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This morning Zoho launched Zoho Docs which provides a folder structure for managing and editing your documents. This afternoon Docstoc is announcing MyDocs which is very similar in nature. Docstoc MyDocs provides a way to store all of your documents online and view them within the Docstoc service. There are folders, ability to preview documents, a full screen mode when needed and the ability to set documents as public or private.
To make the MyDocs feature easier to use and keep synchronized, Docstoc is also launching Sync. Once you install Docstoc Sync, a folder will be placed on your desktop. Any documents inside that folder will automatically be uploaded (or removed) to Docstoc providing a valuable backup and the ability to browse your documents from anywhere.
These new launches make sense for Docstoc as the more documents they have in their overall public repository, the more users they can grab from Google on search queries. Users coming from search queries could become trial users of Docstoc and eventually move into the loyal category.
Online document hosting service Docstoc is out with a product update this evening. The update allows anyone who uploads private documents on Docstoc the ability to closely track and monitor usage of the documents. While Docstoc is known for public document sharing, this new set of monitoring tools allows a content creator to more closely track who is viewing the documents, email infomation, and the ability to lock documents for viewing online.
This seems much better than emailing around a PDF and potentially having it leave the circle. Users who aren’t registered on Docstoc get prompted to enter their personal information before viewing the requested document. As more and more online services tap our personal and confidential information (i.e. any Saas player), it will be interesting to watch the discussion around security and privacy.
Here’s Docstoc CEO Jason Nazar explaining how the new private document monitoring works:
Document sharing service Docstoc is out with a potentially major upgrade today. The new functionality is called OneClick and allows you to share documents via email no matter how large the files are. I’ve embedded a video that describes the service below. OneClick is a simple desktop widget that you select when you have large documents to share. After the documents are uploaded to Docstoc, the OneClick application opens your default email application and puts the links directly into the email. It’s really simple to use.
Adam Ostrow notes that this new utility will help drive user adoption of Docstoc and I completely agree – this is why I noted that it’s a major upgrade above. Not only will this drive user adoption, it will also help Docstoc to increase their keyword rich content index. While it appears that documents uploaded with OneClick show as private by default, Docstoc would be smart to push users to change the privacy settings on their next login.
The only filetypes that are supported with Docstoc’s OneClick are .doc, .pdf, .xls, .ppt. This may limit the tool’s functionality as other large file email replacement tools like YouSendIt allow you to send any file type. Will the casual user know when to use DocStoc and when not to? Mark Hendrickson has the same concerns regarding file type. Frankly they should allow any file type to be uploaded and just show the files as a list rather than showing them in the Docstoc player. That’d be hot.
The document sharing battle between Scribd and Docstoc is great to watch as it’s forcing both to continue to innovate and that’s a good thing for all of us. Check out our interview with Docstoc CEO Jason Nazar.
Online document sharing service Docstoc has announced a new Series B round of funding in the amount of $3.25 million, bringing their total funding to $4 million. The funding round was led by Rustic Canyon Partners. Docstoc differentiates itself from the other document sharing services by focusing on professional documents. Adam at Mashable has more details on the funding.
The company is also announcing a new advertising program called the Content Partnership Program (CPP) which allows large content providers to own the advertising space on pages and generate new increemental revenue. Here’s an example of the CPP in action.
Check out our interview with Docstoc CEO Jason Nazar.
Online social shopping community Wishpot has announced the closing of a $1 million Series A investment round. The round was led by Monster Venture Partners. Other investors in the round include H-Farm, an Italian Internet development group, as well as existing investors including Adrian Hanauer. Wishpot has developed a hosted solution for tracking personal wish list entries across any website on the internet. Wishpot will launch outside the U.S. later in 2008. Wishpot was founded in 2006 in Seattle by veterans of Microsoft.
Enterprise real-time Web solutions provider Kaazing has announced a $1 million round of angel financing. The company hasn’t listed the investors but does note that they are "high-profile Silicon Valley private investors." Kaazing will use the funds to expand its development team and to increase marketing efforts.
Using Kaazing’s Java-based technology, they claim to make it easy to build robust rich Internet applications including online trading systems, online betting and games.
Docstoc was one of the companies we covered at TechCrunch40 in September. Docstoc is a place to share professional documents and they publicly launched last week. They have a contest running where the person who uploads the most documents can win an iPod Touch. To learn more about Docstoc, I spoke with CEO Jason Nazar. Our transcript is below.
Allen: What’s Docstoc?
Jason: Docstoc is a user generated community for sharing professional documents. Users can find and share legal, business, technology, educational, and creative documents for free.
Docstoc provides a one-stop source for professional documents that can be shared freely, discovered quickly, and organized for easy access. The site makes it easy to find, share, and access any type of content. Users can easily search by categories or by keywords, filter search results by views, downloads, ratings and comments, preview the documents online, and download or store content in online personal file folders for free.
Each user on Docstoc has a profile to facilitate sharing and conversations – social/professional networking is geared around content instead of just contacts. Professionals can receive immediate and objective feedback on the value of their documents and also forge potential business relationships and referral traffic.
Docstoc integrates the most useful features of private online file storage with the ability to store, categorize, and share content found anywhere on the Web. Users can upload their files and mark them public or private, categorize docs in their own personalized directories, organize the files into folders, send documents to their online storage, and share with trusted contacts or the entire community. People can also request content, by keywords or categories, and have it delivered via email.
In addition, users can store their documents in their own personal online folders for anytime, anywhere access.
Allen: Where did the idea come from?
