Will ebay Wreck StumbleUpon?

Posted in Social Media

suVia techCrunch: eBay announced a cash acquisition today valued at $75 million for the purchase the social community site StumbleUpon. eBay indicated that StumbleUpon will further their “goal of pioneering new communities based on commerce and sustained by trust.” eBay is installing Michael Buhr (requires login) as general manager for the product and they intend to take a hands-off approach at first. SU has been growing exponentially. With over 2.3 million registered users and 5 million recommendations served daily, they have clocked 150% year over year growth.

Community Based Business?
What exactly IS “community based commerce” anyway? StumbleUpon is exactly the opposite at present. Oh, plenty of smart marketing folks drive plenty of traffic from SU but the approach is usually very civilized. The selling that does go on is either very subtle or gets buried by bloggers. Does ebay expect top stumblers to suddenly become brand evangelists committed to selling products for ebay commissions?

What might that look like? When ebay takes the gloves off will we be looking at contextually generated ads served in profiles, affiliate ads on category pages, and video advertising next to tag clouds?

Do I WANT ebay to Know My Habits?
How will blended ebay shopping data and SU content habits be merged and exploited? Will SU, which is almost completely free of successful junk spammers, become a MySpace-like hangout where users are solicited by whores and spammers? Will ebay read my messages to SU friends for later use?

Of course the elephant in the room is the question of how harvested personal data will be applied to grease the ebay marketing machine? Will my profile come back to haunt me when Ebay generates the price for that book I want to buy because they know I am more susceptible to pay more by my habits and interests?

Time will Tell
I am an avid SU user and fan. I admit, I use SU to drive traffic for aimClear’s clients but the method is by bookmarking quality content-not ecommerce crap. Yesterday a StumbleUpon post published on aimClearBlog (which proved prescient) drove thousands of unique visitors in 6 hours-most of them from SU. I’m interested in what stumbler’s have to say about this. Will ebay wreck StumbleUpon? Here are a few buzz posts from the blogoshpere on today’s SU news.

blog.stumbleupon.com/joining_ebay
We also want you to know that not much will change around here. We’ll be running StumbleUpon separately within eBay Inc., and we’ll still be focused on developing features based on your feedback….

eBay Confirms $75M StumbleUpon Acquisition
Marketing Pilgrim

eBay gets a new baby StumbleUpon
eBay gets a new baby – StumbleUpon by Chris Dawson

eBay acquires StumbleUpon for $75 million
eBay acquires StumbleUpon for $75 million By Cristina Ledesma

eBay confirms StumbleUpon acquisition
In an acquisition announcement-heavy day, the auction giant reports it has coughed up $75 million for the “discovery” service.

  • Dewi delaBrooke

    Please, tell me it’s not true! In my humble opinion Ebay will definitely wreck SU. I stopped using Ebay about seven years ago, when I started to get spam emails,(posing as Ebay),trying to get my account details. I then started getting spam concerning my Paypal account after Ebay bought them out.
    I’m afraid I might have to leave SU if Ebay becomes involved. Being registered with Ebay seems to be like wearing a target on your back for every dishonest,crooked,and unethical internet mugger!!

  • Marty Weintraub

    As a marketer I will try to remain open to the possibilities for our clients. As a passionate SU user, ebay gives me the creeps.
    Marty

  • Judy Scott

    I like SU just the way it is. No acquisition please…

  • Marty Weintraub

    Thanks for visiting Judy. I’m also quite fond of SU.
    Marty

  • Stan Pierce

    Nothing good can come of this for users of SU.

  • Mike Smith

    I certainly am no fan of Ebay. First they do not do enough to police their site of fraud. Second even if you use Paypal they will not make good on a scam. Although I personally have not been burned by them I know several who have. Third they have decided to take an anti-gun stance. I can see them censoring any site that has to do with the shooting sports. Frankly it wouldn’t matter what the censorship was I would be against it. That is short of being illegal of course. If someone does not want to involve themselves with something fine, but do not presume to tell me what I can and can not do. Last but not least is their record of dealing with the spammers and phisers. Terrible to say the least. The first time any of the events just mentioned takes place I am out of here permanently.

  • gretamelina37

    Just got turned on to SU, and my whole family is addicted. I have to say I don’t think it’s good news that you are selling out to Ebay. I know that you got a big chunk of change, but you should have held out. I predict Ebay will ruin this experience for most if not all of us.

  • Marty Weintraub

    Yup, you have to wonder what happens when you take the most affable of of communities and sell it to spam sharks.

