Have you created a document for your business that is nothing short of brilliant? Or have you ever needed a form and thought, “Someone must have created one before. I hate to reinvent the wheel, but where do I begin my search?”
I just found a site that offers visitors a chance to view and share their documents similar to the video share loved by billions on YouTube. It is called DocStoc, founded by Jason Nazar, CEO in 2007. I had the opportunity to chat with Jason and learn why he started this service and what he offers his target customers:
“While I was completing my JD/MBA, I started a consulting company in Los Angeles with some alums of my MBA program. Between our need to share documents in graduate school, and the amount of time I personally spent on Google looking for docs for my clients, I realized there could/should be something like YouTube for Professional Documents. I wanted to create the most robust repository of free professional content for a wide variety of purposes.”
What do you envision Docstoc Becoming?
I’m a big fan of Linkedin.com and consider is (as most do) the premier online community to share professional contacts. It’s where most folks go online to find professional contacts. Similarly, docstoc will be the premier online community to share professional content. Anytime, anyone needs a business or legal document their first thought will be to go to docstoc. With this as the foundation of the company, we’ll add the ability to connect users with additional information, resources, and services to serve their professional needs. Looking for a document is just a starting point; WHY do you need that document. Those are the problems that we’ll help solve over time.
I went online and spent some time exploring DocStoc and this is what I found:
- A place to store my important files that can be set for private or viewed by others
- An opportunity to create a profile that links my profiles at Linked In and Facebook for additional networking opportunities
- A registry for my blog – ooh, yeah, new audience members!
- The ability to upload files I’ve created that I feel will benefit others; articles, excel spreadsheets, power point presentations – some for information share and others as templates
- A marketing site that allows me to spread my name as an expert in my field via the documents I upload to share.
- Blank templates; financial, business, legal, and marketing.
DocStoc is a competitor to Scribd. I have to be honest, I liked the clean look of Scribd, but once I got past the “pretty” I realized that there were more files at DocStoc. The selection, the organization and the quantity of material at DocStoc was very appealing.
One question: How reliable are the financial and legal forms? DocStoc’s “terms of agreement” removes liability for the quality of the forms submitted by contributors other than DocStoc associates.
Also, it is not clear exactly what use you can make of forms and documents if you download them from the site. For instance, DocStoc’s lengthy “terms of agreement” state those who use forms cannot alter the forms without the permission of the form’s creator. I would use caution if you are considering downloading documents to use in your own business. Read the “terms of service” carefully first.
Keeping these cautions in mind, if you just want to share documents with others, either publicly or privately, or if you want to use DocStoc for displaying some of your documents and spreading the word about your business or positioning yourself as an expert, it could be a useful site.
One more question for Jason. Tell us about one of the benefits you find most valuable?
“You can upload your documents and embed them anywhere on the web where you could embed a video (for example to promote a book launch or portfolio of designs). This feature is very popular with bloggers who can embed PDFs and scanned documents into their stories.”
Do you store your documents online with a site like DocStoc? I can see the immediate benefit when working with a group – the ability to share a file via the Internet has immeasurable benefits, but do you also use the service to market your business by sharing forms, articles and PowerPoint presentations?
Have you tried DocStoc? Anyone else that you’d recommend? How do you decide what to keep on your computer and what to save on the Web?
One of the things I like about the DocStoc website is that there are a lot of business start-up resources. For instance, there is a whole category devoted to Biz Planning which is where a lot of people can get stuck.
You said: “I liked the clean look of Scribd, but once I got past the “pretty” I realized that there were more files at DocStoc.”
I’m sorry to have to point out this is flat-out wrong. Scribd’s library is approximately 1,700,000 documents – vastly larger than docstoc – or any other document sharing community. In addition, Scribd is the only document sharing community with an API that lets small businesses integrate documents automatically into their *own* websites, complete with integrated Google AdSense, for free. Forget uploading – Scribd’s tools can convert your website’s documents and embed them – automatically – no muss, no fuss. And unlike docstoc, we’ve built our own document viewer that we are constantly improving and innovating.
Scribd helps businesses move beyond uploading and embedding and gives them a chance to bring in real revenue from their documents. What could be better small businesses than that?
Jason, I’m so sorry for my incorrect comment about the number of files. I was referring to the number of files that interested me as a small businses owner and didn’t check the actual number of files in comparison. I will investigate your offerings more closely as you clearly have many benefits to offer your visitors. Thanks so much for clearing up my error.
Deborah, no need to apologize. You wrote what you thought and what appealed to business owners.
Jason, I wrote about Scribd here at the site almost a year ago, in April of 2007:
So I think we’ve been more than fair, having written about your product almost a year ago.
I suggest people read both articles, visit both sites … and reach your own judgment.
Anita: Your article was very fair and we appreciate the write-up, but in *all* fairness, I was pointing out a factual error in the docstoc article. That said, Deborah owned up to a mistype – an error I’ve made more than a few times – so no hard feelings. I still think Scribd offers real advantages for small business owners, but I’d wager that your readers are most definitely the type to look beyond the hype and make up their own minds. 🙂
I am surprised that you allow this kind of INFOMERCIAL to push Docstoc software.I did
not think that this kind of writing could be passed off as a blog by Deborah Brown or a
“Small Business resource” by Small Business Trends.
