I don’t remember exactly when but it was sometime in the mid-2000s when I stumbled upon StumbleUpon, no pun intended.
StumbleUpon was one of the forerunners in the content discovery business. Garrett Camp, a grad student at the University of Calgary, along with a couple of his friends, created StumbleUpon in November 2001.
The other know content discovery engines like Digg, Delicious (now defunct), Reddit came in 2-3 years later.
After almost 17 years of being in business, StumbleUpon (SU) will shut down on 30th June. And I am sad and disappointed.
The end of good addiction
StumbleUpon allowed web users to randomly discover new pages based upon your interests using its ‘Stumble’ button.
Anyone who has ever used StumbleUpon will attest to its addiction factor. And, unlike Candy Crush Saga or Facebook, StumbleUpon’s addiction was a good one.
I discovered some of the best content related to books, exotic locales, movies entrepreneurship and productivity on StumbleUpon.
For photobloggers and the fans, it was pure dope. Heck, I created a whole Pinterest board out of the pictures from the sites StumbleUpon helped me find.
A huge loss for the bloggers
It’s a major loss for bloggers who seek free traffic and consequent ad monetization.
Over the years, SU platform sent thousands of visitors to the publishers’ sites with unique content or visually stunning pages.
The best part was it doesn’t matter when your content was published. If it was good, it would continue to be discovered.
Why it failed?
Look I am not sure. But StumbleUpon wasn’t doing well, financially. It had run into debt.
Ever since its acquisition by eBay in 2007, StumbleUpon has waded through difficult times. Garrett Camp reacquired the company from eBay in 2009, but it hasn’t been a smooth sail for him since.
I am going out on a limb here, but I think its wobbly advertising model also led to the downfall. If you ever opted for the paid advertising on the StumbleUpon platform, you’d know it gave a poor ROI more times than not.
From my own experience, I can tell you that compared to Facebook which does a wonderful job of narrowing down your audience, StumbleUpon’s algorithms were quite unimaginative.
Going forward, Camp will be taking the lessons learned while building StumbleUpon to further his new discovery platform at Mix.com.
Existing StumbleUpon accounts will be transitioned to Mix ahead of the June 30 deadline.
I can’t say how mix.com will turn out. But until June 30th, StumbleUpon will remain my favourite way to do something productive on social media.