Docstoc, a site that calls itself the “YouTube for professional documents,” has launched to offer a way for doctors, lawyers and other professionals to post documents easily online.
The Beverly Hills, Calif., company competes against Scribd (see coverage ), Divshare (see coverage) and a number of others sites that let you post documents online very easily. There’s little to differentiate between these sites, which offer a document viewer that lets you upload Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF files, embed them anywhere, and read them without having to download anything. Divshare includes photo slideshow, video, and music players, and free unlimited online storage.
Scribd, meanwhile, got out first, and is growing quickly, with a large number of its documents focused on academic topics. The more data it is able to collect, the more it can establish itself as a go-to repository for expert information, not unlike Wikipedia. Docstoc may not be too late to the party, however, because it has taken a special focus on focusing on professional documents.
A few weeks ago, we tried to upload an Excel file using Scribd, but it didn’t work. Scribd informed us the file was too big, and that it doesn’t handle Excel very well. Docstoc, however, was able to convert the Excel file very quickly (it took a couple of minutes). However, even on Docstoc, Excel files can lack perfect formatting.
We’d mentioned Docstoc before, when it raised a first round funding. It hopes to categorize documents by word, but also by profession, so that they’re easily searchable. A lawyer, for example, can post a free “will” template, either out of the kindness of his heart, or out a desire to draw attention to his services. That will would be hosted at Docstoc, and found by people searching for wills. By signing up at Docstoc, the lawyer gets a profile and an account. Others could find his will by using the search bar for “will” at the main site. Docstoc would show his will among the results, and also the profiles of the people who have posted them (at least, as long as the person posting the document has made the document public). They can also choose to make the document private. It lets you search for categories of professionals and then sub-categories, i.e., tax lawyer, divorce lawyer and so on.
Docstoc says it has 12,000+ documents and over 7,000 users. Scribd had more than 178,000 two months ago, and has $3.5 million in backing from Redpoint Ventures.
To spark interest, the company said it is kicking-off a month-long contest, giving away an iPod Touch every week for the month of November, awarding them to the person who uploads the most business content each week.
The company’s financing round included Scott Walchek, an early investor in Baidu, Brett Brewer one of the co-founders of Intermix Media the parent company of MySpace, and Robin Richards the founding president of MP3.com.
Below is an example of what an embedded document looks like here in our VentureBeat post (if you’re reading RSS, you’ll have to visit the site). And at bottom, is a screen shot of how a document looks like in a person’s profile page, offering things like tags, embed code, and information about the person posting it.