StumbleUpon acquisition by eBay and Google’s Reply

StumbleUpon, for those who don’t know, is a Firefox browser toolbar that provides social bookmarks discovery service. It has been gaining serious popularity and it is one of my favorite extensions. It basically lets you ‘stumble upon’ new sites in the categories of your interest and I have found quite a few gems through this toolbar.

TechCrunch revealed yesterday that StumbleUpon has signed a term sheet with eBay to be acquired for somewhere between $40 and $75 million.

GigaOM
has aired about Google and eBay tussling over an acquisition for the second time. The first time was the eBay’s Skype acquisition in 2005. Their hypothesis about eBay’s interest in using Skype and its integration with StumbleUpon in the future as a backdoor to millions of desktops is pretty viable. Stumble Upon

I wonder about StumbleUpon’s future direction. Even though it is a great tool right now, it has its limitations in the form of a few set categories that you can search by. I found that someone stumbling in the category ‘windows’ came to the most popular article in this blog about Free software for your computer. But, the stuff one could be interested under such broad categories like windows, technology, science tend to, IMHO, dilute the effectiveness of it.

Maybe eBay will run with it and even make it better. But, I personally would have bet on Google to have done a better job at it.

But, Google isn’t just sitting tight. They silently  announced their ‘recommendations’ feature on their own toolbar. Here is an excerpt from their blogpost.

The first is a recommendations button on the Google Toolbar that looks like a pair of dice. Click on the dice, and we’ll take you to a site that may be interesting to you based on your past searches. If you want another, just click the dice again and we’ll show you a new one. We’ll give you up to 50 new sites per day that might be of interest.

Even though I have installed Google’s toolbar, I haven’t used it much so far. Maybe this feature will make me use it more often although the recommendations feature needs to have ‘Search History’ feature turned on in your account. I have to say they look at your search history to provide recommendations.

I am very interested in finding out how effective Google’s recommendations are compared to StumbleUpon! I know it’s kind of comparing apples to oranges but at the end of the day I am going to use the product that closely matches my taste.

Do you use StumbleUpon or Google Toolbar or both? What are your thoughts on it?

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6 Responses to “StumbleUpon acquisition by eBay and Google’s Reply”

  1. Chris April 20, 2007 at 9:57 am #

    I use Stumble a great deal (It’s also available for IE now BTW) and it’s a great tool, although very addictive.

    I use it both for recreation and inspiration, and I’ve had good boosts in traffic & subscribers when my posts have been stumbled.

    Amusingly, I wrote a post about Stumble on Blog-Op, someone stumbled it and it resulted in around 10,000 hits over about 3 weeks.

    This was a couple of months ago, and I still get half a dozen hits a day on that post from it.

    I just hope Ebay doesn’t ruin it….

    I do use the Google toolbar purely for search, I don’t use the other bits at all.

  2. RiRi April 20, 2007 at 11:27 am #

    Supposedly, the aquisition by ebay is a rumor. A journalist phoned an SU person, and he denied it, and there has been no news about such an important event on the SU site, nor is their any evidency in on the “management” part of the site, and it has not acnoweledged any of the news items on the “aquisition”.

  3. K-IntheHouse April 20, 2007 at 12:05 pm #

    Chris,

    It really is addictive! I really didn’t think StumbleUpon so far as a traffic generator like Digg but I can see how thot could occur.

    Good for you Chris!

    K

  4. Chris April 21, 2007 at 5:20 pm #

    Thanks K,

    I try to hand out a few Stumbles to my fellow bloggers when they come up with something good (I did Stumble this post, hope it got a few extra hits) as it’s nice to share the love ;-)

    My record Stumble gave out 18000 hits in a week, I’d love to do that again :-)

  5. K-IntheHouse April 21, 2007 at 6:18 pm #

    Great Chris. I did see few more hits from SumbleUpon coming in this morning.

    Wow that must have been really nice.. :-) Did you know about the new StumbleThru feature they are gonna introduce? I just wrote about it too.

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