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Summary:

Digg and Del.icio.us are great tools to discover interesting content on the web which has been curated by the crowd. Since then, we have had newer tools like Clipmarks and eClips emerge, and have become useful part of our digital lives. Maybe it is time to […]

Digg and Del.icio.us are great tools to discover interesting content on the web which has been curated by the crowd. Since then, we have had newer tools like Clipmarks and eClips emerge, and have become useful part of our digital lives. Maybe it is time to add StumbleUpon, a web discovery extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser, to the list of these web-curators. For past three weeks, I have been seeing a steady increase in the number of referrers being sent to this site by Stumble Upon. I am sure others are experiencing similar kind of “traffic” referrals.

StumbleUpon uses / ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages which friends and like-minded stumblers () have liked. Unlike search engines or static directories, this allows for a true “democracy of the web” – all SU members have a say ( or ) as to whether a page should be passed on. Rating pages as or also improves your stumbles. These ratings connect you to more like-minded members who then show you better pages.

I decided to install it, and well, like Pete Cashmore, I find StumbleUpon simply addictive.

The only answer I can muster is that it’s just so darned addictive – once you Stumble, you just can’t stop. What’s more, it’s incredibly accessible to the mainstream demographic – while mining the social bookmarking sites for gems takes a lot of work, Stumbling takes no effort whatsoever.

StumbleUpon is a Canadian start-up that recently re-located to San Francisco. Matt Marshall reports that they have raised a $1 million from a band of angels including Ron Conway, Mitch Kapor, Rajeev Motwani and Ram Shriram. It was started by Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, and Justin LaFrance, who bootstrapped the company for much of its early life.

The company has been around for nearly four years, but has now been hitting its stride. Apparently, nearly 850,000 people are using the tool, and have reviewed, rated, and categorized over five million web pages since the service was first launched. Will it continue on this growth curve and become as valuable? What do you think?

  1. Yah Om, after Cashmore mentioned StumbleUpon last week, I checked it out too. Totally crazy. Not only is this thing addictive, it seems to get increasingly smart about what you like.

    Should not have installed this thing :)

    I’m very curious on their revenue model. Looks like advertisers are dropping URLs directly into the roll of what you see as you hit “Stumble”. I have seen a few obvious URL ads, but they are relatively contextual.

    Anybody know how much $$ this thing is actually making? With the # of users they have, it could be potentially solid, no?

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  2. StumbleUpon’s Growth will definitely continue in the near term. But I fear that it will become a bit like MySpace: lots of accounts, but a smaller core of active users.

    StumbleUpon is SO addictive and SUCH a time stuck, that I think most people will uninstall it or hide it at some point.

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  3. Tiffany, yah, I can imagine that kind of growth curve for StumbleUpon, especially if it catches on with the MySpace crowd (which seems natural if it ‘crosses over’)

    But, as someone who manages an online ad budget, when I listen to you say “so addictive” and “such a time suck”… heck, that’s music to my ears, and not really a negative at all. Unstinalling the crack-fix doesn’t jive with human nature in most folks.

    For example, I did not uninstall my TiVo 2 years ago because I noticed I was watching substantially more programming, even though I lamented it on some level. I just keep watching more programming because its an overall entertainment value-add (for better or worse) I’m not saying StumbleUpon is like TiVo, but its a workable analogy in terms of addiction impact/spending more time with a given medium.

    Hmm.

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  4. StumbleUpon second wind…

    Back in 2004-2005, I used StumbleUpon (SU) almost every day. Then, somewhere around 750-1,000 rated stumbles I started seeing a lot of the same sites. A few browser upgrades later and I no longer installed/upgraded the StumbleUpon toolbar, nor have use…

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  5. Yep, StumbleUpon has definitely hit its stride over the last few months – it’s one of the top referrers to my site, too.

    Rutger,

    No idea what the figures are, but they are profitable (through interstitial ads and users paying to turn off the ads).

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  6. They need to get a grip on what their advertsing stumbles are really worth. IMHO they are trying to charge about 10x the value. If they lower the price, I’m sure they could sell all of their inventory.

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  7. Installed it a while ago and found i did not use it after 2 weeks. Was addictive for 2 weeks. That’s it.
    ME

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  8. “But I fear that it will become a bit like MySpace: lots of accounts, but a smaller core of active users.”

    Tiffany, I have to disagree. The MySpace community is by far one of the most active online communities. MySpace is a communications platform. The teen/tween demographic does not use traditional email as their primary communications tool, but rather MySpace’s internal communications system.

    StumbleUpon is going to be huge. I had not heard of the site until last week when Pete Cashmore discussed it in a post. But having spent some time on it, one can see the power of the youth generation. They have managed to take social book marking, something considered too “geeky,” and add mainstream appeal.

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  9. I agree with Ari’s comments above. Been on Stumbleupon about a month (that’s how I found this post!)

    I think this thing is going to totally explode this year. Especially if you use it to surf in video mode like I have been, you really get a sense of how unique this is and how very very addictive.

    It is actually very hard to describe StumbleUpon if you have not used it.

    My advice to Stumbleupon: Don’t Sell Out!

    Out of curiosity, what are they charging their advertisers? I have never even thought about that.

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  10. I’m seeing similar in my referral logs. StumbleUpon ended up being a huge aftershock to a recent BoingBoing.net post about us.

    Also, without an account you can check the Stumble activity of a particular URL with syntax like the following (see the “activity” label at the bottom of the page):

    http://www.stumbleupon.com/url/www.brilliantdreams.com/product/famous-dreams.htm

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