Should Acquire StumbleUpon

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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. 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. 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 acquired StumbleUpon? Why would they do so? Here are some reasons:

  • Toolbars : Although 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 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 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. uses search, navigation and purchase tracking behavior to suggest products and customize itself based upon the specific user. In terms of personalization, and StumbleUpon are the tops in their fields (except for, maybe Google and its AdSense network).

    What if was to merge StumbleUpon personalization into the online shopping experience. Not sure what to buy your friend for their birthday? Instead of 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. could use a similar method to market their products to SU users. What if every 20th Stumble was an 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 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 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, 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, 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 🙂

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • mad4

    I agree that Yahoo will buy SU if Amazon don’t. Imagine how good the SU toolbar data would be compared to Alexa. SU needs somebody like Yahoo to bring the number of users up to what it should be.

  • Ken Savage

    It would be nice if the Yahoo bought SU and integrated the SU functionality into the existing Yahoo toolbar. Good stuff

  • Ahmed Bilal

    I havent used SU that much but you’re right, it would be a better fit for Amazon than for Yahoo!.

    Still, I’d bet on Y! getting there first.

  • Duo

    If amazon or yahoo bought SU, I would probably uninstall it in a new york minute. Kinda sad in a way, because I use SU alot. But, I just do not trust either of these companies to do right by the people who made SU what it is.

    SU isint exactly the best extension to use if you want privacy in the first place but evenso, in the hands of Y! or Amazon, I shudder to think. I think I would abandon it if any of the major ‘net players aquired it. None of them can be trusted anymore really, even Google seems to have abandoned “Don’t be evil”.

  • Joe

    It would be awesome if Amazon bought StumbleUpon and used it for marketing purposes. I’d enjoy being advertised to – frankly there’s not enough of that on the internet. I’d also like my browsing preferences to be tracked and analyzed by some big computer in a corporate office so that hackers and unscrupulous businesspeople can use my personal info for their own gain. I can’t wait for the spam to start pouring in!!!

  • R U Mahale

    I wish stumbleupon maintained individuality as taking over by the other two firms only make it commercial. Why this idea has crept in; any such proposal or initiative?

  • Matt Keegan

    I hope that Stumble Upon remains independent, but like MyBlogLog they may be gulped up eventually.

    Great news for the owners if that should happen.

  • Brian P Mucha

    It will be the end of StumbleUpon if either buys it.

    The end of the clean toolbar with no BS. The end of the ad-less interface. Hello to spam on every 3rd click.

    Inevitable of course.

    PS – I love the UI on StumbleVideo. And it all fades to almost black while you are watching. Clean, nice. YouTube and all the rest look like 12 year olds designed them.

  • Brian P Mucha

    How could StumbleUpon generate a decent profit without wrecking it? Any realistic way they could somehow stay independent?

  • ptsd1956

    Oh No!, Not Yahoo ffs, pls pls, its so cakey and built for kids, and spammers and an adware and malware delight , NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • http://n/a Geoffrey

    I used Stumbleupon to reach this actually, and I hope SU remains independent. If i clicked the button to go to a website, and an ad came up, I would probably uninstall the program.

  • Wraywolf

    The second that amazon or y! buys SU is the day I have my account deleted and never use SU again. I’m dead serious about that. I could not stand for this to happen… most of the sites in the SU pool suck, and the more idiots you get using the SU bar, the more idiotic sites will pour in, making the program the internet equivalent of playing Russian Roulette. Nothing could be improved by either amazon or y! acquiring this, and you should seriously consider killing yourself for suggesting such an assbackwards idea.

  • Coolies

    StumbleUpon is only good because it isn’t full of spam… good luck keeping it that way with Y! or Amazon running it.

  • Michael Winn


    I’m sorry, I don’t get it. Do you get paid to post these things? Do you understand what SU is? Maybe the developer doesn’t realize either. And who could deny him the right to make his killing, and say, “blow you, Jack, I’m all right.” But it’s base ignorance not to understand what’s at stake, and criminal not to care.

    If Amazon or Yahoo/AT&T starts screwing with SU, I suppose someone else will have to start a program like SU but with a better vocabulary and the result will be that we will all go to the new place where expression is free and free of ads. Then there will be yet another revenue drain for the stock manipulators that buy SU, and possibly a moderate improvement in their services if they happen to learn something, and SU will become yet another site full of ads that no one pays attention to, like this page, for instance, and there will be a few more millionaires driving up the price of prime real estate.

    SU is the most, and possibly, only useful connectivity service on the web. It is a social experiment unlike anything else on the web right now and most people don’t even know why, even the people who run it. But the joke is that, like the internet itself, any attempt to manipulate something like SU destroys it. It can’t be misused since people only enjoy using it because it is free of commercial garbage, it is not dysfunctional, it does not need policing and it serves a purpose.

    If you know any of them, please, tell the boys and girls at Yahoo and Amazon to mess up some other sandbox because the minute they start screwing with SU, all those potential advertisees will disappear like so many snowflakes in July.

    Furthermore, because I feel so strongly about this, I have no intention of informing anyone else about this page and I shall forget I ever saw it.

    Best regards, Michael Winn
    Del Mar, CA

  • Kab

    This is a bad idea and you should feel bad.