November 7, 2008

StumbleUpon – Discover Your Web


There are certain words that have become a part of the lexicon based on the popularity of certain sites. To “Digg” a site means to spread it’s popularity via To “Stumble” a site is very much the same process through the site StumbleUpon is part social networking site and part recommendation engine.

Users of StumbleUpon can “stumble” (or recommend) a website, photo, or video online. The StumbleUpon engine will then choose a new site based on the user’s interests, as well as those sites that a user has given a thumbs up or thumbs down before. Users can download a StumbleUpon toolbar, which will work within a web browser, so they can easily Stumble any site worth recognition.

In an age of spam, the StumbleUpon engine has to capability of being exploited by business owners looking to promote their own sites. However, because StumbleUpon is an internet democracy of sorts where majority rules, the site is actually very well filtered and the cream really does rise to the top. At StumbleUpon you can find interesting sites that you may otherwise never encounter in casual web surfing.

Practical Uses:

  • Utilize the small amounts of free time you have to quickly find web content that is most interesting to you
  • Find new services and technologies as they launch
  • Locate up and coming new products for your retail store

Insider Tips:

  • Activate your Stumble toolbar to open up a new site whenever you press the thumbs rate button. This way you can surf from site-to-site based on your interests
  • Switch to secondary view if you don’t like the appearance of the standard view for list items
  • Join a StumbleUpon group. Remember, StumbleUpon is like Myspace: it’s a place where like-minded people can meet up. Joining a group also makes it easier for the StumbleUpon engine to find appropriate sites for you
  • Use the parental controls to ban adult sites: also important if you happen to be stumbling at work
  • Become a Stumble sponsor: sponsors can turn off ads and start new groups

What we liked:

  • StumbleUpon offers a great way to find new sites. It’s not just a collection of links as, say, Fark, but you can find new sites based on your interests, as well as new people
  • It couldn’t be easier to mark websites as good or bad: thumbs up or thumbs down
  • A vibrant and hugely-expanding community
  • It’s free and it’s fun. Scratch that: it’s highly addictive

What we didn’t like:

  • You can’t delete your Stumble history (a concern for some people)
  • The toolbar isn’t perfect: especially for adding a review of a site or adding interests
  • The bulk of Stumblers are younger, so the sites that are given the thumbs-up most often cater to younger people


Company Info:

  • Launched: December 2001
  • Publicly Held (eBay)
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
  • Founded by: Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, and Justin LeFrance
  • Web site:


  • Free

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