Posting a link to share on Facebook is as commonplace as updating a status, a function of the social network that has made it the highest source of web traffic. But as of July, Facebook has been surpassed by the information discovery engine (and work procrastination tool) known as StumbleUpon. A site founded in 2001, StumbleUpon has been slowly increasing its footprint as the dominate means of sharing on the internet. This current foothold may be linked to the recent plateau of users on Facebook or the seemingly stagnant development of Twitter, allowing StumbleUpon to develop traction against its biggest competitors. While these things are important to note, they are by no means a detraction from what StumbleUpon has been able to accomplish, which can be credited to a revitalized corporate strategy.
Stumbling By Accident; Stumbling On Purpose
While the primary method and function of StumbleUpon has been allowing users the ability to set preferences that indicate where they stumble, the company has also looked into monetizing itself by introducing a revenue model known as “paid stumbles.” Exactly as it implies, paid stumbles allow for advertisers and brands to pay StumbleUpon for introducing their site to its users.
By taking advantage of user preferences, StumbleUpon is able to effectively target a given audience and introduce sites that are paid for and relevant to a user’s interests, without distinguishing between the two. This allows for brands to get their content in front of users who are likely to be interested in it without them knowing that the content was paid for (read: an advertisement).
New Opportunities Abound?
So while some may bemoan the emergence of another social media powerhouse, others, like ourselves, think innovation like this not only stands to make offerings from competing sites that much better, but also opens a limitless world of opportunities for integration.
What do you think? Does the emergence of StumbleUpon prove that the web is more than a one stop Facebook shop, or is it merely a passing trend?