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eBay Buys Web Recommender StumbleUpon

Online auction site eBay is once again expanding its portfolio of online properties, this time announcing it is purchasing community-driven Web site recommendation service StumbleUpon for about $75 million.

Founded by in Calgary by three Canadian software developers but currently based in San Francisco, StumbleUpon is built around the idea that instead of searching for interesting Web sites in a brute-force manner using a traditional search engine, users can have interesting sites recommended to them based on their personal preferences and the types of sites enjoyed by other people with similar likes and dislikes. StumbleUpon users rate site they come across, and can see lists of sites that have been recommended by fellow “stumblers.” StumbleUpon currently claims about 2.3 million users, and currently offers its users about 5 million site recommendations a day.

“StumbleUpon is a great fit within our goal of pioneering new communities based on commerce and sustained by trust,” said eBay senior director Michael Buhr, in a release. “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.”

StumbleUpon’s founders and managers will become eBay employees, although they will remain in their current positions. eBay’s Michael Buhr will become StumbleUpon’s general manager effective immediately.

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