Posted March 14, 2011 8:52 pm by with 2 comments

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Imagine yourself wandering along through the internet jungle, minding your own business, checking out the virtual flora and fauna and wham — you discover a gem hidden amongst all the clutter.

Exciting, isn’t it? StumbleUpon thinks so and that’s why they’re about to release their latest advertising arena which they call Paid Discovery. Now, when you think about it, Paid Discovery is kind of an oxymoron. The word “discovery” implies that you found it accidentally and yet “paid” implies that someone put it there on purpose. Still, that’s the concept behind the new service that could be quite advantageous for creative marketers.

In case you aren’t aware, StumbleUpon is a website that allows you to take an exciting trip around the World Wide Web with your areas of interest acting as a virtual GPS. The user checks off categories such as cooking, politics, blogs, or humor then they use the StumbleUpon bar to page through websites giving each a thumbs up or thumbs down as they go. These ratings help the system better target the user, so they get served more appropriate websites with every visit.

What StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery does is add sponsored websites or full page web ads into the stream based on the interests of the user. For example, a studio might pay to insert the website for their latest movie release into the streams for people who chose entertainment as an interest. People who like cooking may find a full page ad for Wisconsin cheese inserted in their run.

Since the ads are webpages the marketer can deliver so much more than he could with a traditional banner. That means you can get creative and interactive, two things that will go along way toward making your brand memorable.

Says StumbleUpon:

There’s a certain excitement one feels for the discovered object, whether that be a shell on a beach or a great movie trailer on the web. But, as social media marketing guru Max Gladwell argued, this “a-ha moment” can’t seem forced. . .  your future customers need to come across you as if by accident, and also not feel that they’re getting a sales pitch or a social recommendation from an online connection who doesn’t really know their preferences all that well.

It’s simple, but very true. Discovery is a cool thing, even if someone seeded the beach with diamonds before you got there.

You can get pricing and see some test cases at the StumbleUpon Paid Discovery webpage.

  • This is just hardcore insulting. I understand that product placement requires a deft sleight-of-hand, but this poster’s approach is condescending. The “creative marketers” you suggest this might appeal to have been using StumbleUpon for ages; now that it’s being translated into Gummi Bear, however… If people really do experience an “a-ha moment” when the discover a full-page ad for Wisconsin cheese, I’ve been over-estimating my demographic. And overreacting to pop-up ads!

  • With these numbers of new accounts on a daily basis, it is only a matter of time before the average twitter account has thousands of followers and following thousands, and for many tens of thousands. Seems then that there will be so much noise in the system that real, informative, information will be missed because there will be too much junk and reposts made every second. Those that truly want to use Twitter for what it was initially meant to do will no longer be able to enjoy it.