12 Reasons Why StumbleUpon is Dead

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Dead End is a Creative Commons image by Benny Lin

StumbleUpon is dead. Read my story first and then the 12 reasons.

It was long ago, probably a year or more, that I have stopped recommending StumbleUpon for business users or “getting traffic”, at least when using means actively participating on the site and using the toolbar. It doesn’t work that way if it ever has.

Unlike on Twitter neither self submission nor friends’ votes count on SU so it’s even better not to join or to engage with others on the site in order not to render your and their votes worthless.

StumbleUpon only sends stumblers your way when a random complete stranger having no connection to you whatsoever votes for you.

This is how the system works.

Now I’m a man of habit. I just get used to things. Also I like sharing so I still used StumbleUpon privately for discovering and sharing things. I liked the idea of being able to share environmental, artistic or self improvement finds with a lot of subscribers (I have over 800 of them) plus automatically with the followers of my followers. At least this is the way StumbleUpon was meant to work. It doesn’t.

After the new design has been introduced SU started to display how many views your stumbles get. I noticed that most of my discoveries get only one view, yes, that’s a “1”. That made me kind of sad as I discover stuff quite often and I wanted to make it known and support the respective activists, artists or bloggers. Instead I basically sabotaged their sites as they never got any visitors from SU after I discovered them.

At first I assumed that I did something wrong, like writing not enough reviews or not including images or discovering the wrong content or topics. I changed everything in trial and error and even tried some highly popular stuff from elsewhere, to no avail. Most of my submissions get just 1 view.

Why should I waste my time submitting stuff to a site that does not send any of the stuff to my followers at the same time penalizing webmasters for being submitted to it?

Then I suspected a penalty on my profile due to being a writer for a SEO blog as the topic SEO is still considered “evil” on StumbleUpon even after the introduction of an SEO category earlier this year. Everybody writing about SEO is a suspected spammer according to this misguided opinion. Also I have been very vocal in the fight against the omnipresent content theft on StumbleUpon. SU is full of stolen images, indeed stolen images tend to be the most popular discoveries on SU. Maybe the many content thieves I thumbed down and gave a bad review flagged me or something?

So I kept checking other people’s profiles and looking at how many views their discoveries get. I was surprised to find out that most people who have many views on their discoveries rarely discover anything. The more you discover the less visitors your discoveries get it seems. Plus the number of stumbles or friends has no positive impact on the power to reach people. I have 17k stumbles and 800+ subscribers but nobody ever sees my dsicoveries. It’s the other way around, the more friends you got the less other non-related strangers are there to push your discovery. In some niches there aren’t many at all so subscribing to most of them means Stumble suicide.

  1. Most discoveries get buried by the system and won’t get seen anybody beside yourself – “1 View” phenomenon
  2. In a bizarre logic the more friends you have the less traffic your discoveries get, only votes by strangers count
  3. Content theft abounds and gets most popular while the sites of the original artists or photographers get no credit or traffic
  4. Business usage is officially banned in the TOS, as a business owner you are only allowed to advertise not
  5. Sites you like the most get the least traction as submitting the same source more than once gets your vote devalued
  6. You actually hurt people by discovering their sites or blogs as they can’t get any traffic in most cases
  7. For inspiration there are far better sites like image bookmarking services FFFOUND! and Dropular
  8. For business use and to spread the message Twitter is by far the better choice for sharing Tumblr is far better than SU
  9. Old, completely outdated posts often get pushed by the SU system while new ones get ignored, hoaxes from 2003 for example
  10. You can’t block the infamous StumbleUpon trolls via htaccess anymore as everybody uses the same home URL now
  11. You can’t browser stumbles by categories anymore, I used to browse the architecture stumbles but now I can’t even find them
  12. The SU categories are broken. A wrong categorization means in most cases the death of a submission though

This is not a post to whine about StumbleUpon treating me bad or something. It’s just a post that warns you not to follow my advice from 2007 and early 2008 when I hailed SU as the new messiah of the Web.

In 2009 Twitter has become both the most important social sites and source of traffic, StumbleUpon is a dinosaur.

SU hates busiess users and has an algorithm that effectively stifles both sharing and socializing. StumbleUpon is dead and I personally switched to Twitter for business usage more than a year ago while I switched last week to Tumblr for

  • inspiration
  • community
  • social discovery
  • and sharing.

I won’t make the same mistake again using Tumblr for business so that my account there will remain completely private.

Now you might say: I still get traffic from SU by the thousands. Me too, but it doesn’t have anything to do with me. Just last week I got 1k visitors to a post with just 2 thumbs up by complete strangers. On the other hand most of my friends waste their time and votes when they vote for me on SU.

This post is not a pull a Calacanis type of linkbait. Who am I baiting, Stumblers? LOL. It’s just a warning to my readers and followers. Also I ask you to follow me elsewhere:

  1. Twitter
  2. FriendFeed
  3. Delicious
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Browzmi

You still want the social browsing experience with me? Use Browzmi! It has been largely deserted but it still gets your more views than the “1” from SU. Btw. I could have come up with more than 12 reasons to abandon StumbleUpon but I don’t want waste any more time with it.

Read my other posts on the broken categories on StumbleUpon which still haven’t been fixed, content theft and other SU annoyances. Also make sure you know how to use Twitter instead.

Does SU still work you for business or private use? In case you aren’t in the most awesomely amazing creative content theft business tell me how you do use it.

Many other former fellow stumblers and other long time users tend to agree with me:

Last but not least: I apologize all the green activists, bloggers, artist and designers for discovering their stuff and basically banning these pages on SU. Mea culpa! StumbleUpon is dead. In short: I’m simply sick and tired of all tha content theft crap and discovering stuff nobody ever sees.

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