AskDefine | Define stumbling

Dictionary Definition

stumbling adj : walking unsteadily; "a stqaggering gait" [syn: lurching, staggering, weaving]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of stumble

Extensive Definition

StumbleUpon is a Web browser plugin that allows its users to discover and rate Web pages, photos, and videos. Web pages are presented when the user clicks the "Stumble!" button on the browser's toolbar. StumbleUpon chooses which new Web page to display based on the user's ratings of previous pages, ratings by his/her friends, and by the ratings of users with similar interests. I.e., it is a recommendation system which uses peer and social-networking principles. There is also one-click blogging built in as well. Users can rate, or choose not to rate, any Web page with a thumbs up or thumbs down, and clicking the Stumble button resembles "channel-surfing" the Web. Toolbar versions exist for Firefox, Mozilla Application Suite and Internet Explorer, but also works with some independent Mozilla-based browsers.
eBay acquired StumbleUpon in May of 2007 for $75,000,000(75 million) USD.


StumbleUpon was founded by Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, Justin LaFrance, and Eric Boyd during Garrett's time in post-graduate school (in Calgary, Alberta, Canada). The idea of creating a company was established before the content: of the 5-6 ideas for products, StumbleUpon was chosen. Garrett describes in a BBC interview the moment for him in which he felt the company had really taken off: "When we passed the half a million mark (in registered users), it seemed more real." The popularity of the software attracted Silicon Valley investor Brad O'Neill to take notice of the company and assist with a move to San Francisco, as well as bringing in subsequent fund-raising totaling $1.2 million from other Angel Investors including Ram Shriram (Google), Mitch Kapor (Mozilla Foundation), Josh Kopelman (First Round Capital), and Ron Conway. Garrett Camp and Geoff Smith now reside in San Francisco, where StumbleUpon is headquartered.

Service details

StumbleUpon uses collaborative filtering (an automated process combining human opinions with machine learning of personal preference) to create virtual communities of like-minded Web surfers. Rating Web sites updates a personal profile (a blog-style record of rated sites) and generates peer networks of Web surfers linked by common interest. These social networks coordinate the distribution of Web content, such that users "stumble upon" pages explicitly recommended by friends and peers.
Users rate a site by giving it a thumbs up, thumbs down, or neutral (neither thumbs up or down) selection on the StumbleUpon toolbar, and can optionally leave additional commentary for the site's review page, which also appears on the user's blog. This social-content-discovery approach automates the "word-of-mouth" referral of peer-approved Web sites and simplifies Web navigation.
Stumblers also have the ability to rate and review each others' blogs as well as join interest groups, which are community forums for specific topics. Users can post comments in the manner of a discussion board in these groups and post Web sites that apply to the specific topic.


On December 13, 2006, StumbleUpon launched their StumbleVideo site at The new site allows users without a toolbar to "stumble" through all the videos that toolbar users have submitted and rate them using an AJAX interface. The site currently aggregates videos from YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe, and MySpace Videos.
StumbleUpon launched a version of StumbleVideo for the Internet Channel Web browser that runs on the Wii console on February 12, 2007. This version of StumbleVideo is optimized for the Wii's smaller screen resolution and offers similar functionality to that of the original version.


In April 2007, StumbleUpon launched the StumbleThru service at, allowing users of the toolbar to "stumble through" pages from various sites such as The Onion, Public Broadcasting Service, and Wikipedia. According to the announcement of the feature, StumbleUpon plans on adding additional Web sites in the future.


StumbleUpon uses knowledge of user preferences to deliver targeted advertising. A small proportion of the "stumbles" users come across (typically less than 2%) are sponsored pages matching their topics of interest. For example, those signed up for photography will occasionally see an ad related to photography. Such content is vetted by humans for "quality and relevance" prior to its delivery. A sponsored site is identifiable by a green "person" logo on the toolbar. Paid accounts (referred to as "Sponsors") have a variety of options, including the ability to turn off such advertising.


In July 2006, StumbleUpon had 1 million users. According to the homepage, StumbleUpon has over 5 million members as of April 25th, 2008. Before the end of May 2008, StumbleUpon says that it will have collected its five-billionth "stumble", more than one billion of which have taken place in 2008 alone. In May 2007, StumbleUpon was purchased by eBay. Early reports indicated they were also in talks with Google before the eBay announcement.


stumbling in Arabic: ستامبل أبون
stumbling in German: StumbleUpon
stumbling in Spanish: StumbleUpon
stumbling in French: StumbleUpon
stumbling in Italian: StumbleUpon
stumbling in Russian: StumbleUpon
stumbling in Finnish: StumbleUpon
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