How (Not) to Pitch Me on StumbleUpon


With more than “8000 pages liked” and 600+ fans on StumbleUpon I guess I’m quite popular by now. Until recently this fact was largely ignored by most people, I did not receive many pitches to vote for stories or to become friends. This week though the situation changed.

In one week I got 6 messages, 5 of them seemingly offers to become friends and such, while #6 left me completely clueless as to what it was about, probably just a “keep it up” kind of comment.

While there is nothing wrong with informing about you or your submission and/or post you at least should make me believe that you’re a human not a bot.

Also I want to be contacted personally not as one of hundreds of people in a mass messaging attempt.

All 5 stumblers who wanted to become friends with me failed to do that. They sounded like bots and they achieved the opposite of their intent. I’m short of reporting them as spam.

So how in fact do you convince me not to be a bot or to contact me personally? Well, take a look at the 5 messages first and try to find similiraties:

  1. “hey i love your recent stumbles, i’d like to add you as a friend. feel free to send me some cool stuff!”
  2. “Heyas! Nice to meet you! Im just browsing through profiles, really like some of your recent favorites! I’m new to stumble to hoping to make some new and interesting friends. I hope you add me as a friend!”
  3. “Feel free to stumble our site – XXXXXXX is a new journal about personal productivity and self-improvement. Best”
  4. “Hi!/ I really enjoyed your stumbles – keep going… I’ve listed you as a friend here – do you want to make me a friend too?”
  5. “Hi,/ Would you like to my friend./ I really liked your posts./ Be in touch/ Thanx/ Sarah”

Do you see what I see?

  • They do NOT address me personally by name.
  • They do NOT mention any actual topic or stumble.
  • They ask me to befriend them without giving any reason to do so (like it’s a SEO 1.0 link exchange or what?)
  • They ask for a favor without giving first, I’ve never seen’em before and I really watch closely who stumbles my site and my submissions.
  • They fail to raise my interest whatsoever, with the slightest exception of #3 who mentions a topic of interest to me but I know enough sources already so why should I vote up his?

Do you really want me to visit your StumbleUpon page or to become friends?

  • Call me by my name, Tad, onreact, Mr. Szewczyk or whatever. Look it up, it’s all in my profile.
  • Mention a connection we have, may it be the tiniest there is like “I liked the x post too, thank you for pointing it out”.
  • Introduce yourself in a short sentence “I’m John of John Doe industries, we do web design in Flash”.
  • Point out a shared interest we have like “I also love typography, seen your submissions”.
  • Do not use a young girl’s avatar like most of the above did I don’t believe you’re real, come on, I’m on the web since 1997! Ask Ann Smarty – she was no exception.

I’m very open minded when it comes to all kinds of projects, even topics that seem far off. Subjects matching my main tags are certainly a hint at what I like, just look up my tag cloud on the right of my about page.
I do not add friends frequently as I noticed that it hurts me and them, votes of friends do not count like other votes on StumbleUpon so I only will add you as friend if you stumble topics I’m interested in. In contrast I don’t add new SEO and search marketing friends to not lose “stumble power” for both sides.

Do you still want to add me as a friend? Then consider more factors:

  • Do not self-promote yourself on your profile more than once (in awhile) as I will check out your latest stumbles to find out about their value for me. Even Rand Fishkin does get this wrong.
  • Do not add popular mainstream stream only stuff. Submitting TechCrunch to SU is not a big discovery usually.
  • Do not submit business only stuff, SU is mostly leisure for me so I do not want to read only stuff that makes my head work.

All in all I ‘d rather pitch a single well chosen post or stumble if I’d were in your shoes. Being my fan is no fun or solely business! ;-)

Sadly most of my fans do add me predominantly for the link exchange effect it seems and rarely vote for my submissions although they are served to them by the system. They’re selfish. I think 2/3 of them or roughly 400.

I have maybe 200 real peers on SU who share more than the “will to promote”. When promoting yourself send a message being on point and do not aim to become friends if your sole intention is to promote yourself.

Do you want to socialize with me online or get noticed? Link to me in your blog. I follow all links out of curiosity and vanity.

* CC image: Friends by blueseal.