StumbleUpon is becoming more and more popular by the day and has established itself as a dominant social network, site traffic builder and Internet navigational tool. By monitoring what sites users bookmark, share, approve of (by giving a thumbs up) and tag, StumbleUpon can build user and group profiles then serve and suggest relevant sites to those users and their search queries.
Amazon.com has played with search in the past, establishing the personalized search mold with A9 before their partners were doing so. They also took an ambitious dive into local search with photo mapping, but like A9, their local efforts were never a success.
Amazon.com has found a non-shopping following with its Alexa toolbar however, and one cannot ignore that StumbleUpon’s bread & butter is its toolbar.
What if Amazon.com acquired StumbleUpon? Why would they do so? Here are some reasons:
- Toolbars : Although Amazon.com has established Alexa as the dominant web site traffic and popularity metrics tool, Alexa is challenged and inaccurate due to the fact that it does not represent an even sample of web users. The majority of Alexa users are bloggers, site publishers, and marketers; giving sites which attract these users very high rankings.
StumbleUpon, on the other hand, represents a more even keel of web users, and has attracted even more users with StumbleUpon Video and regionalized SU groups. If Amazon.com did acquire StumbleUpon, they could use its popular toolbar to also track the popularity of sites, and additionally the tags given to sites and voting records of users. Simply stated, people have a reason to download StumbleUpon, but not Alexa. In order for Amazon.com to keep Alexa’s grip on their market, they should acquire SU before SU starts publishing site rankings and metric info.
- Recommendations : StumbleUpon utilizes a profile set up by the user and their bookmarking and voting pattern to suggest new web sites and friends to StumbleUpon users. By meeting people who are interested in the same content & web material, SU breeds a new ground in terms of connecting with like minded individuals.
Amazon.com uses search, navigation and purchase tracking behavior to suggest products and customize Amazon.com itself based upon the specific user. In terms of personalization, Amazon.com and StumbleUpon are the tops in their fields (except for, maybe Google and its AdSense network).
What if Amazon.com was to merge StumbleUpon personalization into the online shopping experience. Not sure what to buy your friend for their birthday? Instead of Amazon.com using more private information like purchase behavior to suggest a gift for a friend, a suggestion could be made based upon their SU public tagging and voting for sites. Chances are, if they visit and bookmark Harley Davidson sites, they may be planning on buying a bike. Surprise them or encourage them to do so with a book on Harley’s or autograph of Peter Fonda.
- Monetization : On the other end of the spectrum is monetization. StumbleUpon currently offers an advertising program which lets advertisers submit their site, category and basic demographic targeting to StumbleUpon and then SU charges the advertiser $.05 for each targeted user. Stumblers then can vote on the advertised site, and the more votes attracts more traffic.
Amazon.com could use a similar method to market their products to SU users. What if every 20th Stumble was an Amazon.com product which would be specifically targeted to that user. Books, magazine subscriptions, even toys or baby products could be marketed to the targeted SU user.
Ideally, users would have the option to opt-out of the Amazon.com ads, but like the current SU advertising, users may find the products extremely useful and relevant.
- Get a Jump on Yahoo : My opinion is that if Amazon.com does not acquire StumbleUpon in the next 3 months, Yahoo will. StumbleUpon, like MyBlogLog, fits into the Yahoo Social Media equation and the two services mixed would be a juggernaut.
Futhermore, Yahoo could easily add the SU ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ button to its toolbar, and further positively change the adoption of tagging, voting and social sharing.
StumbleUpon, however, due to its personalization and recommendation technology would be a much better fit for Amazon.com, and if Amazon is going to get more serious about its web services, they should not let Yahoo swoop in and grab StumbleUpon from under their noses
These are some ideas which were swirling around in my head last night. If you have any reasons why you think Amazon.com, or any other company, should acquire StumbleUpon, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
And if you’re a StumbleUpon user, please Stumble or vote for this blog post :)