Raymonda, hmm, I do not know what you mean. And I do not accept your criticism — not at all. In fact, I expect you to come back and defend your statement, because you have wrongfully accused us of something.
We write about products and services regularly here at Small Business Trends. Been doing that since the beginning.
Why? Because it is a service for small businesses to learn about products and services.
I actually pay Deborah out of my hard-earned money to write these reviews. Yet, I have received not a single dime — not one cent — from DocStoc or anyone else to write this article. Nor has Deborah received anything from DocStoc — she is paid by me and by me only.
She conveyed useful information and wrote a product review of an online product.
First, Deborah did an interview and got quotes. That’s not an infomercial. That’s what journalists do. Pick up a magazine and you’ll see the same thing.
Second, she went through the site, experienced what it was about, and wrote about her impressions. She reported what she thought.
Third, she actually wrote some things that were not all that positive about DocStoc. For instance, I do not consider the following all that positive, because if it were me reading the following 2 paragraphs she wrote, it would raise a big red flag to me about downloading any documents:
“One question: How reliable are the financial and legal forms? DocStoc’s “terms of agreement” removes liability for the quality of the forms submitted by contributors other than DocStoc associates.
Also, it is not clear exactly what use you can make of forms and documents if you download them from the site. For instance, DocStoc’s lengthy “terms of agreement” state those who use forms cannot alter the forms without the permission of the form’s creator. I would use caution if you are considering downloading documents to use in your own business. Read the “terms of service” carefully first.”
Reading that, would you feel comfortable downloading anything? I sure would NOT. How is that an infomercial? Explain that to me.
Furthermore, I don’t accept what Jason of Scribd wrote that there’s a factual error, and I don’t think Deborah should have been so quick to let herself be beaten up by him. Deborah wrote what she thought. Perhaps it wasn’t phrased as clearly as it should have been, and I will take responsibility for that, because I reviewed what was written before it was published and may have taken out something important she wrote. So blame me for the lack of clarity, not her.
But her point was, for the types of documents SHE was interested in, there were more at DocStoc than at Scribd. Scribd may have more documents in total, but if they are not what she wants, Scribd is still not going to stack up as positively.
And if Scribd doesn’t like what we write, that’s too bad. Scribd has not paid me a dime, either. And I wrote about SCRIBD for free too, last year.
We’re not the PR arm for these companies. We write ’em as we see ’em.
Not everyone will agree with everything we write. But wouldn’t you rather have us write something, than not? Most readers here say, yes, write about them.
So kindly explain to me this infomercial stuff. If you are going to make an accusation like that, then you are going to have to defend it.
I have read through this post and all of the comments here. After doing so, I have to say that if you are a regular reader of Small Business Trends, you know that the site is informational for small businesses – and has always been so. To the thanks of many.
I also have to say that, in my opinion, reading through the post it seems very obvious to me that Deborah was writing about her opinions on the site based on the information she was attempting to gain from it. This was HER experience with it. I didn’t see anything stating that she was providing anything other than that in her statement or the overall “tone” of the post. Therfore, one can logically deduce that these are her opinions – again her experience.
As a practicing business and commercial law lawyer, I love docstoc! In general, I have found the forms and documents there to be extremely high quality. In addition, there seems to be a variety of documents available in a large number of subject areas. There’s also PowerPoint presentations on various topics that are extremely useful.
Having said that, I would hasten to add that you can’t just download a document from docstoc, change the names, and save the expense of a lawyer. Every deal is different and what works in one deal may not be appropriate and could even be harmful in some cases. For one thing, the document may have been written for the laws in New York and if you’re in Ohio where the law is slightly different, that could be a problem. Alternatively, a lease for example may have been written from the landlords’ perspective and if you are the tenant, there will be provisions you would rather not include.
When I download a document from docstoc or any other forms website, I rarely, if ever, use it as is. Rather I use it as a starting place to save time as compared with starting from scratch.
So, yes, I think the stuff on docstoc is reliable, but it needs to be used responsibly and with an understanding of what the limitations are of getting a document off the internet.
great.just great.i didn’t even know such a website existed.thanks alot
Looks like a great debate is taking place here and only natural for me to butt in.
Have you looked at http://www.edocr.com by any chance? We are not about templates nor about various file types, but more about business documents concentrating on post-production document interactivity. Our users include companies such as Sun Microsystems, Ariba, Forrester and others and growing at a steady pace. We have over 650 users and 850 documents, small quantity compared with Scribd and docstoc.
Whilst we have technology and content overlaps, I believe the focuses are different. Would be great to hear what you think about edocr. We did all this with
I’ve visited the Docstoc site and it’s a user-friendly, handy online legal service. My congrats to them for making available a great site Frank Sullivan legal forms Website Owner