I woke up this morning (U.K. time) to a barrage of blog posts on the possible acquisition of StumbleUpon by eBay, the most popular appearing to be from TechCrunch, GigaOm and Mashable. Some of these posts suggest plausible reasons for the acquisition but none that I find compelling.
The only thing that makes sense to me and one which I haven’t read anyone mention as yet is that perhaps eBay wants to develop an eBay/StumbleUpon widget that publishers can use to monetise their sites. So, as a publisher you install the widget and it displays eBay listings that are relevant to your webpage and to the stumbler’s stated StumbleUpon interests. The publisher gets a cut of any sales made from their site and is perhaps able to configure the widget to show only BuyItNow items or auction items as well. Perhaps the publisher’s cut increases as a page/site rises in the stumbling ranks.
With the above model stumblers still only recommend sites or videos that they find interesting or particularly insightful, which is what is great about StumbleUpon. This is as opposed to the theory put forward yesterday by many bloggers that eBay wants to enable us to recommend products bought on eBay - a model which in my opinion is unlikely to get any real traction. Think about it, whilst you may well shout about a product you bought on say Amazon because it was a bargain, how likely are you to do so about one from eBay, knowing that the item and/or the price you won it at was probably a one-off?