Tag Archives: scribd

Want to download a file from Scribd? Upload one – Part II

A couple months back I wrote about an interesting(weird?) feature of Scribd that asked me to upload a file in order to let me download another. I wasn’t the only one who found this ridiculous (read comments) and obviously it didn’t go down well with some of us. I happened to run into that feature (which I had almost forgot) again while trying to download one of the featured documents from the site. Here’s what I got after clicking the download link

scribd_presentations need an audience

Oh, so instead of a boring textual message we now have a graphic trying to convince us that in the benefit of community we should upload more presentations. I like most other users(presummably) on the internet didn’t let this deviate it from the goal I started with and clicked “Maybe Later” but folks at Scribd were equally adamant in not letting anyone download something from their servers without getting anything in return (who needs Attention, Engagement etc?) so I got this

scribd_subscribe or continue to download

Right, So if I am not uploading a file I might as well follow(or subscribe) to some people which Scribd feels match my needs(or their’s ?). For a second I can understand the upload presentations prompt, but prompting users to SUBSCRIBE to other users when all they really want is to download a goddamn presentation ?

O Scribd, what were you thinking ?

Apparently there’s another graphic that one gets to see while attempting to download a presentation

scribd_giving back to the community

Thankfully unlike last time Scribd has not only made it optional(maybe later) to upload a presentation before getting to download, they also tell you that you won’t be prompted to upload once you’ve uploaded two presentations or more.

scribd dont worry

(Footer of those upload prompts)

As mentioned in last post I don’t think that forcing users like this works well. Not only does it irritates users it also leads(or might lead) to people submitting random garbage just to get around the needless hurdles like these.

What do you think about these prompts?

Is there a win-win solution for such situations (for both site owners and users) ?

Slideshare: Follow or Add as a contact ?

Got a mail from Slideshare notifying about a new follower. Curious, I opened the email and here’s what I saw.

slideshare new follower mail

If you haven’t noticed what I mean, there are two different terms being used to represent an action i.e. Follower and Contact. While the subject reads ” lindamoodbell is now following you on Slideshare” the very first line in email reads “lindamoodbell added you as a contact on Slideshare”.

So is lindamoodbell following me on Twitter oops Slideshare or has she added me as a contact ? And if they mean the same thing why are these terms loosely used for each other?

Interestingly the email also mentions that I can too add her as contact on Slideshare(no mention about following her back)

I wrote about the changes from term contact/friend etc to follower in both Scribd and Slideshare here and mentioned how exisiting users might find these changes in terminology confusing. A look at lindamoodbell’s page on Slideshare confirms this.

slideshare profile page

Not even a single mention of word follow/follower by users. While Slideshare might want its users to follow each other, its users seem happy adding each other as just contacts.

What do you think about these changes ?

Ready, Steady and Follow ?

I was in for a little(or is it?) surprise while surfing yesterday. I stumbled upon a blogpost that mentioned new changes with Scribd and on checking the site, here’s what I found.

Act 1: Scribd

social scribd

Looks familiar ? You bet it does.

The latest changes seem straight from Twitter’s design books. From Tweeting err Scriblling box to follower/following it all traces it’s root to Twitter but that’s not it. Another there’s also a conscpicous attach button(in white) down left. Clicking which leads to

attach scribd documents
So now scribd users can scribble updates and also attach scribd documents(there’s or someone else’s) to them.

Reminds of Pownce ? It does to me.

Here’s what a scribble looks like

getting social with scribd

A user profile page with scribbles looks like this

scribd profile page

These are some of the efforts taken by team Scribd to make their platform more social and as mentioned in the blog post, there’s more to come.

Act 2: Slideshare

While uploading a case study I compiled on Slideshare yesterday I happened to notice a change in their terminology too.

new design slideshare
Follow ? Wasn’t there a different name to this till some time back ? Yes, before being followers they were contacts.

These changes are part of the new profile design change. Interestingly unlike the scribd blog post on new changes, the post at Slideshare blog doesn’t mention the change in terminology and apparently the changes aren’t mentioned anywhere else either. I couldn’t make out if there’s anything more to the ‘following/follower’ change than terminology as the functionality remains same.

So now users can follow other users from Sribd and Slideshare respectively.

At Scribd, we believe that the written word is no longer static; the next major evolution of the “print” medium will be social and readers will contribute to authors’ never-finished works that evolve over time.

As stated in the opening lines of their blog post, Scribd probably has a few things up their sleeve about the whole making ‘Scribd Social’ campaign. While having ability to post updates/scribbles and attach files should see an increase in public interaction amongst users it’s the idea of having followers and followees(for lack of a better word) in both Slideshare and Scribd that intrigues me. Friends or Contacts are NOT same as Followers and these terms shouldn’t be used loosely, especially when they have been around for some time. Also, in Slideshare’s case I particularly don’t see ANY need for this change(same goes for Scribd BTW).

Did I hear someone say in Slideshare the term follower is apt because you get to see updates of your contacts( or whatever) on your home page ?
Right, since you see small updates about activities of your connections in a feed on your home page and get to see their latest slideshows on your page, ‘Follow’ is the best way to describe your relationship. Duh !!

Going by this reason since you can see latest photographs from your connections on Flickr, why not start the  follower/following game in Flickr too ? The point in case is simple, follower/following works for Twitter because there the MAIN activity is to subscribe/follow what other people are upto, which isn’t the case with Scribd or Slideshare(or is it ?) . You might want to know what your contacts uploaded but that’s a seperate thing and a small part of the whole thing.

Going by the fact that people on any social network want to stay updated about their connections should we just have followers and following on every social site ? Also, think from the point of view of an existing user who had spent some time on a site making contacts/friends for some time and come one day he gets to know that now he doesn’t have any contacts but he’s following the same people. I certainly wouldn’t like that abstract change. Will you like it?

Would you like if you wake up one day and see that you have no friends on Facebook but people you follow and people who follow you ?

Chris Anderson’s New Book Free, Free for US only?

A couple of days back I got to know about a new book titled “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” by Wired Magazine editor and author of bestseller “Long Tail”  Chris Anderson. Next thing I got to know was true to it’s name “Free’s audio book is available for download for free“. While downloading the audio book I was wondering if the book is free just for audio format or will it’s e-book also be available for free ?

While browsing the web today I found out that Free’s e-book is also available for free. Excited, I clicked the URL to get my hands on the free e-book.


But to my unpleasant surprise, I ran into this


Frustrated by this(hypocrisy?) I searched around to realize that the not only is the e-book restricted to just US, it’s just free to read and not download. There you go again.

When I got to know about the free audio book I decided to buy a paperback copy for myself soon but given the weird policies regarding book’s availability in other formats I am not sure if I’ll be doing that anymore.

While Chris Anderson & Co figure out what’s the right way to market the book without screwing their economics you can either listen to it’s audiobook or read the book on Scribd(using a DNS proxy like hidemyass.com in case you aren’t in the US) or read it here.

Want to download a file from Scribd ? Upload one

It’s been quite a while since I used Scribd and it will be a while till I use it again. Why ? Because of this

In order to download “HEADSET BROS – SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY”, please upload at least 1 more of your documents first.

In order to download “HEADSET BROS – SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY”, please upload at least 1 more of your documents first.

Yes, this is what I ran into while downloading a document from Scribd. It’s pretty ingenius of Scribd guys to ask you to upload a file before downloding one. Since there are no visible checks on the file you upload, I am not sure how many junk files would have been uploaded on Scribd since they launched this fantastic modification in the download feature.

O Scribd, what were you thinking ?

Update: Scribd has made some changes to the feature that are covered in a post here