Stumbleupon.com, a Good Find

January 11th, 2007 at 12:00 am
 


Recent news have placed StumbleUpon.com as one of the premiere social bookmarking site in the web. Having more than 1.3 million registered users, the site outnumbered its closest competitor, and previously number one, del.icio.us by more or less 300,000 users. The news came as a surprise to many especially when del.icio.us has always been considered the first choice when it comes to web bookmarking and tagging. What made StumbleUpon.com a leader among social bookmarking in the web? Let us examine how the website works and we might just get the answer we’re looking for.

In an interview, stumble upon co-founder and Chief Architect Garrett Camp said that their site is more focused on “personalized content discovery” unlike de.licio.us which is centered only on organizing information. Indeed that latter website seems to be more concentrated on storing, categorizing and sharing websites and files. Personally, I like StumbleUpon better because it’s simple and is quite enjoyable to use.

When you sign up to StumbleUpon, you are brought to a page where you choose from a list of topics website that you like. StumbleUpone will then automatically group you with existing users that have the same interests. You can send these users emails or share with them websites and vice versa.

There are a lot of groups where you could join. Looking at it closely, the website has functions similar to online forums and blogs. StumbleUpon appears to be more than just a bookmarking site, it is an online community where people that have the same interests can gather and talk. The site encourages users to browse each other’s profiles. There are no restrictions or prohibitions when accessing profile information of other site members. Because of this, meeting people with common interests have become a lot easier and freer.

But for me, the most interesting thing about the site is the little button on the toolbar named “Stumble.” When you click this button you’ll get a website match. The results of which is dependent on the personal preferences that you have chosen earlier. Preferences can be changed or updated anytime. There’s a quiver of excitement each time I click the Stumble button. Not knowing what website would come up next is something to look forward to. So far most of the websites I stumbled upon have images and/or contents that are extremely compelling, interesting and/or very entertaining. Now I know why some people said pressing the Stumble button could be addicting.

Another great thing about StumbleUpon is the fact that it is free. Although, I haven’t fully checked how true it is, but in the website’s homepage it says: guaranteed free form adware or spyware programs. The website gets my vote for that piece of feature alone.

Aside from the “Stumble” button, another icon, actually two icons in the StumbleUpon toolbar seems to be quite useful. These are the “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” buttons. Whenever you find a page you like, you could click the “thumbs up” button and it will send a feedback directly to the website. StumbleUpon then will group you with other people that have the same preferences. When you use the “stumble” button later on, you could choose the pages preferred by people who belong to the same cluster as you.

After del.icio.us, other social bookmarking websites that enjoy considerable memberships include wobblog, blinklist, shadows, clipmarks, Simpy and Furl. However, in my opinion none of them really come close to StumbleUpon in terms of simplicity, functionality, appeal and entertainment value.

Webblog.com is website dedicated on the collection “intelligent” stories that appear in various websites including, and especially, blogs. News are categorized into blogosphere, design, entertainment, gadgets, news, podcast, science and technology.

Blinklist.com is much similar to del.icio.us and StumbleUpon. It is a bookmarking tagging site designed to keep track of the sites that you’ve earlier visited and make sure that you’ll be able to find them again. The site also have easy sharing mechanisms and has an online community where you could meet new people as well as experts and more. The site looks decent enough, although i find it too cumbersome to use. But that’s just me.

Again another true bookmarking site, Shadows.com claims to be a very powerful website where one can discover and collect great web pages, bookmark them online, share them to other and learn from fellow members as well. It has a “Collect” button which is similar to “Stumble” in that it gathers different website links from the Internet. The term “collect” is not as “cool” as the term “stumble” though.

At first glance, the site seems to be a personal blog site. The colors are too trendy for my taste as well as the homepage’s layout. Clipmarks.com creates clips or highlights of news found all over the web. It categorizes articles into five major divisions, each one further subdivided into topics. The aim of the site is to get as much updated news as possible and present them in as few words possible. The site is more for people on the go, people who have less time to read lengthy articles and would settle for just headlines and news snippets. It is a social bookmarking site but with different audience in mind unlike those of StumbleUpon.com.

The site is too cramped with information. The homepage has little breathing space. Simpy.com is a social bookmarking service which gives the usual services like saving, bookmarking and tagging websites and sharing them with other people.