StumbleUpon passed the 25 million user mark earlier this week — that’s about one million users every month since it announced it had reached 20 million users in October.
The discovery service has existed in some form since 2001. It accepted its first round of funding in 2006, was purchased by eBay in 2007 and became independent again in 2009.
At that point, it had about 5.5 million registered users. It’s been growing at a lightning rate since, nearly quadrupling its userbase in three years.
StumbleUpon VP of Business Development and Marketing Marc Leibowitz tells Mashable.
“For all intents and purposes this is a new company since the spin out from eBay. Virtually all of the 120 employees we have today have joined since then [when there were about 30 employees.”
Leibowitz also cites the launch of a web-based service and mobile apps as contributing to StumbleUpon’s post-eBay growth. Previously, StumbleUpon had been available solely through a browser extension, and it didn’t launch its Android and iOS apps until August 2010 — fairly late in the mobile game.
Today, about 20% of the 1.2 billion Stumbles made per month are made on mobile phones.
BranchOut, a startup that builds a LinkedIn-style social network on Facebook, recently reached as many users in about two years as StumbleUpon has in 11 years.
But at its current growth rate, StumbleUpon could be on its way to some major mainstream recognition.
The recommendation engine, by one StatCounter study’s measure, is already responsible for referring more traffic to websites than any other social network in the U.S. It has more than 75,000 advertisers. And its users are active — according to Leibowitz, on average they spend about seven hours every month hitting the Stumble button.
Meanwhile, StumbleUpon has been busy building features that already come with mainstream social networks. A redesign in December added brand channels, which are somewhat equivalent to Facebook brand pages in that they create a profile for marketers separate from personal profiles. About 250 organizations have launched free channels since.
StumbleUpon also plans to launch an API that helps power third-party products’ recommendation features. The company also wants to create international versions of its own discovery engine (only 15% of Stumblers are currently based outside of North America). Meanwhile, you can expect to see more social features.
“I think StumbleUpon is often the source of content that goes viral on other social networks. But I don’t think we’ve done a great job of creating a viral loop. Content is launched into other social networks, but we don’t do a particularly good job of capturing the content around that into StumbleUpon.”
COMMENTARY: I just love StumbleUpon because I have gotten a lot of traffic through them, and my viewership has exploded. I am very impressed with their rapid growth. Thank you so much StumbleUpon.
Courtesy of an article dated April 26, 2012 appearing in Mashable