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March 10, 2007

Scribd - Share Documents with the World

Scribd is a site that lets you upload a great variety of documents (from text files, PDFs to Microsoft Office files) in a public database. You can attach a description, some tags and the document is instantly available to everyone.

You can upload more than one file at once, there's no limit for the size of a document, and you don't have to create an account to upload files. The uploaded documents can be viewed and downloaded in many formats, including PDF, text and MP3 (obtained using a text-to-speech program). Scribd uses a very powerful PDF viewer that lets you read huge PDF files without slowing down your browser. The documents can also be embedded into any site.

All the documents are searchable and it's easy to discover similar documents. An interesting detail is that Scribd serves different content to search bots: visitors see the PDF viewer, which is a Flash object, while search bots see the text version. While cloaking is not the best idea, at least documents can be found in Google and other search engines.

Anyone can post comments and rate a document, but one of the greatest feature of Scribd is the comprehensive statistics: for each document you can see a detailed log with all the visits, the referrers, a log for search bots, and charts for page views and unique visitors.

The homepage features a ranking of the most popular documents, and many of them of are copyrighted material. But, unlike YouTube, Scribd should have an easier mission to detect copyrighted text (of course, if they want to).

As it looks right now, Scribd doesn't have a way to edit documents or to share them with a list of collaborators, but it's an excellent solution to share documents with the world and find what the world thinks about them.


  1. the idea is brilliant but the execution...! crist, that viewer looks like /&¤/%%&* - that pdf-style interface will never be easy on the eyes - or the document.

  2. Alex, thank you very much for a great review of the site. You did a nice job summarizing the key features.

    Bill, I am not sure I completely agree with you that our PDF viewer is that bad - it sure beats downloading PDFs or viewing them in a new window. However, I do agree with you that ScribdPaper has some limitations, and we do have plans to build an even better PDF viewer, possibly using AJAX.

  3. Tripadler, good work so far. Good luck.

  4. I think you have an excellent product (including the PDF viewer). Learn from YouTube [1] and Writely [2] and try to build a community around your product.


  5. You can share and display any document (more than 200 document types) in your own blog or on any website where you can add html code. Simply copy paste the embed code from Docuter ( into your blog or web page and give a unique viewing experience to your users.
    Docuter ( indexed by all major search engines so you can even drive traffic back your blogs and pages.
    Sharing Documents has never been so easy. With Docuter now you can upload documents and send a link to the document to anyone. You also send Advanced Link where you can disable the printing on that document for that person. So that user can only view the document and not print it.