Jason: As a JD/MBA student, and then later as a consultant for start ups, I spent literally hours a day online looking for documents, for a variety of purposes. Sometimes I’d email a friend and see if they had the document I was looking for, and other times I’d search through google. The few sites I found that had professional documents, often charged for content that and were poor quality. I started wondering why there wasn’t something like Flickr or YouTube for documents. Eventually I stopped wondering and in March of 2006 I started working on putting it together.
Allen: You call it the "YouTube for professional documents". Why?
Jason: Mostly just to quickly build an association, so people have a conceptual understanding of the product. I could also say that its "an online community of user generated content for professional documents", but when I say that at most parties outside silicon valley people look at me like I’m crazy (I actually get those looks anyway). Saying the product is "youtube for documents", helps build that "ah-ha" moment since most everyone has used YouTube and they can associate that our site is the same product conceptually, expect for documents not video.
Allen: What does the Docstoc team look like?
Jason: Right now we have a small team of 5 full time employees, a couple part time folks, some interns and tons of friends/users who have been amazing evangelists for the site.
Allen: Who are your competitors?
Jason: I think a lot of early adopters know about Scribd, and a cool new company called eDocr from the UK just came on the scene. ThinkFree also built a good product for publically sharing documents. I know the founders of all the companies pretty well and chat with them from time to time, and they’re really good folks. I wish them a lot of success.
Microsoft and Adobe are also going to be getting into the game in time with products that will also compete with Google Docs and Spreadsheets. And if they were so inclined Google could enter at any time. In my estimation, these large companies are better situated to create technology, rather than community. I think it’s likely that if we’re successful at building that community, these larger players would look to integrate us into their offerings.
Allen: How do you monetize Docstoc?
Jason: We’ll add in a variety of premium services over time, similar to the linkedin model. The user generated content will always be free, but we’re adding in services related to advertising, storage, and resources for employers where we’ll generate revenue.
Allen: I recently wrote about Scribd housing lots of adult content. How do you deal with adult content?
Jason: If adult content begins to seep onto our site we’ll take it down. I don’t ever foresee that type of content on docstoc. We’re not getting adult content uploaded to our site. I think users understand that we’ve branded the site for professional content. Its still UGC, so we get all sorts of stuff, and we do encourage various kinds of content. But the primary purpose of our site is to help professionals and users looking for professional content.
Allen: Can you provide some stats about who is currently using your service, top types of documents, etc?
Jason: The spectrum of users is pretty broad, I like to think that anyone with a linkedin profile is sort of our target user. It’s a great resource for entrepreneurs, attorneys, students, office staff, service based professional, and anyone in the general public looking for legal or business documents. Some of our most popular content so far includes: sample business plans, non disclosure agreements, consulting contracts, lists of venture capital firms, financial projection templates, marketing guides, sample cover letters, legal documents helpful in starting a company, tax forms, information related to public relations and press releases, and lots of tech material and contracts for web developers.
Allen: Do you find being located in Los Angeles and not Silicon Valley to mhelp or hurt in buzz creation and grassroots marketing?
Jason: The Los Angeles dynamic is certainly interesting, you’re definitely on the outside of this inside club of san fran/silicon valley start ups. I think being selected for TechCrunch40 helped. But I like the role of being an outsider and going against the grain. I don’t think our buzz or grassroots marketing has been affected at all by our location. Ultimately all our users will care about is the quality of the product, not our zip code. Plus Los Angles (as far as I know), is the fastest growing city for venture capital investment in web 2.0, and its great to be part of a trend on the upswing.
Allen: What’s coming next from Docstoc?
Jason: A whole bunch of stuff. We have a whole slew of new features and development that we’re going to be rolling out over the next few months. It going to primarily be focused on building our community and providing even more resources for professional to connect with each other and solve the challenges they face on a daily basis. We’re also working on some pretty high profile partnerships for both content and technology, and we’ll be making some announcements very soon.
Allen: What are the most important things that a startup must have to be successful?
- Adaptability – listen to your users, what they want/need and be flexible enough to modify your original plans to serve their needs.
- Work Ethic/Execution – an idea is not what makes a company successful. How that idea is executed, and how much effort and sacrifice is made, is probably the single most important variable to the success of any new venture.
- Cohesiveness – the best products/opportunities are only as good as the people behind them. The Cohesiveness of the founders/employees makes all the difference.
- Prioritization – there are 1000 things everyone in a start up could be working on during any given day. Most stuff WON’T get done, they key is to always be working on that 20% of tasks that will yield 80% of the results.
- Hutspa (Balls) – there are always naysayers willing to tell you all the reason you WON’T succeed. I think much of one’s success in life comes from doing that which everyone else says you can’t do.
Allen: Which feeds are you reading these days?
Jason: Well I’m first and foremost a politically junky, so I wake up each morning reading the Drudge Report and Huffington Post. Then I have a slew different tech blogs that I read throughout the week. Some of them, in no particular order, include: TechCrunch, Go2web2, Lifehacker, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, Valleywag, VentureBeat, WebWare, DownloadSquad, BoingBoing, GigaOm, Blognation, PaidContent, Scobleizer, and one other … oh yah, CenterNetworks.
Thanks to Jason for spending a few minutes with me today
docstoc was one of the companies who presented at TC40 in the crowdsourcing session. Check out my notes here and here. The company defines themselves as, "Docstoc.com is the first online community for a vast quantity of high quality professional documents, forms, templates, presentations, and spreadsheets. Users can find and share any document and organize and access their files with online storage for access anytime, anywhere."
While I work on a full profile of the company, docstoc Founder Jason Nazar has provided us with 1,000 invites!