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eBay makes another baffling buy

StumbleUpon snapped up

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Online auction house eBay has confirmed it has bought StumbleUpon, the website which offers user-created reviews and recommendations of other websites.

eBay is paying about $75m for the site which claims 2.3 million regular users. The push behind the deal seems to be that Web 2.0 doozy "community".

Michael Buhr, senior director at eBay, said in a release: "StumbleUpon is a great fit within our goal of pioneering new communities based on commerce and sustained by trust. StumbleUpon's downloadable toolbar provides an engaging and unique experience to its users, but it is the similarities in our approaches to the concept of community that make it such a compelling addition to eBay."

Buhr becomes general manager of StumbleUpon. The company's founders will remain in their current jobs. eBay does not expect the deal to have any impact on earnings.

The StumbleUpon blog reassures users that it is remaining independent and thanks them for their support.

One StumbleUpon user, perhaps showing the risks of corporations trying to tame user-generated content, commented: "I don't like eBay much but I guess it's better than Google, AOL, or even Yahoo! getting their grubby little paws on SU.nah, they all suck."

Other comments ranged from congratulations to the founders, to "there goes the neighbourhood". Several users questioned what the two companies had in common, with some pointing to the purchase of Skype as an example of eBay buying a company but not effectively integrating it into eBay.

Another commented: "I'm nonplussed. I'm not a huge fan of Ebay. I don't see how Ebay and SU have anything to do with each other. The CLOSEST I can come is saying 'both sites let the users do most of the content creation'...but one is strictly commerce while SU is....well...what the f#ck is SU anyway?"

eBay's press release is here.

StumbleUpon.com can be found here. ®

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