Social discovery site, StumbleUpon is not the most hyped or talked-about site in the social medium. Yet, it has reportedly accumulated over 7 million users, making it almost 50% larger than the much-hyped Twitter.
StumbleUpon helps users discover websites about subjects they are interested in. Users select topics of interest and install the StumbleUpon toolbar in their browsers. Clicking on the ‘Stumble’ button brings up websites that are popular with other users who have the same interests. The user can then vote via the thumbs up or a thumbs down button for that page or can leave the page by hitting the Stumble button again.
Using the StumbleUpon service repeatedly allows the algorithm to profile the user’s likes and areas of interest for future reference, and refer the user to sites that are more likely to be of interest when the user hits the Stumble button again.
StumbleUpon probably gathered a substantial number of new users in the last few months after they added a new feature by which users no longer need to install a special toolbar in the web browser, but can access the service directly through the StumbleUpon.com site.
What is particularly noteworthy and remarkable is that StumbleUpon has achieved so much popularity without promotion of any kind. They don’t seem to rely on a hype-riddled PR machine like Twitter and Digg do, and unlike those two social services, StumbleUpon has a good revenue generation model.
Advertisers can select categories and user profiles they want to target and then direct a lot of traffic to their website via sponsored Stumbles. Advertising on StumbleUpon is similar in many respects to the pay per click ad model, but is in many other ways a truly revolution social ad concept.
It has been estimated that StumbleUpon is making about $10 million a year, unlike Twitter, which is still struggling to identify a revenue model by which it can support itself.
This revenue is likely to make the company profitable and adds to the profits of parent company, eBay, which bought StumbleUpon in April 2007 for $75 million, when Stumble upon had only 2 million users.