Document host Scribd has a new service for people afraid of opening attachments. It's simply an e-mail address (iPaper@Scribd.com) you add as a CC recipient on your e-mails. If there are any documents attached, they'll be uploaded to Scribd and hosted for you. Less than a minute later the service sends a second e-mail with a link to that document or documents on Scribd, all of which have been set to private--regardless of whether you or the people who are getting the e-mail have Scridb accounts.
Last week I sat down with Scribd co-founder Trip Adler to chat about this new service and Scribd in general. The last time I wrote about them it was for the dubious Paper-to-iPaper program, which lets people send off their paper documents to be scanned and hosted. I gave it a try and it actually works as advertised--they even send it back free of charge. The whole process took about three weeks, which Alder says will be shortened as the program progresses.
WW: What are users uploading the most of?
Alder: We get a lot of academic papers, school work, study notes, things like that. We get a lot of eBooks and presentations for work and legal documents. We get a lot of slideshows of photos.
WW: What's the average size of what people are uploading?
Alder: It ranges. We have a lot of really long documents that go over 1,000 pages, and a lot of really short ones too. The long stuff tends to be more interesting, it gets a lot more traffic too.
WW: Have you thought about spinning off versions for niche sites, like adult content or something document heavy like the Smoking Gun?
Alder: We've thought it, but we're working with educational institutions and big enterprises, and people can find that stuff somewhere else.
WW: Speaking of which, how is the push to get school to use your service?
Alder: There are institutions using it, we haven't been pushing that hard because it takes forever to contact universities. We talked to Harvard for example, where I went to school, and it's so hard to get the entire organization to use a single tool because it's so segmented into different areas. MIT OpenCourseWare is uploading all their documents. They created an account just to test it out--they don't have that much yet. They're going to upload about 100,000 documents. As we get bigger and get more resources we'll definitely try to get out and talk to more universities and get them to upload content.
WW: Do you have any users who are uploading an outrageous amount of stuff?
Alder: Yeah we have some power users. We had one guy who was uploading 40,000 documents or something. We ended up hiring him and now he's our community manager.
WW: What type of content was it?