eBay plans to buy StumbleUpon according to Om, who asks if eBay might want to integrate StumbleUpon search-like technology into the Skype client. I think it’s the other way around. StumbleUpon is the distribution point.
A few points to consider:
- Browser toolbars are becoming an increasingly large source of search traffic for Google and for Yahoo!.
- They hold insanely good real estate from a UI perspective.
- People’s natural inclination is to search while browsing, and browse while searching. Searching from within a web browser is super fast and super gratifying. A desktop client doesn’t have a role in this tendency. Anyway you slice it, using a desktop client to launch a web page will always be a worse user experience.
- It’s a better strategy to integrate skype into the toolbar itself. This will help facilitate click-to-call while web browsing.
- eBay has grander consumer media ambitions beyond Skype, and securing toolbar real estate will be key to distributing and integrating other services (the other major portals all have mastered this, and eBay is definitely thinking big).
- Did I mention how freakin’ valuable the toolbar real estate is? The toolbar is the remote control of the web.
Sure eBay is getting an alternative search product, but I think more important than that, they’re securing a proven distribution point for all of their services.