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Either the new StumbleUpon web-bar is busted, or everyone is misreporting a simple advertisement as the new hot feature…

So, I saw this post this morning, noting that StumbleUpon is doing this new thing where you don’t need the toolbar. Except, I cannot find any evidence of this anywhere on StumbleUpon’s actual site, which still prominently says “Get the StumbleUpon Toolbar” and still says “Join and Download Now” when you are signing up for a new account.

Also, when I tried actually using this brand new feature on the site, it was clear that it was faking it and that it right now is just an advertisement for StumbleUpon. Maybe they are planning on going toolbar-less, but right now there is no way to sync the Stumbling you do using the web-bar (which in the URL is listed as /demo/) and it doesn’t recognize you even if you are logged in already as I was. Here’s some pictures to illustrate:

StumbleUpon advertisement pretends it is a functional web-bar

StumbleUpon advertisement pretends it is a functional web-bar

Notice that I'm logged in and the bar is oblivious to that fact

Notice that I'm logged in and the bar is oblivious to that fact

I mean, granted, StumbleUpon *could* be getting totally hammered as a result of this announcement and the web-bar is malfunctioning, but to me it looks like a couple of bloggers fell for a marketing pitch and mistook it for a new hot feature, thought they saw something they didn’t, didn’t really investigate thoroughly, and totally misreported what’s really going on. Take note that the last blog post on the official StumbleUpon blog is dated September 19th, talks about friends in StumbleUpon, and features a nice screenshot of the same old toolbar. That should be a strong hint.

UPDATE: By the looks of TechMeme, a lot of people got this story wrong by doing the “me too” thing.

‘NOTHER UPDATE: I was chatting with David Chartier who wrote up this post at Ars about the story. He says that StumbleUpon PR is saying that eventually they will have a javascript toolbar so you won’t need the extension, BUT the current javascript toolbar doesn’t really function as anything other than a tour of the service. So, right now, it’s just an ad that ends in registration and download of the toolbar when you click SAVE NOW. If you don’t click SAVE NOW, then you had some fun but your ratings most likely disappeared into the ether. That’s the detail I’m seeing missing from a lot of the news about this.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David Chartier 10/1/2008, 3:30 pm

    Turns out this feature is only visible to brand new users to the site. If you log out, you’ll see a different StumbleUpon homepage, and scroll down to find an orange “start stumbling now” button that offers a sort of basic introductory StumbleUpon toolbar in any browser via javascript.

    I explain more here in my runthrough of what the new features are and what they mean:


    This javascript toolbar is going to get built further in the coming months so all users, new and registered, can use it from any computer. This will also liberate users from proprietary browser extensions since it’ll basically be a javascript-y bookmarklet.

  • c.k. 10/1/2008, 3:37 pm

    Yes, I tried doing it logged out and saw the new interface. But in that scenario nothing saves until you click the SAVE NOW button on the right and that takes you to the… sign up and download! So it’s all driving people to the toolbar. You say in your write up “In the coming months, StumbleUpon plans to introduce a similar tool for registered users so they can Stumble from any computer without installing the browser extension. Along with this tool, a redesign for the rest of the site will focus on user profiles and site navigation, as well as the rating and commenting systems. ” Where are you getting that info from? I’m not finding a direct source referenced everywhere, which I think means it is all rumoring.

  • Wise Startup Blog 2/20/2009, 9:49 am

    stumble is really an amazing source of, guaranteed you know how to use it

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