Scribd, a site for sharing documents, is coming out of private beta this morning with a fresh Angel investment of $300K on top of their original Y Combinator nest egg of $12,000. Scribd is most easily described as a text version of YouTube. It is a social network that lets you tag, share, and comment on uploaded documents (.doc, .pdf, .txt, .ppt, .xls, .ps, .lit).Scribd looks like a cool idea for sharing documents. The layout is clean and it supports a range of formats.
Scribd is not just a carbon copy of YouTube. They borrowed a lot of the basic design principles, but also took advantage of the written format by including flexible file formats for download and upload along with some interesting analytics tracking. Documents can be displayed and embedded as html or the under-utilized, and faster-than-a-pdf, Flash paper format. They can be downloaded as .pdf’s, .docs, .txt, and even .mp3 files. The mp3 version is created by Scribd’s text-to-speech package (powered by Nuance) that lets you listen to the text of your document in a quivering British accent (downloadable example here). People have uploaded all sorts of documents for the private beta, like this guide to dating and seduction for dummies, or this less than legal copy of Visual C++ in 21 days. Scribd also lets you “geek out” on all the analytics generated by documents you post, such as how many votes and views your piece gets, as well as geographic location and http referrer that brought the reader there.
Here are the top ten views from the mainpage:
Popular documentsI'm guessing this site will end up like YouTube as a place for off-the-wall stuff, and not so much of the academic or educational material. Still, that could be fun, too.
1. Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja
2. What happens when you take a photo at the right angle? - A Slideshow
3. Creating Cool Websites with HTML, XHTML, and CSS
4. The case of the 500-mile email
5. The Scariest Car Crash Ever - A Slideshow
6. Dating And Seduction For Dummies
7. Falling Cats
8. R Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
9. PROMOTE SCRIBD!!!!!!!!!!!
10. It seems this essay was written while the guy was high, hilarious!