Scribd: A Case Study in Rocking Social Media for Increased Visibility

To follow up on my last post about how blogging may have benefitted the just acquired Hitwise, I left the comment below on a post at Gigaom today about the rapid growth of Scribd. (Om: “What we have heard from multiple and reliable sources that the company was offered $5 million on a post money valuation of $10 million, but passed on that offer. “)

What’s Scribd? It’s an embeddable document viewer, particularly for PDFs! How exciting is that? Actually, it can be pretty exciting. The company’s leverage of social media, Digg specifically, is similar to but above and beyond what we’re doing at SplashCast. This is really forward looking, paradigm changing stuff. Below is my comment on Om’s post and an example of a Scribd embed in action.

One thing Scribd is doing is hitting the front page of Digg with incredible frequency. They are posting really timely, funny, crowd-pleasing PDF content (who knew such a thing existed??) and they are getting piles and piles of Digg. We at SplashCast are using a similar strategy – using content delivered through our service to participate appropriately in social media conversations – but while we’re very proud of our 14 Digg front page appearances in the last 4 months, Scribd is the leading example of this tactic. They hit page one 9 times in one month and had more total diggs in that time period than all but 9 other domains on the web. (for stats see )

Heck, we even provide similar functionality for PDFs, but online humor isn’t my strong point and the people at Scribd are leveraging the heck out of it for big traffic and visibility. I’m sure this is only one of many factors, but the strategy does work – even for user acquisition. We’ve doubled month over month since launching and I’ll bet Scribd is seeing really awesome growth in new users. It’s awesome that some of that visibility is translating into potential financial support. It reminds me of the boost Hitwise can’t help but have gotten from blogging (see ) To some degree, these are stories illustrating a new paradigm: vendors who participate in conversations can really benefit from it.