For web publishing startups like Scribd and DocStoc, premium content is the viable business model to monetize their platforms. For example. Scribd has signed a number of deals with publishers to sell online books to users on the site. Today, DocStoc is officially opening up its premium content channel, called the DocStore, addressing a lightly different sector, with a focus on selling professional documents to businesses and individuals.
DocStoc’s CEO and founder Jason Nazar says the one of the platform’s fastest growing user base segments are small business owners looking for free and paid documents for entrepreneurs, startups and professionals. Documents range from legal documents to real estate contracts to analysis to forms for business models. The DocStore also features documents in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. The marketplace has been open to select partners since last summer (including TechCrunch), but today will mark its public debut.
On the seller side, the DocStore allows document sellers, such as LegalZoom, Career Press, and BK Publishers, to keep 100 percent of their sales for the first 60 days of a document’s lifetime on DocStoc. After that, DocStoc takes 50 percent of the sale price. DocStoc powers all of the payments (which can be made through credit cards) on the site and returns payments to sellers via check or PayPal. Sellers can sell their documents separately, or bundle them together as packages. For example, a business plan package could include an Excel spreadsheet, a PowerPoint presentation and a Word document. And sellers can monitor their sales, documents through a customized dashboard with reports, conversion rates and analytics. Nazar says that DocStoc vets all sellers and documents to ensure that each document is legitimate.
DocStoc will also be adding the ability for anyone to embed widgets with the for sale documents in blogs to collect affiliate fees, similar to the Amazon model. Affiliate revenue will be deducted from DocStoc’s 50 percent share of the ale, not the Seller’s sale. Lazar says that DocStoc is working to maximize conversion rates for sales, even offering a 1-800 customer service hotline for any potential buyers who have questions about documents for sale. And sellers can choose to turn of ads on pages where they are selling documents.
Additionally, Nazar says DocStoc will be adding more of its own self-curated content to to the platform, which will be available to users who have a paid subscription to the site. Users will soon have immediate access to over 1000 documents, which range from what to do when you get a DUI to marital settlement agreements.
With 3 million registered users, DocStoc is now profitable. Nazar says that the company is seeing 20 million uniques per month and is growing rapidly as a business focused site. It makes sens for DocStoc to cater to the professional community and its marketplace seems like a good bet, especially with the affiliate ecosystem.