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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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  11. Cool Service with lot of potential. its similar to eTours.com of the boom era with some social touches! …

    This reminds me of the business 2.0 article about some VC digging up old dotcom ideas :)

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  12. Concur with Gopi on the eTour similarity. Add a collaborative browsing aspect and you have TogetherWeb.com from around that same time.

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  13. gross exageration Monday, May 22, 2006

    this will be the biggest thing the net has ever seen!

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  14. I installed and used it when it first came out. I subsequently uninstalled it after I realized that I was getting a huge number of repeat stumbles. That and it was eating up huge chunks of my time.

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  15. SU is so vvery addictive ! I have made some wonderful friends and have seen the world through new eyes

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  16. Leave it to my man Om to introduce me to fun “slacker” tools like Stumble. So far, I’ve enjoyed numerous reccomendations of yours. I don’t play computer games so for me this is a good surrogate. Thanks for the info.

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  17. I Love Stumbleupon i have been a member there for a while now and i just love it.

    Bob Aman, i know you said you kept getting a huge number of repeat stumbles but its not like that now there is a lot of power users now that have 1000’s of stumbles.

    like this member
    http://starspirit.stumbleupon.com/

    Charlie, they charge $0.05 per visitor but i don’t know if this varies from site to site but i sighed up for it just to see how much it would be i have never used it because well i don’t get any money for my site so the last thing i am going to do is pay some one to send me visitors.

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  18. I Love Stumbleupon i have been a member there for a while now and i just love it.

    Bob Aman, i know you said you kept getting a huge number of repeat stumbles but its not like that now there is a lot of power users now that have 1000’s of stumbles.

    like this member
    http://starspirit.stumbleupon.com/

    Charlie, they charge $0.05 per visitor but i don’t know if this varies from site to site but i sighed up for it just to see how much it would be i have never used it because well i don’t get any money for my site so the last thing i am going to do is pay someone to send me visitors.
    But When i read the title of the page

    StumbleUpon is hot or what?

    made me laugh of couse it’s hot with nearly 850,000 people using it i think the numbers talk for there self, and its not just a extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser they have done a version of the toolbar to work with IE

    http://www.stumbleupon.com/get_ie.html

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  19. Hey, I was looking through your site and noticed what you had to say about StumbleUpon! Something else you might want to try is a tool being put out by Dumbfind.com call the ranDUMBizer. It is similar to Stumble Upon (and was inspired by it), except it helps you find site similar to one another.
    Try using them in tandem, when you see a site you like in StumbleUpon, click the ranDUMBizer bookmarklet and it will find something else that is
    related. The ranDUMBizer helps you find things you are looking for, but don’t know how to search for. It is based on proprietary clustering technology from the Dumbfind search
    engine. Very beta, but often very very interesting.

    http://www.dumbfind.com/randumbizer/

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  20. If you’re biggest problem is people getting addicted to your product/service, then I don’t think you really have a problem.

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  21. One word.
    Wonderful!

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  22. are you sure that you could not have put more adverts on here?
    the world is full of disinformation
    read noam chomsky

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  23. lOVE IT AND YES IT DOES GET SMARTER AS YOU STUMBLE, TAKES ME TO SITES I WOULD OF NEVER SEEN, WHO LIKES TO GOOGLE A TOPIC THEN READ OFF A LIST OF ZILLIONS AND CLICK ON A FEW SITES… WHEN YOU CAN JUST ROLL EM OUT. i HAVE BEEN LOADING TOPICS BY TAKING 1 SUBTOPIC OUT OF EACH MAIN TOPIC AND SU THEM. I THINK I HAVE ACTULY LEARNED A THING OR 2…

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  24. I installed Stumbleupon extention last Oct. played around with it for a while either didn’t get it or had too much other crapola going on. Then about a month ago someone got the humor in my profile and reviewed my pages and my stumbles positively.
    Blammo! I used to just skip over other stumblers but by looking into their pages and checking out some of their reviews and links it really expands exponentially, but just hitting the stumble button is way fun too–and addictive. It is truly amazing what some people are into, and truly amazing what unbelievable creative stuff is out there for no other reason than for you to Stumbleupon.

