DocStoc Launches Online Document Store

DocStoc, the cloud-based document-hosting service, has launched an iTunes-style online store and related selling features that allow any individual or corporate user to sell documents either through the DocStoc site or via the service’s embedded document viewer. Founder and CEO Jason Nazar said in an interview in advance of the launch that the company intends to become “the premier online marketplace for small businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals.”

Nazar said that the new Docstore Marketplace will allow professional users such as single-practice or small-practice lawyers, accountants and real estate brokers to monetize the documents that they create for their businesses, such as loan or financing agreements, financial statements, mortgage papers and so on. Members can embed a DocStoc viewer in their sites with a “buy” button that takes a user directly to the marketplace, and DocStoc will also be featuring popular documents in its store.

Scribd, another online document-hosting service that allows users to embed documents in their site, launched a similar online store for documents last year, but the DocStoc CEO says that he doesn’t really see the two as competitors. “Yes and no,” he said. “They are similar services, but we have very different businesses. They are focusing on writers, fiction and so on, while we’re very focused on small business and entrepreneurs.” DocStoc has created a library of premium business documents, he said, including partnership agreements, eviction notices, sales plans and so on.

Nazar said that over the past four months the company has signed a number of partnerships with document creation services such as LegalZoom to offer their pre-packaged legal documents through the DocStoc embedded viewer and online store. “We’ve seen thousands of purchases in that time,” he said, with an average purchase price of $20. Members choose the price for their documents, and users can store their credit card numbers with DocStoc to allow one-click purchasing.

As part of the DocStoc service, for the first two months that a document is on sale, the creator keeps 100 percent of the revenue from the item, Nazar said, and then the company and the creator split the sales revenue 50-50. There are no additional fees or charges, he added. DocStoc also provides an analytics dashboard for each member that shows all of the purchases of a document, and allows users to easily modify pricing or change the terms that apply to a download. Members can choose how much of a document a reader can see before they have to buy.

DocStoc, which launched in 2007, is “the largest online repository in the world for official documents,” the CEO said, and now hosts over 13 million documents and gets a million downloads a month. He said the site has seen its traffic climb from just 3 million unique visitors a month last year to more than 20 million uniques a month. Nazar added that the service, which raised $3.25 million in a Series B financing from Rustic Canyon Partners in 2008, is profitable. “We’ve reached a critical mass, with millions of users coming to our site looking for professional documents,” he said. “And this is the next logical step in extending that.”

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