StumbleUpon Defined vs. Digg, Google, MySpace and More

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I recently had the privilege of interviewing Garrett Camp of StumbleUpon, which recently reached 1.8 million users.

I typed four pages of notes in 8 point font. And thus was born the StumbleUpon Interview Series!

In this first part of the series I seek to define the social media site StumbleUpon, first briefly with conceptual, jargony terminology and then by comparing it to Digg, Google, MySpace, Deli.cio.us and Amazon.

After talking with StumbleUpon’s CEO Garrett Camp, here’s my definition:

StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that recommends content based on explicit requests at the outset (interest indication radial buttons) and implicit usage data over time.

Simple? Yes. Addictive? HIGHLY.

So first let’s look at StumbleUpon vs. Digg:

  1. Both are built through user submissions
  2. Both deliver a sense of “discovery” to visitors
  3. Digg lacks personalization and does not recommend stories
  4. Nor does Digg cluster its users and make recommendations based on social network
  5. StumbleUpon doesn’t cover breaking news well – tech, world or otherwise
  6. In Digg you see all stories at once – in StumbleUpon you see one at a time, have the attention to react to it, and then move to the next making for a more considered rating
  7. As a user I find it more likely that I will get that wonderful, magic sense of “Discovery” if I cruise StumbleUpon. Digg is good for a lift too though, and it may be that I’m slightly out of their audience 🙂

Now, here’s StumbleUpon vs. Google:

  1. Both were created as ways to find things on the web.
  2. StumbleUpon emphasizes discovery over utility, and what Camp called “non textual retrieval”
  3. Google is a librarian, while StumbleUpon is your tv except there’s something good on every channel that your friends liked and you liked too
  4. Google’s making ga-billions. SU’s not yet but could, especially with SU video 😀
  5. Both allow advertising in the index, and how users interact with/rate these paid listings affect how often these ads show

Here’s StumbleUpon vs. MySpace:

  1. Both have profile pages that show personal interests and photos of users
  2. StumbleUpon is built around an information and entertainment discovery recommendation experience where profiles lead back to discovery, while MySpace is built around the profile viewing and community communication experience.
  3. It would be wicked if SU and MySpace could converge. Innit.

StumbleUpon vs. Deli.cio.us

  1. They are both ways to save and record wonderful bits of information you experience as you cruise the web and they both have browser-side gizmos for users.
  2. The interfaces are radically different, though I suspect you’ll get more link and SEM value from Deli.cio.us in the short term.

StumbleUpon vs. Amazon

  1. They are both masters of recommendations.
  2. StumbleUpon has not yet mastered monetization.

Watch for upcoming articles in this Garrett Camp interview series – I’ll dig into the roots of StumbleUpon, how it will conquer the media world, and how you can pay and create content to market to its 1.8 million users.

Comment Bait : So how do YOU define StumbleUpon?

Garrett French
Garrett French is a long time search marketer, blogger and conversatrional marketing consultant.
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