Will ebay Wreck StumbleUpon?

suVia techCrunch: eBay announced a cash acquisition today valued at $75 million for the purchase the social community site StumbleUpon. eBay indicated that StumbleUpon will further their “goal of pioneering new communities based on commerce and sustained by trust.” eBay is installing Michael Buhr (requires login) as general manager for the product and they intend to take a hands-off approach at first. SU has been growing exponentially. With over 2.3 million registered users and 5 million recommendations served daily, they have clocked 150% year over year growth.

Community Based Business?
What exactly IS “community based commerce” anyway? StumbleUpon is exactly the opposite at present. Oh, plenty of smart marketing folks drive plenty of traffic from SU but the approach is usually very civilized. The selling that does go on is either very subtle or gets buried by bloggers. Does ebay expect top stumblers to suddenly become brand evangelists committed to selling products for ebay commissions?

What might that look like? When ebay takes the gloves off will we be looking at contextually generated ads served in profiles, affiliate ads on category pages, and video advertising next to tag clouds?

Do I WANT ebay to Know My Habits?
How will blended ebay shopping data and SU content habits be merged and exploited? Will SU, which is almost completely free of successful junk spammers, become a MySpace-like hangout where users are solicited by whores and spammers? Will ebay read my messages to SU friends for later use?

Of course the elephant in the room is the question of how harvested personal data will be applied to grease the ebay marketing machine? Will my profile come back to haunt me when Ebay generates the price for that book I want to buy because they know I am more susceptible to pay more by my habits and interests?

Time will Tell
I am an avid SU user and fan. I admit, I use SU to drive traffic for AIMCLEAR‘s clients but the method is by bookmarking quality content-not ecommerce crap. Yesterday a StumbleUpon post published on AIMCLEARBlog (which proved prescient) drove thousands of unique visitors in 6 hours-most of them from SU. I’m interested in what stumbler’s have to say about this. Will ebay wreck StumbleUpon? Here are a few buzz posts from the blogoshpere on today’s SU news.

We also want you to know that not much will change around here. We’ll be running StumbleUpon separately within eBay Inc., and we’ll still be focused on developing features based on your feedback….

eBay Confirms $75M StumbleUpon Acquisition
Marketing Pilgrim

eBay gets a new baby StumbleUpon
eBay gets a new baby – StumbleUpon by Chris Dawson

eBay acquires StumbleUpon for $75 million
eBay acquires StumbleUpon for $75 million By Cristina Ledesma

eBay confirms StumbleUpon acquisition
In an acquisition announcement-heavy day, the auction giant reports it has coughed up $75 million for the “discovery” service.

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