Edocr re-launches with fremium model, new features and API. Will it work?

Edocr, a smaller competitor to other document sharing startups like DocStoc and Scribd, re-launches today with new features and an API, after a long time off-radar.

Eschewing the publisher focus of Issuu, or the broad business focus on DocStoc, the boot-strapped Edocr focuses on corporates and enterprises. So for instance, companies can upload all their public-facing documents, whether they be company reports, press releases, guidance documents, you name it. Admittedly the slightly dull-but-necessary focus is not going to set the world alight, but with plenty of enterprises still getting their heads around the basics of blogging, RSS and even social networks like Twitter, edocr is a simple way for companies to share their PDFs without being lumped alongside a pirated copy of a Harry Potter novel. New features include an improved design, bulk uploading of documents, an API, document categories, better search and the ability to auto-tweet to a Twitter account when new documents get uploaded. Edocr’s Groups feature lets you allocate a bunch of docs to a group. You can also tag up documents with any keyword, which pulls all the docs on any subject in, similar to DocStoc.

The business model is a fremium one. Accounts are free but premium accounts delete advertising on a company’s page. Although pricing is in UK pounds right now (£25 a month, £145 per 6 months or £250 per annum) they are looking at launching US pricing as well, since a third of the site’s traffic is US-based. The site has the usual features like rating, tagging and embedding flash versions of the document in other sites.

Howwever, UK-based Edocr still has a long way to go. Scribd is the largest global player in document sharing by traffic, userbase and number of documents. Docstoc, the second largest, like edocr, also targets the business market, but it splits AdSense revenues 50/50 with anyone who uploads documents and wants to opt into the service. DocStoc has over 3 million documents uploaded and 1.6 million unique visitors a month in the U.S., according to comScore. Needless to say Edocr is way below that right now. Then there is Twidox in Germany, which also concentrates on organisations, though largely German ones right now.

And if edocr is ever going to be able to compete it’s going to need to make more of its features appealing to this “niche” of businesses that want document sharing. Edocr is closer to Issuu in its concentration on enterprise customers, but Issuu Pro users are also professional magazine and newspaper publishers. Edocr’s concentration on corporates only may not be enough. Plus, Issuu charges a low $19 per month.

It’s to be hoped that edocr, which launched in October 2007, has put its somewhat erratic performance to date behind it now that former co-founder Rhys Jones has exited the business (amicably I gather) and sole remaining founder Manoj Ranaweera has full control to set strategy. I can see edocr being potentially successful in the UK, but a question hangs over its ability to scale internationally, unless, perhaps, it launches a US service soon.