Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

GiddyGiddy eBay

It’s easy to forget the ever-plodding eBay with all the noise made by the more lithe and lively Web 2.0 companies.

But the online marketplace powerhouse shows a little more leg in its deal-in-the-making to pay way too much for a trendy Internet Web page discovery and recommendation service called, wait for it, StumbleUpon. Several stories, including one earlier this week in The Wall Street Journal, report that eBay has been in deep discussions to buy the San Francisco-based company for $75 million, which is less than it forked over for online ticketer StubHub in February. That deal cost $292 million.

While that purchase made obvious sense because it is a pure retail play, StumbleUpon also makes some sense because it could help get users more information about eBay’s zillions of auction pages.

A word you will hear more and more, “surfacing,” means the ability of Web sites to bring forth interesting and popular content. That is presumably what StumbleUpon could help eBay accomplish.

Other companies, including Google and Yahoo, have eyed the company, but have not moved to buy it. (“StumbleUpon?,” said one top Google executive to me at a party a few months ago. “I hear it talked about so much that I am now officially tired of it.”)


But I am more delighted, for completely superficial reasons, in eBay’s minority investment in early May in the Turkish online marketplace called GittiGidiyor.com. The Istanbul-based company says it has 17 million users in a country known for trading, and it represents the 37th country eBay has landed in. But I am just liking the peppy name, which means “Going, Going, Gone” in Turkish.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik