Maybe the big change coming for StumbleUpon last month wasn’t a change in ownership after all. While rumors of eBay’s planned sale of the website-discovery toolbar have yet to be confirmed, StumbleUpon has come out with a few big changes this week.
Originally designed as a toolbar that delivers recommended pages in your specified areas of interest, StumbleUpon has seen great popularity. It even had a decent revenue model: selling some of those pageviews for a nickel a pop. ClickZ reports that one out of every 20 to 30 pages stumbled is a paid inclusion. But the toolbar may soon be a thing of the past for all users.
But now you don’t need the toolbar to stumble: StumbleUpon is launching, according to RWW, an alternative way for new visitors to use the service without signing up. The download-free version will be accessible from their website. In addition,
It’s also ushering in a partner program to allow individual Web sites to offer StumbleUpon on their properties. That program launches this fall with four partners: HowStuffWorks.com, HuffingtonPost.com, National Geographic.com, and Rolling Stone.com.
Called Property StumbleThru, the new service will work within sites, serving up popular pages at random (or according to a user’s interests). HowStuffWorks and HuffPo launch the service today:
StumbleUpon will also ramp up its current ad sales efforts and offerings with a larger staff. The new staff will help advertisers target their stumblers better, including:
making recommendations on specific categories where an advertiser’s content may do well. (Most StumbleUpon advertisers are media and entertainment companies.) Improved analytics will show how that content is being received.
As TechCrunch noted when it reported of the sales rumors, StumbleUpon has six million registered users—but its popularity has waned over time, with worldwide visitors in July down 70% over the same month in 2007. Will this be enough to save the service?