Stumbleupon acquisition by eBay: ridiculous?

The GetANewBrowser blog says that Stumbleupon’s acquisition by eBay is ridiculous.

I don’t think so. Everytime I’m on Stumbleupon I get more traffic than I’ve gotten from any other Internet site or blog other than Digg (and I’ve been on quite a few of the world’s top Web sites, including home page of BBC). There are a LOT of people using Stumbleupon and that audience is among the most engaged of all Web sites out there.

It’s interesting. On Tuesday I was over at eBay’s new North San Jose campus. There’s thousands of people working there on nothing but PayPal. I think the fact that we interact with this world via a few pixels on our screens makes us think this world doesn’t have much value. I had no idea just how many people it took to keep PayPal working great.

Those thoughts that things on your screen don’t have much value are wrong. Last night I had dinner with Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose, among others from the online video industry. I shook Kevin’s hand and said “congrats, cause you’re next and now we know the true market value of Digg actually is somewhere above $40 million.

I’m also noticing another trend. Quite a few of the people I’m interviewing are getting rich. Here’s an interview I did at Stumbleupon a few months ago. One of my friends says I should ask for some equity before doing an interview. I think that’s an interesting idea, but for now everyone who gets on my show hasn’t paid to be on (except for my sponsor, Seagate).

What will eBay do with Stumbleupon? Om Malik, at dinner last night, told me he thinks this purchase is scaring Google more than any other. He notices that Google added a similar service to StumbleUpon to its toolbar.

27 thoughts on “Stumbleupon acquisition by eBay: ridiculous?

  1. Google should be scared. What StumbleUpon has created (much more effectively than Digg) is an extremely viral community. Google’s toolbar/site server response is a non-starter. The Bell Curve begins!

  2. Google should be scared. What StumbleUpon has created (much more effectively than Digg) is an extremely viral community. Google’s toolbar/site server response is a non-starter. The Bell Curve begins!

  3. Not sure why everyone is in a huff about NBC publishing the videos. If you don’t want to watch them, just ignore them. It would be different if they put them on the 6:00 news and forced you to sit through it, but you do have a choice online – use it.

    I’m all for reporting any news that comes by a journalist. Companies involved in discussions should be the ones showing discretion when they are involved in deals. Haven’t leaks killed deals before?

  4. Not sure why everyone is in a huff about NBC publishing the videos. If you don’t want to watch them, just ignore them. It would be different if they put them on the 6:00 news and forced you to sit through it, but you do have a choice online – use it.

    I’m all for reporting any news that comes by a journalist. Companies involved in discussions should be the ones showing discretion when they are involved in deals. Haven’t leaks killed deals before?

  5. Robert: I hear what you are saying. I don’t know how the individuals communicated the information or under what context or condition of privacy. I’m not suggesting that Om isn’t documenting his sources well, he always does. But saying he has an obligation to publish it, that might be a stretch.

    NBC used a somewhat similar argument about an obligation to publish information in the past 24 hours and it got told loudly that they were wrong.

    While I sincerely hope the above scenario never comes to pass, only time will tell how it’s perceived if it were to occur…

  6. Robert: I hear what you are saying. I don’t know how the individuals communicated the information or under what context or condition of privacy. I’m not suggesting that Om isn’t documenting his sources well, he always does. But saying he has an obligation to publish it, that might be a stretch.

    NBC used a somewhat similar argument about an obligation to publish information in the past 24 hours and it got told loudly that they were wrong.

    While I sincerely hope the above scenario never comes to pass, only time will tell how it’s perceived if it were to occur…

  7. >I believe the blogsphere should be living a higher standard on this information as the potential exists for blogs to be blamed as the cause of such an event.

    I TOTALLY disagree. Om is a trained journalist (he worked at Business 2.0, among other places) and if he has information he needs to publish it. That’s his responsibility. If eBay or other corporate employees don’t want their company to be blamed for insider trading or other infractions they should keep quiet. The responsibility is TOTALLY on them, not on the journalist. Sorry.

  8. >I believe the blogsphere should be living a higher standard on this information as the potential exists for blogs to be blamed as the cause of such an event.

    I TOTALLY disagree. Om is a trained journalist (he worked at Business 2.0, among other places) and if he has information he needs to publish it. That’s his responsibility. If eBay or other corporate employees don’t want their company to be blamed for insider trading or other infractions they should keep quiet. The responsibility is TOTALLY on them, not on the journalist. Sorry.

  9. Anytime you have a large (millions of people) audience that’s highly engaged (like Stumbleupon has) that will prove to be of high worth.

    Ask yourself: why does Google keep reporting record profits? Same reason that Stumbleupon has value.

  10. Anytime you have a large (millions of people) audience that’s highly engaged (like Stumbleupon has) that will prove to be of high worth.

    Ask yourself: why does Google keep reporting record profits? Same reason that Stumbleupon has value.

  11. Andy: eBay is a very community driven company. I’ll bet they see some adaptation of Stumble Upon to build a new kind of store. Imagine a new StubleUponStore where you get brought cool eBay items. That’d be a sizeable revenue increasing device for eBay.

  12. Andy: eBay is a very community driven company. I’ll bet they see some adaptation of Stumble Upon to build a new kind of store. Imagine a new StubleUponStore where you get brought cool eBay items. That’d be a sizeable revenue increasing device for eBay.

  13. Robert: That’s great that Om has “five sources”. Just one problem though. Last time I checked Ebay is public compan that should be publically silent on pending acquisitions prior announcing them. It creates an environment where accusations of inside information and/or insider trading could be made (in this case on EBAY).

    I believe the blogsphere should be living a higher standard on this information as the potential exists for blogs to be blamed as the cause of such an event. Of course we both know people who write blogs would be the cause. That is quite preventable. If Om has “five sources”, that is itself a problem.

  14. Robert: That’s great that Om has “five sources”. Just one problem though. Last time I checked Ebay is public compan that should be publically silent on pending acquisitions prior announcing them. It creates an environment where accusations of inside information and/or insider trading could be made (in this case on EBAY).

    I believe the blogsphere should be living a higher standard on this information as the potential exists for blogs to be blamed as the cause of such an event. Of course we both know people who write blogs would be the cause. That is quite preventable. If Om has “five sources”, that is itself a problem.

  15. I don’t want to give the impression I think it’s an invaluable product/service. I’m just saying I don’t think it’s worth that much. Granted I am playing Devil’s Advocate with this point but – how do they make money? I hate to play the old school card but how did we get back to the point where valuation is not a product of tangible, fundamental aspects of business like profit and loss?

    Although the community creates great value I don’t think it warrants a $40 million price tag. I guess the rate is going up for lots of eyeballs.

    I will say though I do like the service, I’ve used the product. It creates something I have been finding more and more valuable in the ever increasing amount of noise – a human filter.

    I still don’t get why eBay wants it. It’d be pretty funny if was just out of spite for Google.

  16. I don’t want to give the impression I think it’s an invaluable product/service. I’m just saying I don’t think it’s worth that much. Granted I am playing Devil’s Advocate with this point but – how do they make money? I hate to play the old school card but how did we get back to the point where valuation is not a product of tangible, fundamental aspects of business like profit and loss?

    Although the community creates great value I don’t think it warrants a $40 million price tag. I guess the rate is going up for lots of eyeballs.

    I will say though I do like the service, I’ve used the product. It creates something I have been finding more and more valuable in the ever increasing amount of noise – a human filter.

    I still don’t get why eBay wants it. It’d be pretty funny if was just out of spite for Google.

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