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StumbleUpon is one of the world's leading Social Bookmarking services and differentiates its offerings from competitors' by providing a "Discovery Engine" on top of the basic link submission system common to most Web 2.0 Social Bookmarking and link sharing services. The user interface for the "Discovery" engine is a small "toolbar" type layout that takes up roughly the top 10% of a user's screen, and has information about the item below including:

  • Previous (Last viewed Stumble)
  • STUMBLE (i.e. Next button, pulls up a new Stumbled item)
  • Thumbs Up/Down rating system
  • Overall rating info (total number of ratings by all users, +/- score, who has "Liked" the item)
  • Title
  • Category (to drill down on next Stumble)
  • Search box (to filter by a specific keyword or phrase, before the next Stumble)
  • HOME icon (to go back to your main StumbleUpon user profile page)
  • X (i.e. Close button, to view the currently Stumbled item directly, outside of the StumbleUpon chrome/toolbar)


Click "Next" in particular exposes the core automatic Information Retrieval feature (called "stumbling" within this context), where users are randomly or algorithmically (based on user profile and interests) shown individual sites, videos, articles, images, etc...

StumbleUpon has always had a strong focus on showing users content that might be related to their previous viewing history, as well as their preferences and the interests of friends in their immediate social network.

StumbleUpon API

So far there is only a basic API for submitting a new site/audio/video for stumbling consideration, and, a Badge API for displaying a given user's stumbles:

As yet there is no official API to cover the common use cases of getting and creating likes/dislikes, stumbling to a new site/audio/video, etc; however a number of developers have hacked and scrapped content successfully. For example:

StumbleUpon WitchHunt

In 2008, StumbleUpon began experiencing (arguably, financial) difficulties, and as a result its administrators began banning certain user accounts who posted a higher percentage of self-interested links, sites and media than seemingly random or third party "discovered content". The gauge or mechanism for doing so was unclear, which lead to substantial user backlash.

[2] [3]


On May 30, 2007[4] eBay announced[5] that they would acquire StumbleUpon for $75 million USD[6] and keep the service running largely undisturbed, but of course through the acquisition reserved the right to fold their Discovery Engine into their other services and to also cross-promote their properties through StumbleUpon[7]. This lead to much speculation of a Shopping Comparison service being in the works, which was indeed launched as the eBay DealFinder.


External Links


  1. StumbleUpon - revamped toolbar explained:
  2. The StumbleUpon Witch Hunt:
  3. StumbleUpon Banned Me:
  4. eBay Acquires StumbleUpon:
  5. eBay to announce StumbleUpon buy today:
  6. eBay's StumbleUpon Acquisition - Confirmed at $75 Million:
  7. Why eBay wants Stumbleupon:

See Also

Recommendation Engine