About a month ago many speculated that StumbleUpon was for sale. EBay is asking for the equivalent of a king’s ransom, rumored to be $75 million. Given that StumbleUpon has revenue in the range of $5 to $7.5 million, the asking price is not completely unreasonable.
There are not many companies that can buy up something for that kind of figure that would be interested in a property like StumbleUpon. Do you really see a major media property, like News Corp, buying StumbleUpon? That is highly unlikely because media companies like to focus traffic on their site, not point people to other sites. It is also different than the case of Digg, Mixx and Reddit, where the aggregation and discussion of content is more important than where the content is located.
So, who could be a potential buyer of StumbleUpon? Several people have wondered about it and a few had settled on Digg as the best bet. Svetlana Gladkova of Profy thinks a Digg and StumbleUpon merger makes sense:
Of course merging the two properties could result in incredible synergy effect where the ultimate destination for web content discovery could be born. What’s more, I can hardly imagine anyone actually managing to beat such a joined social media giant – so we will probably see no “killers” for a while at least.
Merging the two sites does create a significant barrier to entry in the field. Sites like Mixx and Reddit would need even more functionality to compete. Om Malik feels similarly about a Digg acquisition of StumbleUpon:
Despite all the hoopla around social media, only Digg and StumbleUpon have been breakout hits. A combination of the two would create a social media powerhouse that would be hard to beat. With its ability to find and curate some of the most popular online content into various categories, Digg has a presence on the web that few can match. The problem with Digg is that despite its efforts to expand into other verticals (such as politics), it is still too technology-centric. And the most popular stories don’t necessarily mean the best or most relevant content.
I understand what Svetlana and OM are saying, but I am not sure if it makes sense from the community perspective. Digg is very much about aggregating the top content in a particular topic. StumbleUpon is more about discovery of interesting things. It would take some time to really get the communities to converge. So, if a Digg and StumbleUpon merger does not make sense, then who else is likely?
Enter Google. Google has the cash to make a $75 million purchase. They have already expressed interest in getting into the social media field with their abandoned Digg acquisition. They do not already have anything similar in their product suite. Most importantly are the possibilities that arise when a StumbleUpon and Google Reader integration are looked at. Google Reader is quickly becoming the standard of RSS readers. There is already a recommendation feature available, but what if the recommendations came from your StumbleUpon profile and the social connections there? Blog discovery would almost be too easy. StumbleUpon gets the integration of RSS as well. Think about when you stumble. Often someone has stumbled a particular page on a site. What if a recommendation popped up that stated the RSS feed for this site’s blog is similar to other blogs you read and several of your favorite stumblers also read the blog?
The other benefit from this acquisition would be the fact that Google would not need to do anything right away. They could purchase the property and leave it on autopilot for a while, not changing anything. StumbleUpon could remain a fairly independent entity while the integration is worked out, and Google gets some more revenue. I can not find any reasons for Google not to do this. It just seems to work and make too much sense.
Do you think Google Stumble is a good idea?