Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stumbleupon doesn't want to stumble

I received a "Dear John" letter this morning.

However, since my name is John, I actually get a lot of these letters.

This one was from StumbleUpon:

Dear John,
You've been a valuable member of our community for a long time, so we wanted to tell you in advance about some upcoming changes to StumbleUpon that may affect you.

Our primary goal at StumbleUpon is to help you discover great things. Our focus is on delivering you faster, better and more personalized recommendations, so that each time you click the "Stumble!" button you see more amazing content from every corner of the web!
In order to focus on improving the discovery experience for you, and after careful consideration, we have decided to remove Groups, discontinue the ability to select Themes, and simplify Blogging capabilities. We know some of you have enjoyed having these features, but we believe that these changes will allow us to better focus on making stumbling amazing for you.

Here's how these changes will take place:

Groups: Groups will be visible until October 24th, then will be removed permanently from the site. You can manually copy anything you'd like to keep, or will be able to export group information. We are working on an export option and will send more specific details in a few weeks.

Themes: Your current theme will remain up until October 24th. At that time all themes will be changed to a default theme that is a white background with black type. To see how your profile will look with the default theme, change your settings here.

Blog Posts/HTML Reviews: After October 24th we will no longer offer HTML/Blogging functionality, but you'll still be able to access blog posts and reviews created before October 24th which will exist in plain text format. We are working on an export option and will send more specific details about this in a few weeks.

Your feedback and questions continue to be important to us as we make changes. You should expect to hear from us again in about a month, when we'll have more details around export options. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us directly if you have questions, or go to our Help Center to learn more about these changes.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we work on making StumbleUpon better for you!

- The StumbleUpon Team

Now the StumbleUpon people are obviously trying to be careful - they saw how the whole Netflix thingie blew up in Netflix's face (or is it Qwikster's face?). But you still get a funny feeling when you read something that says "we're taking away functionality...and we're doing it to benefit you."

In my case, it doesn't look like the changes will impact me one bit. For example, my default FriendFeed layout is a white background with black type. I don't think I'll die if the StumbleUpon look is similar.

However, the major reason that the changes won't impact me is because I've only visited the StumbleUpon site a few times in the past few months. For various reasons that I won't get into here, I haven't accessed StumbleUpon that much lately.

I'm sure, however, that there are die-hard StumbleUpon users who are completely dependent upon sharing their blog posts with their groups while using a purple background with green lettering. Those people will be outraged.

And others will use the opportunity to loudly declare that StumbleUpon is dead.

We'll see how this plays out.

P.S. Speaking of Netflix (or Qwikster), Al Lewis is not impressed:

The Netflix Inc. /quotes/zigman/87598/quotes/nls/nflx NFLX +0.53% CEO sent me and millions of other video customers an email on Sunday, saying he’s sorry “many members felt we lacked respect and humility.”

I know this trick. I’ve used it myself: “I am sorry that YOU were offended.” It is a non-apology. And whenever I use it, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
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