UK-based edocr opens its doors officially today allowing anyone to upload documents. There are already US startups trying to become the ‘YouTube for documents’, notably Scribd and Docstoc and edocr does something similar, but with a twist.
Coming out of Manchester, edocr lets you upload your document and then allow people to download, share or embed it via a Flash interface on any website. It’s aimed at two types of users: publishers of documents and researchers. The twist is that while competitor sites tend to allow any old document to go up, edocr is going to just focus on any .doc or .pdf. So no spreadsheets or PowerPoints / presentations. This could mean they keep the ‘pool’ of documents relatively untainted by those terrible PP presentations.
Easily publishing documents online remains a problem more common than you’d think. You can spend a lot of time online looking for formal documents such as standard NDAs, official documents, you name it. Businesses spend a lot of time and money producing these documents, yet they barely register on search engines (blogs, are better at that!) and there is rarely a simple way for a reader to provide feedback on a document. So why isn’t there one ‘go-to’ site for documents which can be shared, searched, ranked and commented on?
That’s where these document sharing sites come in. As more documents are added by users the documents get ranked, commented on and shared on other sites. Because of this ‘crowd’ effect around the documents, the owners and publishers of the originals get invaluable feedback of their content, while providing a wealth of useful documents for any visitor. On edocr you can comment on a document as if it was a blog post, and even send it to Digg.
Interestingly, some US-based firms are already using edocr, such as Ariba. In the lead-up to this launch edocr, has for instance, been uploading as many documents as it can find about documents about EIPP (e-invoicing). Whatever turns you on I guess…
Future plans include special interest groups and CEO Manoj Ranaweera tells me the site should be able to build connectors to Opentext’s ECM packages, so that public facing documents can be published straight on to edocr.
Since launching 8 months ago, Scribd has raise $3.5 million from Redpoint Ventures. Meanwhile Docstoc, currently in private beta is going to be geared toward professions.
It remains to be seen how edocr – currently 100% self-funded but with a pretty experienced team – will do, but I don’t see why they shouldn’t have a very good chance in this arena.