Don't call it a comeback, but social discovery engine StumbleUpon claims to be experiencing some very positive results since relaunching its ad platform in March. EBay famously acquired StumbleUpon in 2007 for $75 million, and then sold it back to the company's founders in mid-2009. Garrett Camp, one of StumbleUpon's original founders and its CEO, says the company has experienced a 20% growth in advertisers since the March relaunch.
Now, "we're able to match each sponsored page to the users most likely to enjoy it by taking into account their expressed preferences as well as the interest-level relationships between them and other users," explains Camp.
According to Camp, the company's year-over-year ad inclusion rate has doubled, while its number of daily active advertisers has increased approximately 30%.
"This personalized approach results in over 70 percent of paid placements receiving a positive endorsement -- which we call a 'thumb-up' -- by its viewers.
Among its nearly 2,000 monthly customers, personal finance service Mint.com has been using StumbleUpon ads since 2008.
In addition, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board partnered with StumbleUpon to target potential customers and increase the "virality" of their campaigns. The board chose StumbleUpon's ad platform to promote its consumer site, GrilledCheeseAcademy.com.
Within two months, the site attracted 176,000 Web site views through StumbleUpon, with an average time-on-site of three minutes for a total of 8,800 hours of engagement.
Its time under eBay was by no means a disaster. During that time, StumbleUpon grew from 2.3 million to more than 7.4 million members, and from about 150 million recommendations per month to 425 million. In the same period, the number of advertisers grew from a few hundred to about 20,000.
Still, in March of last year, co-founders Camp and Geoff Smith acquired the company from ebay with the help of Sherpalo Ventures, Accel Partners and August Capital.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated "Garrett Camp, one of StumbleUpon's original founders and its CEO, says the company has experienced a 20% growth in its number of users since the March relaunch." Camp was referring to the number of advertisers. This has been corrected.