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StumbleUpon breaks away from eBay

[StumbleUpon](http://www.stumbleupon.com/), an online recommendation and content-discovery engine, has broken away from eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) nearly two years after its acquisition, announcing today that it is once again a standalone company.

"We are grateful to eBay for its guidance. However, we realized there were few long-term synergies between the two businesses. It is best for us to part ways and focus on our respective strengths," StumbleUpon cofounder George Camp said in a statement. "This change makes it possible for StumbleUpon to continue to innovate and focus on becoming the Web's largest recommendation service."

Camp will serve as CEO of the company, which is once again an investor-backed startup following its $75 million sale to eBay.

In a [blog post](http://www.stumbleupon.com/sublog/stumbleupon_is_a_start_up_again/), Camp said that there would be some internal changes at StumbleUpon, but that the "stumbling experience" would not be affected.

The news comes as the rumor has been swirling around that VoIP provider Skype may also try to buy back its independence from eBay. Skype, a much pricier buy than the Digg-like StumbleUpon, has [long been viewed as a strategic misstep for eBay](/bus-news/article.php/3809921/eBay+We+Are+Done+Apologizing+for+Skype.htm).

Since [John Donahoe took the helm at eBay](/bus-news/article.php/3723521) a little over a year ago, he has moved to recenter the company around its core e-commerce business. He has put into place policies that (to the great dismay of eBay sellers) have aimed to make the marketplace friendlier and more secure for buyers.

At eBay's investor day in March, Donahoe described PayPal as the jewel of the company's portfolio, predicting ambitious growth revenue growth for the payement services business amidst a crowded auction market and steep competition from Amazon.

At the same presentation, Donahoe gave new life to the long-simmering rumors that eBay might be looking to divest itself of Skype. "We thought Skype would enhance the connection between buyers and sellers," he said. "But we were wrong."

It's easy to group StumbleUpon in that same category of illusive synergies, making it a sensible divestiture at a time when eBay is getting back to the basics of e-commerce. The StumbleUpon acquisition came about a year after eBay had embarked on something like a Web 2.0 makeover, launching blogs, a wiki and other [community-oriented features](http://hub.ebay.com/community).

The idea of applying StumbleUpon's technology, where users can vote good content up and bad content down, may have seemed like a good match for eBay's marketplace at the time. But that conversion never took hold, and StumbleUpon remains primarily used for helping users discover the best Web content and share it with their friends.

As a standalone company, StumbleUpon is now backed by Camp and cofounder Geoff Smith, as well as investors from Sherpalo Ventures, Accel Partners and August Capital.

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