Stumble the Web with StumbleUpon

By KYLI SINGH

Interested in sharing a Web site you created with others? Or looking for ideas to write about? Or how about browsing the Web to kill time?

Take a look StumbleUpon! Founded in 2001 by four post-grad students, this discovery engine became successful in a short amount of time. In 2007, eBay bought it for $75 million. Today, the original owners and other investors own this unique, popular Web site.

StumbleUpon is “a discovery engine that finds the best of the Web, recommended just for you.” It’s free and all you have to do is create a user name. Once you create a username, you’ll see a list of topics and can check off which ones interest you the most. For example, just a few days ago I created a StumbleUpon account and checked off interests such as writing, photography, literature, and art.

From photography to animals to shopping to relationships to writing, StumbleUpon has a huge variety of interest topics for you to choose from. There is bound to be something on that list that will catch your eye.

Using an automated process combining human opinions and technology that learns from your personal preferences, StumbleUpon will show you random sites on the topics you had checked off.

Because I had chosen “writing” as one of my interests, a free online book library for students called Read Print popped up. I browsed this Web site for awhile and found it extremely useful. If I didn’t use StumbleUpon, I would have never “stumbled” across the Web site.

Users, also called “Stumblers,” can rate a site by giving it a thumbs down or thumbs up on the Stumble toolbar that appears on top of each site. Not only can you rate it, but you can also leave comments on the site’s review page. Machines recognize what Web content is liked and disliked, and it is shared with other users. In short, the more “thumbs up” a site gets, the more likely that site content will be recommended to someone else. Once you’re sick of the Web site and want to see something new, just click “Stumble!” in the top right hand corner on the StumbleUpon tool bar.

Additionally, StumbleUpon is an ideal way for your Web site to get exposure and become noticed by other people. Many people add their Web site to the StumbleUpon database to increase their Web site traffic and to get the world out there about their site. Another aspect of Stumble is that you can read people’s blogs and join groups, forums, and discussion boards that interest you the most.

The best part about this Web site is that it can be used for both leisure purposes and educational purposes. It is great source to find sites that you would have otherwise not found.

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