up hill battle trying to take on Scribd, but I like their chances. One killer addition would be a nice Facebook application. Imagine students from a college being able to share notes or outlines from their Facebook account. Speaking of Facebook, you can sign into docstoc using your Google, Yahoo, or Facebook credentials. I really wish they would add open id support. Anyways, I hope to get a beta invite to this and take a closer look soon.


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