Online document-sharing service Docstoc has been competing with rival Scribd for the past two years: Scribd has made inroads with mainstream publishers like the NYT and Lonely Planet, while Docstoc evolved into one of the main sources for bloggers in search of free legal briefs, filings and other documents.
Compete stats show that Scribd trumps Docstoc in terms of overall traffic, but Docstoc has upped the ante with the launch of DocStore, an online marketplace where people can buy and sell their documents. Previously, Docstoc only made money by running ads alongside the over 3 million publicly-available documents it had aggregated; this follows the launch of the Scribd store in May.
The DocStore is initially launching with 12 content partners, including Legal Zoom and Podium Notes; the roster seems more oriented to small business owners and startups than Scribd’s. Other companies or users can apply to have their content added to the store; it runs on a rev-share basis. CEO Jason Nazar told me that the split favors the content owners, and that Docstoc provides real-time sales analytics, as well as some copyright protection.
Nazar said selling documents had always been part of the business plan — the startup just needed to scale out first. (Internal stats peg the company’s monthly uniques at 8 million). And while he expects a majority of Docstoc’s revenues to come from ad sales for the rest of this year, Nazar said the plan is for the e-commerce business to “take over” in 2010. Given the increased adoption of e-readers and e-books, there’s a very healthy market for both Docstoc and Scribd’s stores — though Docstoc could fare better if it continues to go after the smaller, indie market, as opposed to trying to compete directly with Scribd.