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  25. This is pure loveable evil. It’s becoming way too smart for my comfort level, and I’m yet to get any work done today; 2:39PM…

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  26. i stumbled on stumble a zillion stumbles ago. so i clearly love it. but only a for a few minutes at a time.

    yes an awful lot of the sites are repeated. but that’s no problem – simply stumble squared. takes only a second or two to click again. and besides, again it might be, but damn it was good then and it’s not bad now so often i find myself stumbling about and glad of it. after all having had a really wonderful steak dinner doesn’t mean we’ll don’t want ever to eat steak again. just possibly we might want to have the experience again.

    i’ve tended to open up the categories and get unfamiliar good things stumbled at me and rather appreciated it. but far from feeling it addictive (implying a wasting of time) i particularly value it’s efficiency. stumbleupon is a means of finding needles with less haystack.

    my one wonderment is that i haven’t seen any of the 100 or so websites i’ve added into the system (being told i was the first to suggest it) sent back to me later.

    what i like the most of stumbleupon is that it turns on the idea of human decided “quality” rather than commercially weighted traffic algorithms. (echos of pirsig’s notions of quality in “zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”.)

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  27. StumbleUpon is awesome. I love it.

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  28. Pete Thomas Monday, June 19, 2006

    I found the Firefox extension when I was updating my browser and I have been using StumbleUpon addictively since. Once I configured it correctly, every site I hit was a keeper.

    This is a real shortcut to the things you want to know; recommended by people just like you.

    I share my home PC with my wife, so its gonna be hard keeping it secret from her – if she finds it, our house will fill with shoes and I’ll never get on the damn PC!

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  29. What makes StubmleUpon amazing is that it is a few things into one.
    It is bookmarking (de.licio.us) with blog community (name any, like Livejournal) with recommendation (like digg).

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  30. I think DumbFind is great, congrads guys. Check out our recent web portal. Sprinko.com is a Fun way to search the web for news, images, articles, encyclopedia, dictionary and videos. Displays mini site images on all search results for better efficiency and site decision. Sprinko Note is a fast and easy way to paste content and send to an email with one click, no log-in required. Double click on any word and instant definition will pop-up. Sprinko.com is worth a look.

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  31. I have been using StumbleUpon for some time now and it’s really great. You can even find site’s realted to what you need like on Google.
    It’s really great.

    http://the.tech.guy.net.googlepages.com/
    The TechGuy is your daily resource for technology news, great tips for your PC, software and hardware reviews, funny computer qoutes and a lot more.

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  32. I agree. Stumbleupon is worse than drugs. There are nights I’m up until 0 dark thirty having stumbled through the night and into the crack of dawn. It’s like the stumble button is begging to be clicked just to see what the next website is going to be. I haven’t found more than a handfull of websites that I haven’t been interested in (and I’m max’d out on my interests. lol).

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  33. I stumbled on this site. Stumbleupon rocks, especially if you just want to get random information about a particular topic but want a decent site. Its also good for just finding random cool things.

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  34. [...] makes a toolbar that provides collaborative serendipity to find web sites. The toolbar, if you ask StumbleUpon users provides more useful and productive results, than say Google. By marrying the toolbar to Skype client, eBay [...]

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  35. [...] far as StumbleUpon users are concerned, its toolbar provides more useful and productive results than even Google. That’s one of the [...]

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  36. [...] a content discovery service that was acquired by eBay for a rumored $75 million (or more) is free again. The company was spun [...]

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  37. [...] and how he wanted to use game theory to make the web more fun. This was long before the company raised money and became the hot new thing, and before it was acquired (by eBay for $75 million), then sold and [...]

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