Scribd woos publishers, schools

UpdateScribd, the fast-growing site that lets you post documents online, has launched two free programs, one to let high-volume publishers organize and market their content, and another to allow educational institutions to store and share information securely online.

The company, which calls itself the “YouTube for documents,” says it has over 4 billion words contributed and 10 million unique visitors per month. See our earlier coverage here. With competition sprouting up (DocStoc, divShare, TheCollegeFreeway), this move is an attempt to draw in large numbers of new users and embrace publishers by giving them a way to rein in copyright violations.

The new Qualified Education Program (QEP) is intended to give schools, students and researchers access to research and administrative documents stored in a self-contained area of the Scribd web site and will allow these institutions to share information with each other if they want.

The Qualified Publisher Program (QPP) is for high-volume publishers only and aims to block copyrighted content from being uploaded and allow publishers to build communities around their cohesive bodies of work.

Members of QPP can manage their own distribution groups and integrate threads alongside documents for feedback, the company says. Additionally, part of the QPP offering is a set of analytical tools that let QPP members track traffic and monitor sales conversions through the site.

Scribd says it’s launching this program as a proactive measure against copyright infringement. The company uses a text-matching system to make sure that any new content a user tries to upload doesn’t violate the copyright of a QPP member. [Update: Publishers who don’t sign up for the QPP will won't have to resort to sending takedown notices to copyright violators on Scribd, however. These publishers can use the text-matching system to find copyright infringements, whether or not they are part of the QPP. See comment.]

The company says it plans to draw revenue from the site by introducing an advertising program sometime next year, but it hasn’t announced any details yet.

Scribd was launched in March of this year and has received $4 million in funding (more on that here). It is based out of San Francisco.