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eBay’s Forays Into Media

Posted on Wednesday, Apr 18th 2007

eBay announced earnings. Skype numbers aren’t great, certainly not enough to justify the price they paid for it. Today, however, it looks like they’re acquiring Stumbleupon. Why?

Stumbleupon is a very popular “discovery” engine, which helps users find what they would like via collective intelligence. There is always an element of surprise, and I have often found charming things by using the service. eBay is about to pay ~$45 Million for the company.

The StumbleUpon site says they have 2.1 million users, up from 1.7 million in December 2006. 4+ million sites are “stumbled” daily. Comscore says StumbleUpon had 6 million U.S. page views in March, doubling from the prior month. Unique visitors continue to rise dramatically: 900,000 in March, which is a 3x rise over the last year.

These are great numbers, and if not for anything else, offers eBay an outlet for its massive advertising budget for acquiring customers. Today, that budget goes to Yahoo and Google, as well as numerous other media properties.

I will not be surprised at all if eBay goes shopping for a few synergistic media properties that can absorb some of this budget, and check the leakage. Here are some that I would recommend for eBay to pick up:

* : Entrepreneur Magazine’s site that has a very strong readership among entrepreneurs and wannabes, a very likely audience for eBay to access their next series of Power Sellers through.

* Auction Bytes : Ina Steiner has created a popular newsletter with tips for eBay Buyers and Sellers. Has a very nice Alexa ranking, and an extremely targeted audience.

For a long time, I have believed that eBay should have spent money on advertising venue oriented companies, and thought that the Skype acquisition was a stupid move. Only now, it seems to me that eBay’s leadership is coming to the same conclusion!

And if you push that logic further, we get back to the same conclusion that I was at earlier on: YahooBAY.

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I personally think Skype will have a larger impact on Paypal than on eBay.

will Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 1:21 PM PT

I would love it if Ina and David of Auctionbytes were to be rewarded for their hard work.

I agree with you that a merger of Yahoo and eBay seems to be the most logical move. With Yahoo’s valuation declining, now might be the time. I think I like EHOO better than YahooBay though.

Randy Smythe Friday, April 20, 2007 at 10:24 AM PT

Skype is not meshed with eBay well at all and eBay seems to find it somewhay unwelcome.

Paypal and Skype ok , but eBay itself has not embraced Skype ,pathetic considering the price they paid for it

Chairman Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 4:43 AM PT

[…] StumbleUpon acquisition is done. I wrote about it, in eBay’s Foray’s into Media. Not much to add on the topic, except that the price has changed. eBay eventually ended up […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » eBay's Next Few Acquisitions Friday, June 8, 2007 at 7:29 AM PT