  • Gary Casebeer

    Well, now soemone else needs to start another one. I for one will not use it if E-Bay is the owner. I like my privacy and will reserve it at most costs. I understand for 75 mill, I would sell too, but it is defintiely too bad and frankly if they had held out they would have made a lot more. Bless and see you all on a new site!

  • TJ Colatrella

    Well Ebay sucks so let’s ask how Ebay will not ruin one of the best things to happen to the Internet since Google..?

    I’m sorry to hear this Stumble Upon was still just getting itself together..

    With the new coming FCC betrayal of Americans best interest and now this and Gates being a Cretan, it seems there are more powerful dark greed ridden forces determined to destroy the web than progress and intelligence and enlightenment do to it’s existence..

    With the criminals we have running this country what else can we expect..?

  • G. Smith

    I will stop using SU if this is the case. I hate that whenever some one comes up with a cool idea and that idea is a part of the “underground” (free, non huge enterprise, sucking from society, company type people and business) you get people like e-bay or the government who thinks they have to step in and “control” the situation. What ticks me off even more is that people just roll over for these bullies. I mean what were the guys running su thinking???? I mean yea they made a quick buck but what the heck. This will become just another spam full mass produced porn distributer like AOL, a dead end like NAPSTER. A hole to drop money into.

  • dragonflyspine

    I feel like I have just been informed that a good friend of mine has a terminal illness and doesn’t have long to live. I do most of my websurfing through SU but it looks like I’ll have to kick the habbit. I will continue to stumble for the time being but I will definatley be exploring other social bookmarking services.

  • Am

    I only just started with SU, and I love it very much. Please, someone explain to me how it will change with eBay in charge? I am not a user of eBay, have never bought anything from eBay or practically any other site. I don’t see SU as selling anything now, just a cool way of browsing around the Internets…will that change, and how? Having just discovered SU, I would hate to have to give it up….

  • Marty Weintraub

    I started stumbling early this year. I’m glad to have experienced it prior to this sale. Thanks for the comments everybody.
    Marty

  • DragonMage

    This, if true will definately ruin Stumble Upon for me. I can understand the grab for cash, but I am sad for the potential demise of such a wonderful service.

  • LoveByter

    Is cash all that is required to sell something you have envisioned, built, and made into a success to a big corporation who cares nothing about what it has to do to earn the almighty dollar? I can’t believe that SU won’t change and that a hands off approach will be taken. I agree with what G. Smith has to say entirely and I don’t understand how everyone can just sink their heads into the sand as all of our rights are being taken away. But we don’t have to worry about the politicians in our country because they controlled by big business!
    Of course they don’t want us to be enlightened or to have any thoughts about what is happening in our country or to have access to things like SU. They want us to be just smart enough to work and be programmed to think that money and consumerism is happiness.
    What were the SU people thinking??? Weren’t they making enough already?

  • LoveByter

    I also like what Mike Smith and TJ Colatrella have to say. I am glad to see all of you speaking out against this.

  • Marty Weintraub

    I want to welcome you all to our blog and thank you for having this discussion in our blog space. We’re honored to host the dialog.
    Marty

  • Sharon C Macdonald

    EBay? Beware all. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” I do not need to explain how I feel to the free souls.

  • Alicia

    This does seem to be the trend, and I am, honestly, quite surprised that so many seem so shocked. The internet is a haven for “friendly sites”, where people start meeting and trusting others, spending lots of time there, and wham! The rug is pulled out from under all of the loyal members.

    One site, for example, Judy’s Book… suckered thousands of us in with incentives, to write reviews about businesses in our local communities. It soon expanded, to where we could review websites, products, etc. There were many active members… at first because they were being rewarded with monetary gifts, but later because they had found that sense of community and trust.

    Well, needless to say, the rumors started flying around about JB selling to one of the “major internet companies”. Research by a few members discovered that the people running JB were in the business of doing just what we are talking about here. They come up with a great idea, get people hooked in, make it fun, interesting and different… BUT… we, all too often, forget about their motives.

    Think about all of the web hosting SU is paying for… think of the millions and millions of pictures, etc. hosted on their sites… and now videos. It’s costing them a lot of money folks… they’re not doing it for the “fun” or because they “enjoy the social network community”. They’re doing it for one thing… $$$.

    BUT… really, who can blame them? They are, obviously, quite talented business minded folks… hell, they just got $75 million for a website… if you could do that… honestly, you’d be a fool not to.

    I, like the others here, really do enjoy StumbleUpon. I, also, agree that the aquisition will cause many loyal members to stray, until they find the next hot thing. People do feel betrayed. We have no idea what is going to happen to this site we have come to love. I think SU will stick around for a while, as some will hold on, just not wanting to let go of it, and there are always newbies out there who will discover it, not knowing all the history, and just see a pretty cool site… BUT… again, I believe that SU will lose many of its quality members, because Ebay has left such a negative taste in the mouths and minds of many, and because, SU has let its membership down.

