Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter typically hog all the attention, but give social news sites StumbleUpon their due. The discovery engine now serves up 1 billion stumbles per month after closing out its busiest month ever. Making that figure even more impressive is that the fact that just one month ago, StumbleUpon announced 800 million stumbles, so the site was able to add another 200 million in a short period of time.
StumbleUpon is swinging open the doors to some new features today that they hope begin to change its offerings as a web service. Founder Garrett Camp said the new approach lands itself “somewhere between a Twitter and Google.”
StumbleUpon’s prior services gave users the ability to bookmark, share, and randomly peruse the best of the interwebs. They are building on that service by indexing all the pages deemed worthy of the StumbleUpon community and making them searchable and sort-able. Further, they introduced a “Discover” tab that acts like a news feed, to keep you up to date on your friends’ stumbles and bookmarks.
“It is halfway between search and discovery. It is not as comprehensive as Google and not as real-time as Twitter,” says Camp.
How much is a Twitter account or Digg vote worth? uSocial.net thinks they have the answer to that question with a recently announced new service that will sell social media accounts or votes to companies or individuals having trouble doing it the old fashioned way. $87 USD buys you (or your company) 1,000 followers added over 7 days, or as many as 100,000 over a one year period for $3,479. It turns out money really can make you popular both online, and in real life.
I have to admit however, I find it somewhat doubtful that companies would find these “purchased masses” very responsive, and in fact, uSocial itself claims “we'll Tweet our followers three times a day, every day for a month to go and check out links directly to the content that you'd like promoted.” This type of ad spam would have any normal user searching frantically for the unfollow button, but it certainly points out how modern social media is just as vulnerable to abuse as telephones, or the post office.
uSocial.net is also responsible for launching a program last year that allowed companies to buy votes on Digg and StumbleUpon. Both companies have issued cease-and-desist orders to uSocial, which according to a statement from Digg, have been ignored.
Is this the ugly side of social networking? Let us know what you think.
Give Ebay some credit - its union with StumbleUpon, which it acquired in May 2007, has lasted longer than some marriages. But now it appears Ebay wants out of its $75 million relationship, assuming Tech Crunch's sources prove reliable.
The news site claims Ebay has hired Deutsche Bank in hopes of stumbling upon a buyer, though the asking price remains unknown, and it's anyone's guess whether or not the auction site can get back what they invested in StumbleUpon. From July 2007 to July 2008, StumbleUpon has dropped from boasting 4.4 million worldwide visitors and 31 million page views to 1.1 million visitors and 25 million page views. Oddly enough, registered users continue to grow and now sits at over 6 million strong, a 20 percent increase over what it was just 5 months ago.