The rumors are over: eBay bought StumbleUpon for $75 million. Seeing as the two companies don’t exactly scream “similar” to me, I scoured the press release to find this explanation:
StumbleUpon is a great fit within our goal of pioneering new communities based on commerce and sustained by trust,” said Michael Buhr, senior director, eBay. “StumbleUpon’s downloadable toolbar provides an engaging and unique experience to its users, but it is the similarities in our approaches to the concept of community that make it such a compelling addition to eBay.”
No mention of its incredible quality-sorted index. No mention of its new video stumbling service. Only the toolbar and its “community.” Wow.
eBay doesn’t get StumbleUpon. They just see eyeballs and a toolbar. This purchase is going to ruin an otherwise great product.
So in other words, while you and I might see StumbleUpon as a vehicle for wasting time at work, eBay sees it as a “community based on commerce.” Furthermore, eBay’s eyes are locked squarely on StumbleUpon’s toolbar, making for certain the rumors that it plans to add its own stuff into it.
StumbleUpon’s toolbar is already pretty cluttered in its default installation. I certainly don’t look forward to eBay’s backwards mentality when it comes to UI design (try visiting their website and count how many inches down the content starts). This is a hot company about to get doused by eBay’s lame understanding of Web 1.0.