    I plan to see what happens in the coming weeks, or however long it takes for Ebay to start poking their sticky fingers into our work that we have invested in and loved… but, unfortunately, I figure I’ll eventually be like so many others here, in the opinion that it is no longer worth my time. I’m certainly not going to sit around just making someone else tons of money because of the work I am doing for nothing… Been there, done that… got a few tshirts and a few $$ out of the deal too… they haven’t even offered that! lol

  • Stumbullshi\*t

    I’ve been a member of StumbleUpon from the beginning and had a great experience.
    I’ve also dealt with Ebay in a bad way. Nothing good can come from this relationship
    Guess it’s back to hunting down quality sites for myself ’cause I just removed my Stumble bar from Firefox….let’s start our own stumble !

  • Marty Weintraub

    Lots of folks have lots of strong feelings about this.
    Marty

  • LoveByter

    If everyone can understand them selling out for 75 million so easily and think that they would be crazy not to do it. Why are you complaining about it then?
    We should all just expect to be taken in and used – if it comes to making money or standing by a principle, then I guess money wins every time. What does it matter if you hurt however many people as long as you are making lots of money doing it?

  • Rod Todd

    As a beginner SU friends helped me through all the pitfalls with the net If E-Bay takes SU I’ll be looking elswhere for my surfing fun on the net

  • ihavewebfeet

    I feel like the employee of a longtime mom and pop store that just learned a Wal-Mart StupidCenter is opening up across the street…

  • Marty Weintraub

    I wonder if they’ll let us park RVs in the parking lot…

  • GCL

    It’s only part of the story. A strange marriage
    this is. I would have even preferred that
    Yahoo! who at least is a search engine,
    maybe not quite as specialized as SU
    was. But at least I can see the affinity.
    But then, I don’t own StumbleUpon or have
    any shares in the stock, so I can’t begin
    to scratch the surface as to just what
    they were thinking. I don’t even know if
    they gave any thought at all to what
    their loyal and supporting SU members
    care about. Will it have direct impact
    upon all the hard work that Stumblers
    have put into their sites? I guess not.
    And that’s disappointing. Money talks,
    I guess. And a lot of money talks even
    louder. Pity. They say it won’t impact
    StumbleUpon and it will be business
    as usual. I have my doubts. The crocodiles
    eat the alligators, the allligators eat whatever
    comes along. And they are a sneaky lot.
    Stumblers are leaving and that is a reality
    and the risk one takes. But then, when
    one has over two million Stumblers, why
    bother caring? There are plenty more to
    come along. It’s business and business has
    a voracious appetite. It’s called capitalism.
    Would I refuse seventy-five million? Knowing
    me as I do. I would. I don’t need 75million
    to make me happy. But I know a lot of people
    who have even more and they are not happy
    folks. The more money you have, the more
    you want, the more headaches, the more
    worries, the more of everything and none of
    it that enviable. Been there, seen that, done
    that. The grass is never greener on the
    other side. However, I can nothing more
    than wish them all the best of luck!

  • Jac

    If Ebay takes SU over, I think I may look for an alternative social bookmarking service. I’ve used Stumble pretty much from the day it was born. I have a feeling if Ebay takes it over, all it will show is ebay auctions and paypal crap.

  • stalain2

    I agree with you Alicia…
    be patient and wait some weeks…
    since then, continu to use SU

  • Marty Weintraub

    Thanks to all of you Stumblers for this very cool dialog!
    Marty

  • BANKIM

    I am also one of the dedicated stumbler .My love for stumbleupon is immensely deep and believe me when I heard the shocking news about
    stumbleupon being sold to Ebay I could not believe it..Here in India there
    is a say” one rotten mango spoils the entire heap of mangoes in a basket”
    A sudden futured demise of stumbleupon is very much regretted..Every stumbler has worked hard on building their blogs and cuddled them like their
    first child..How we are going to bear the sudden demise…

  • Robin

    Very sad news. Once Ebay starts to make their imprint on SU I will stop using it and remove my profile. Hopefully someone else will see the need for a SU type system as it is now and create it so we can just move on over and let ebay have at the old one. You know it is going to be crap once EBAY start making thier changes. I actually am going to remove all my preference right now as I don’t want ebay knowing … and I will just use the search function if I want to search. I am going to miss SU … so sad.

  • affiliate truth

    I have a horrible feeling this is just the first of a number of these sorts of acquisitions that we will be hearing about.

Join the Conversation