Spamming StumbleUpon

What was once good content is now considered thin affiliate, lead generation, or low quality information spam. One of the risks of owning a large network of related sites is that as the rules of the game change you must change many sites to stay relevant, especially if your sites are old and were of marginal quality when they launched.

Someone could easily and anonymously spam sites to further make your network look shady. Did Edvisors tag most their network, or did someone else do it for them?

And the interesting thing about potentially perceived spamming is that someone else could have tried to make their network look bad, or they could have just bought ads at StumbleUpon and got bookmarked by some of the independent Stumblers. If it isn't spamming to buy ads and get bookmarked then how could it be spamming if/when you bookmark your own stuff? Ads and content are blending more and more.

Published: March 7, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


March 7, 2007 - 11:03pm

I have hundreds of visitors to my sites via stumple upon, but I didn't really understand how it works yet! I will try to find this in the guide you provided.

Thank you for the Social Guide.

March 7, 2007 - 11:59pm

Stumble Upon regularly sends 1000 uniques a day to some of my sites. Its great.

March 8, 2007 - 12:04am

Hi Aaron - I get the bit about getting your buddies to 'bookmark' your site in stumble upon and similar sites being an uncool tactic, but we all have only so many buddies and an SU user that only has a few bookmarks and no active user doesn't get much traffic to his page or link love. SU is a very active community - the more you participate the more SU users link to your Stumble Upon page and so on - thats not going to happen if you go in once or twice to bookmark your own site or sites and never return. And SU users are not just kids or geeks - they are a broad mix of people ranging in age from 15 - 90 with a broad range of interests. They are also not idiots - It is quite obvious when looking at user created pages which ones where created purely to create an SU bookmark - i.e. when someone is only bookmarking or posting their own sites for self-promotion purposes - and the interest from the 'community' in that type of Stumbler and his "links" is generally zero - minimal.

My question is - if paying hard earned cash to advertise on Stumble Upon results in SU users bookmarking your site and that is percieved by search engines as spam - what are we going to be allowed to do in future? ONLY advertise via their ad programmes? Surely a Stumbler decides to bookmark your site because he sees some value in it - and if you are prepared to put your site in his face by paying for him to look at it - how can that be percieved as spam? He is not going to bookmark your site if he thinks its no use to him, so how is this spam? You pay Stumble Upon to advertise - you are not paying the Stumblers to link to you or to bookmark your site.

Sorry for the rant - but i'm getting fed up - unless we are paying one of the big 3 we face getting penalised in one way or another - this smacks of a monopoly - why should Stumble Upon not earn a few dolloars for the service they provide if some people find it worth while advertising on it?

I'd really like to get some feedback on this from someone like Matt Cutts or yourself.

Unless one has spent a fair amount of time in SU to see how it works (and why) one cannot really comment on it - it is not like Digg where your site gets to a home page because people "like" it. So writing some super-dooper article about a contencious issue is not going to do it - you need to have made a lot of 'friends' and 'connections' in SU to get any value out of SU - and I don't think spammers would bother to put in that sort of effort. Its a lot more involved too than delicious. (I see HUGE spam potential in delicious) - but SU - not unless you have +/- 300 hours to waste making 'friends', 'fans' and 'connections' and getting known within your chosen group or community in there.

March 8, 2007 - 2:21am

Kelly - I don't have the amount of experience you do w/ SU, but in my (limited) experience I didn't have to make "a lot of friends and connections in SU to get any value." Actually I put up an article and it was bookmarked by another user, and it steamrolled from there. Once you get a page saved by a user w/ a lot of clout in their system it can spread rapidly.

The traffic from SU doesn't seem to convert well, but it's large and right up there with delicious and digg. Seems quality content actually does well, at least in my limited experience w/ the site.

March 8, 2007 - 4:27am

To start my blog I spent $50 on StumbleUpon advertising and it's the best 50 bucks I've ever spent. After 6 days I'm up to 1,000 uniques a day - and I've spent $175 in total to market my blog - a paid ReviewMe review (love ya, Aaron) and the StumbleUpon ad's. Of course, I consider my blog of the highest quality so that helps enormously.

March 8, 2007 - 12:41pm

While Stumbleupon can produce a huge increase in the number of visitors to your site, the quality of the traffic is poor.

I recently experienced a 4-fold increase in traffic for a few days from SU. The problem was that those visitors viewed fewer pages than the average visitor and there was no measureable benefit from that traffic whatsoever.

Given that, what's the point? If the best use of your time is trying to get traffic from SU then you seriously need to rethink your SEO strategy.

March 8, 2007 - 3:04pm

We (Edvisors) tagged most of our sites in our profiles, by hand, using Flock's built in tagging tools and the SU toolbar.

March 8, 2007 - 3:07pm

I should also add that I consider our sites to actually have useful information on them. There are some sites of ours that I don't tag, like, which ARE old and of little use, and so I ignore them. All of the sites in that screen grab are kept up to date with current financial aid information (and yes, you can obtain our services, too), with a dedicated employee or two blogging on each, plus new content being created on a regular basis.

I only wish my podcast had come up closer to the top.

March 29, 2007 - 11:12am

My experience with SU has been as follows:

- 4 x increase in traffic for a day or two if the page I submitted gets picked up by a stumbler who has many fans/friends. Otherwise the traffic increase is minimal (>100 visitors over the course of few days)

- virtually zero conversion, not even Adsense earnings increased.

- SU is more suitable for media sites (images, music, games, etc) than news sites.

- my impression is that most stumblers are just looking for a quick stimulation/fun

May 23, 2007 - 12:32am

I put my new site on stumbleupon for $4/day. Someone "reviewed" it. They ripped on it and told me to f- off. This can't be good, but I look at the bright side- figured
"I made it" since someone hated me and called attention to my poor little site.

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