Posted September 19, 2008 4:44 pm by with 15 comments

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It’s like when one of those Hollywood couples who you thought would really last breaks up. Okay, no, not really. It’s more like when one of those Hollywood couples who you thought “WHAT? Why? That’s gotta be Photoshopped” breaks up. After 16 months of marriage, eBay is rumored to be looking for buyers for the popular social discovery service StumbleUpon.

The reports come from TechCrunch‘s venerable sources that eBay is in touch with Deutsche Bank to find a buyer. So far, TC’s sources have been right at each step of the way, predicting not only the acquisition in April 2007 well before eBay’s then-CEO Meg Whitman would announce it (she denied it), but the exact date of the $75M acquisition announcement the following month.

All along, we’ve wondered what on earth eBay wanted with StumbleUpon. While both services may be good (eBay) to great (SU), there just didn’t seem to be any logical way to integrate online auctions with randomly finding new websites.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped eBay in the past. After buying Skype for a reported $3.1B, they haven’t found a way to make it work with the auctions business either. Rumors earlier this year say that they’ll be selling Skype before the year is out (although perhaps the rumors were wrong about the particular misfit acquisition that would go).

However, while Skype itself remains a pretty popular utility, it appears that StumbleUpon’s popularity has taken a tumble(upon?):

In July [2008] StumbleUpon had 1.3 million worldwide visitors and 25 million page views. Twelve months earlier the service attracted 4.4 million visitors and 31 million page views (Comscore).

With StumbleUpon appearing past its prime, eBay may not be able to recoup its $75M acquisition cost.

Who do you think would make a better match for StumbleUpon?


  • Rather buy stumbleupon than freakin Cuil!

    Utah SEO Pro’s last blog post..Building an SEO Friendly Site – SES San Jose 2008 Presentation

  • Google, no questions asked. They have tons of data that would be useful to the algo.

  • Ebay and Stumbleupon which proved to be best examples have shattered and very soon we will come to know what is happening behind the screen.

    Since, stumble has become brand it will be easily acquired any another firms, just wait and watch.

  • Yeh I don’t think they’ll get their money back if the traffic has gone down…however they won’t have a problem finding a buyer.

    ebay were right with their paypal purchase but kinda weird with skype and stumbleupon. They seem to have been purchased as token gestures to their success?

    sheppy’s last blog post..Email receipts – importance high

  • StumbleUpon is kind of fun as a casual surfer … but I’ve found it to be pretty much useless in terms of marketing. The traffic is so unfocused that while page views might be high, and type of call to action has miniscule rates.

    Ami Ohayon’s last blog post..From Jerusalem to Boston

  • what has ebay got to do with SU now!!
    i mean its totally different from each other..
    and i agree with u Ami..its really useless for marketing

  • I have no idea why they would buy SU. I wonder what their big marketing plan was to use it for? Maybe they were just trying to spread out their assests or something but come on, how could SU possible help Ebay itself out?

    Daniel, The Hosting Blog’s last blog post..The biggest hosting company is not always the best. Startup web hosts can provide something a large host can’t.

  • Informative, I had no idea ebay owned SU. I wonder if Microsoft will show interest?

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  • It made no sense, just as the purchase of Skype amde no sense…now, I could force some sense into it, but then I don’t make those kinds of calls for free. ;->


  • GM

    I too did not know Ebay ( of all peolple ) owned SU. Let’s hope Google gets it and keep it the way it is.

    GM’s last blog post..Sandisk Sansa Fuze 8 gig $98

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  • MGA

    Yeah, EBay has nothing to do with stambleupon. I could never understand why did they buy it. Now trying to get rid of it. Such a bad executive decision.

  • eBay needs to unload everything that does not compliment their core business – If they do not they can continue to watch their ship sink.
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  • It never made any since for eBay to acquire stumbleupon OR skype, but odder partnerships have been made, so I was just a wait and see. I expected Stumble to begin “randomly” (more often than not) showing eBay auction, and for eBay to start a pay per click bidding war for this showing, but that never happened. So what WAS their idea in the first place? As for Skype, it would have made sense to create a free comms link between buyers and sellers (seller pays), but that never came about either. I think they just got buy happy, after successfully integrating paypal into their castle – they jumped before they looked, and now they are desperately clawing for the rope to climb back up on. Good Luck!

  • Not a bad idea actually. Ebay have always wanted to make a digital market empire and to beat at least sites like Sitepoint they need a site with enough reputation and high traffic. Stummbly is site that fits the description.