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July 25, 2008

Scribd – Take the Hassles Out of Document Sharing

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Hailed as one of the best document-uploading websites, you don’t have to be managing business documents to benefit from all that Scribd.com has to offer. Unlike other web applications that focus solely on business’ needs for online document uploading, Scribd extends far beyond the corporate world, allowing anyone to upload nearly any kind of document imaginable and giving you the ability to self-publish your original materials for free.

Once you register for a free account, Scribd makes it extremely easy for you to start uploading your files. After the document is on the website, you can describe in as much detail as you would like and can even make it private if you do not want the entire Scribd community to see it. Those pieces that you do make available to the public, however, can be viewed, commented on, and even deemed a “favorite” or a “like” by others, which can help boost your piece’s visibility in the Scribd community. Each document can be easily embedded into social networking profiles like MySpace and Facebook, posted to a social bookmarking site like Digg or Del.icio.us or directly downloaded to your computer with a click of a button.

Like any other social networking site, Scribd provides opportunities to form groups within the user community. Not only do groups provide an excellent way to connect with friends and like-minded people, but they also create a system for organizing content. Groups can be formed around a certain cluster of individuals, for example a certain school or organization, or they can be created to focus on a certain interest such as creative nonfiction or photography. You can also create your own group to fit your own needs or interests, and like any of your documents, your groups can be deemed either public or private.

Practical Uses:

  • Use Scribd to store and share your most up-to-date resume
  • Upload your financial report and email a link to Scribd rather than a large attachment
  • Backup your entire document library since Scribd has no limits and supports documents in all popular file formats
  • Embed your latest literary work within your blog, MySpace page or Facebook profile
  • Find your next favorite read by sifting through the novels and stories that people like you have posted on the site for your viewing pleasure

Insider Tips:

  • When browsing Scribd’s library, you can choose to filter documents based on language, file length, or file type by using the dropdown menu tabs on the “Browse Documents” page
  • To see what documents are most viewed and/or most liked, check out sections in the browsing feature entitled, “Hottest,” “Most Viewed,” “Most Liked,” and “Most Favorited”
  • If you are more interested in meeting new people through Scribd, the “Community” tab on the navigation bar at the top of the site will let you search specifically for members
  • To track what kind of users are viewing your documents, refer to the “Traffic Analytics” section in the lower right-hand corner of each document’s page

What We Liked:

  • Nearly every format of document can be uploaded to the site and can be easily converted into Scribd’s special iPaper format for easy Internet distribution
  • Your account comes with unlimited storage, so you can upload as many documents as you want
  • Files can be made public or private, so you can upload all of your personal documents without having others see them
  • Your uploaded material remains copyrighted under Creative Commons licenses

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Because Scribd is so inclusive, it can sometimes be difficult to find certain types of documents that you might be interested in

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: March, 2007
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Founded by Andy Trip Adler, Jared Friedman, and Tikhon Bernstam
  • Web site: http://www.scribd.com

Costs:

  • Free (funded by advertising)

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