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StumbleUpon Launches StumbleThru for Social Media Discovery

StumbleThru Popular web site discover service, StumbleUpon, is not letting acquisition talk distract it from launching new features for its users. Today’s launch of StumbleThru will allow users to explore personalized recommendations from sites such as Flickr, Wikipedia, MySpace and YouTube.

“The collaborative nature of Web 2.0 sites like YouTube and Wikipedia means that content is constantly being generated by millions of users,” said David Feller, Vice President, Marketing in a statement. “StumbleThru provides users the ability to skip the clutter and unearth only the best that these domains have to offer.”

Users can access StumbleThru via their toolbar, a StumbleUpon review page or a new dedicated StumbleThru page.

I spoke to the StumbleUpon team earlier this week and they revealed plans to introduce a Stumble widget for your own web site, just as soon as they build up enough content – so get Stumbling!

Is eBay Acquiring StumbleUpon?

UPDATE: eBay CEO, Meg Whitman was on CNBC this morning to discuss company earnings. She claimed they are “opportunistic with acquisitions, but have nothing on the docket right now.”

Both TechCrunch and GigaOm are reporting on rumors that popular toolbar social network StumbleUpon has signed a deal to be acquired by eBay. They’re suggesting a $45-50 million price tag and even suggesting AOL and Google had been in the running too.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard these rumors, but this time there are appears to be more detail – thought that doesn’t necessarily mean their more credible.

I’m not even going to call StumbleUpon for comment. I spoke with them earlier this week, and they didn’t mention it, so I doubt they’d comment now.

MySpace News Launching Today

Sometime this morning MySpace will lift the lid on their new MySpace News feature. MySpace News will scour thousands of news sources via RSS and group them in hundreds of categories. MySpace readers will then vote on which stories are the most popular.

According to the LA Times

The stories will consist of a headline, one paragraph and a link to the full piece on the news site or blog where it originated. Sources will be selected on criteria including the number of links to them and how often the material is updated.

MySpace parent, News Corp., hopes the more structured content will help it attract more advertisers to MySpace, who thus far, have been put off from advertising next to the random ramblings of teenagers.

Social Networks’ Real Influence

Last month, JupiterResearch reported that 48% of Internet marketers would venture into social media marketing this year. This month they were involved in the research behind iProspect‘s Social Networking User Behavior Study (press release). The result? Some pretty good stuff.

  • 1 in 3 Internet users state that social networks have influenced their purchase decisions.
  • 1 in 4 Internet users visit the most popular social networking sites at least once a month.
  • About 20% of visitors to social networking sites don’t search once they’ve reached the site.
  • Search engines still reach a broader audience than social networking sites, thus SEM is still a very important aspect of Internet marketing. (Of course iProspect found that!)
  • The social networking sites featured in the study included:
    • MySpace
    • Facebook

The Social “News” Race

Li Evans at Search Marketing Gurus caught Digg on the slow side today. She was looking for updates on the shooting at Virginia Tech—but the story was nowhere to be found on Digg’s front page. (It didn’t “become popular” for another two hours after she checked.)

And who did have it when Li checked? Newsvine. Hm!

Aside from the interesting dig at Digg, which Diggers seem to consider the fastest way of transmitting news since the neighborhood grapevine, the irony of the situation struck me as it never has before. These and other “social news” sites aren’t making the news, or controlling it, or even covering it. They’re just voting and commenting on it.

Dodgeball Founders the Latest to Quit Google

Be warned, if you decided to sell your company to Google, don’t expect to actually enjoy working for the world’s largest search engine. While the money would be nice, judging by the number of resignations Google gets from its acquired companies, the money may be all you get out of the deal.

Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert, co-founders of Dodgeball, are the latest acquirees to find out the hard way. Dodgeball’s SMS-social network was ahead of the pack, when acquired, but since then, nothing has really been done with the company, and the founders have had to watch the likes of Twitter and Jaiku pass them by.

Here’s part of Crowley’s announcement to the world

Live Video Streaming Coming At Us Fast!

Wow, where did this come from? Over the past 24 hours I’ve watched live video streaming become the next hot topic on the web.

First, inspired by Justin.tv, Chris “I live on the lunatic fringe” Pirillo decided to start a live internet video stream of him at his computer. Bringing in Ustream.tv (the live video technology) Skype, Twitter, chat rooms and a whole host of other technology.

Then Robert “PodTech” Scoble decided to live stream his road trip, thanks to a wireless laptop and a video camera.

Up next, both Scoble and Jeremiah “Web Prophet” Owyang announce they plan to stream live video from the Web 2.0 conference.

This is cutting edge stuff. Question is, how can it be leveraged?