Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

StumbleUpon: Recommend Rated Websites to Friends

The recent addition of several new authors to the MasterNewMedia team urges us to look for research tools that allow us to:

  1. locate relevant hot tools and articles,
  2. take meaningful snapshots,
  3. archive, annotate and compile hyperlinks,
  4. report and share the results, and ultimately,
  5. assign and request tasks.

Although most of the cool tools out there are pretty much over-blogged already, like Onfolio, Furl, and Net Snippets, I still added them to my personal investigation list because it seems we may need to use several of them concurrently to get all of our requirements met.

The evaluation process will help us reach consensus about our future collaboration strategy.



Unexpectedly a friend of mine gave me a push in the right direction. I often notify close friends of mine of websites that seem either hot, generally interesting or particularly relevant to their field of specialization, the old "hey, did you see this cool page ....". It's a very rewarding thing to do. But until my young friend and talented web developer Gary King pointed me to StumbleUpon earlier this week, I never knew there was an automated way of doing just what I enjoy most: sophisticatedly show my peers websites that I consider worth visiting.


StumbleUpon is a spywareless browser toolbar that allows you to rate any website that you visit with a single button press: a thumbs up "I like it!" or a thumbs down "Not-for-me". The Stumble! button opens a possibly relevant website, a so-called Stumble, in concordance with your profile and with your history of past ratings. Of course the rating process may be repeated with this recommended website.


The more often you rate, the better the system will get to know your preferences. If you are the first person to rate a website, StumbleUpon offers you a dialog box to submit a one-line comment on that website.


The nice thing about StumbleUpon is that it doesn't just connect you to related websites, but also to 'real' people sharing the same interests. Similar to social networking software you can look for existing friends on the StumbleUpon network or browse through the personal pages of other, like-minded Stumblers. You may leave comments (public) or send a message to someone (private). On my personal Stumbler page, for example, you may peek at my picture, see who my friends are, read what topics I'm interested in and even rss-subscribe to my ratings, to the comments and to other page changes.

When you download StumbleUpon, your current computer configuration settings comfortably determine which version is being retrieved; supported operating systems are Windows, Macintosh and Linux. There are versions for Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla and for Firefox.

StumbleUpon has a free and a paid version. More about the paid version in a second. I decided to first experiment with the free service for a while. There's a simple sign-up procedure to compose your profile from hundreds of clearly categorized topics. The more details you provide about the topics that interest you during profile setup, the better the recommendation service works. I particularly like StumbleUpon because I get to see wonderful, highly relevant websites I never would have found by a regular keyword-based query.

The $10/yr sponsors upgrade version basically removes sponsored stumbles and has some features whose fancy names challenge my imagination, like "Stumble Buzz!" and "Comment Follow-Up". Please use this article's comment section if you are able to explain in clear English what these features are. It would help us decide if it's worth spending our money.

Relevant Articles
Stumble your way around the web by Trevor Gosbell in Tech Themes October 3, 2004
Unofficial StumbleUpon FAQ by Joe Walp and The Prawn, October 8th, 2004
StumbleUpon: The Alexa That Could Have Been by Peter Caputa in pc4media May 5, 2004

Readers' Comments    
2004-10-26 19:07:03


Didn't you mean to link to stumleUPON rather than stumBLER? ?

I donated ten bucks a year or so back, just because the idea and the tool was cool. Never really looked at any of the features I get with it (if indeed I did, back then)

posted by Marjolein Hoekstra on Wednesday, October 13 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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