StumbleUpon Tells Bloggers to Bugger Off and Removes All Direct Links

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Recently, StumbleUpon redesigned their site and changed just about everything, including direct links back to your blog.

Are you a blogger who has experienced a time when one of your posts hit the StumbleUpon jackpot? If so, you know how good it feels to sit back and see those numbers tick up and up and up. At one point, it seemed as if nearly every URL I added to StumbleUpon would result in hundreds, if not thousands, of page views.

Those days appear to be long gone now. StumbleUpon, once seen by many travel bloggers as one of the best ways to drive traffic to their blog, has recently made some significant changes. Of the many changes made, the big one was the removal of direct links back to the original content source.

StumbleUpon has removed these direct links from all newly added URLs by adding an iframe around all of the content featured on the site, leaving the viewer without a way to click out. For the time being, while it appears previously added URLs are still driving traffic, new ones are not receiving any new page views.

What are your thoughts on the new changes implemented by StumbleUpon? How do you feel these changes will  impact the blogosphere in the long run?

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44 Responses to “StumbleUpon Tells Bloggers to Bugger Off and Removes All Direct Links”

  1. Michael Figueiredo February 2, 2012 9:27 pm
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    I think it sucks. In fact, the whole redesign is confusing and not user-friendly at all. I’m curious to see how StumbleUpon continues as a company, since it seems that bloggers were the only ones using it in the first place.

  2. Karen Bryan February 2, 2012 10:00 pm
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    I wondered what was happening Rich. Although it felt good to get a rush of traffic from SU, I could see that the majority of that traffic wasn’t staying on the site for long.. I think the SU move is bound to depress most travel blogs traffic figures.

  3. Bret @ Green Global Travel February 2, 2012 10:30 pm
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    Just as MySpace was replaced by Facebook, many bloggers will find ways to use sites like Pinterest to draw better numbers than they can with SU. In SU’s case, it seems like they’re biting the hand that feeds them content…

  4. Caz Makepeace February 2, 2012 11:57 pm
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    SU sucks! So glad we finally have confirmation of what we all suspected to be true.

    I’ve been trying to get help with them for ages and all they do is reply “Traffic from SU is a gift”
    Well in that case you are no longer get my gift of traffic SU, because in this game you work hard at traffic generation for some sort of return.

    Time for more quality traffic generating forms. Goodbye SU

  5. Raymond @ Man On The Lam February 3, 2012 1:22 am
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    Hmmm…I’m just wondering how I go about giving a thumbs-up on SU for Caz’s comment above? 🙂

  6. Chris February 3, 2012 7:16 am
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    Ive been telling people for awhile now that having a dependence on SU can hurt you if they decide to change things up. After all their system as I look at it was created to allow you to share what you think is awesome content.

    Then bloggers came along and worked out a way to game the system with massive stumble groups, and as such it became the great traffic cash cow many of us over the past two years have known.

    Stripping it out I think in the long term is a good thing. It will help PR know who gets traffic because they write great content and. Of because they know how to game a system. Of course pinterest is here now so I’m sure the field won’t be on a level Playing field for long.

  7. Laurence February 3, 2012 9:37 am
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    To pinterest!

  8. Michael Hodson February 3, 2012 1:26 pm
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    I still get quite regular and valuable traffic from SU. Just took a look at my recent stats for the first time in a while. Numbers are down somewhat, but I’ll take the 1.5k pageviews from them in the last two weeks. Never understood why people would scoff at any platform that brings possible readers to you that you wouldn’t have had access to before, but whatever. The less that travel bloggers use it is more traffic for us that do, so I’m good with that.

  9. Stephanie - The Travel Chica February 3, 2012 1:34 pm
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    I was thinking the same thing Raymond, and then I read your response 🙂

  10. Durant Imboden February 3, 2012 2:20 pm
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    I looked at my Google Analytics stats yesterday and found that StumbleUpon has accounted for 0.5 percent of our traffic in the past year. The average SU visit is less than half the length of an average visit on our site and about 1/6 as long as a visit from a travel site like TripAdvisor or Cruise Critic. (It’s also quite a bit shorter than a typical visit from Google, Bing, or Yahoo. It’s about the same as a visit from Reddit, another source of low-quality traffic.)

  11. TheWorldOrBust February 3, 2012 3:50 pm
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    Down with Stumbleupon!

  12. Andrew February 3, 2012 4:42 pm
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    I’m curious about this now. If they are iFraming the content and I don’t see any hits or requests or anything on my side, then are they much different than a scraper? Even an iFrame should hold the Google Analytics javascript that tracks the hit. At this point I am not worried one way or another about if SU ever sends another person to my site, but if they are some how taking the URLs I submit (or are submitted by others) and scraping it of all tracking to be shown on their site, then it really isn’t much different than scraping.

    I am not going so far right now until I get a chance to look at it, but it sounds at least the way this article presents it as an annoyance.

  13. Nicole February 3, 2012 4:55 pm
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    What a shame, a great resource at one point, has basically gone down hill. I also don’t like being stuck in frames that I can’t get out of and some sites make it so there is no way to figure out where you actually are – I guess that is SUs goal.
    Much like a previous commenter said – Yep – To Pinterest – I get plenty from them!

  14. Chris Dowell February 3, 2012 5:26 pm
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    I think Google has the answer. My traffic has skyrocketed off of Google traffic. Specifically, Google+.

    I stopped using Stumbleupon in December when I noticed a few changes. This just takes the cake.

  15. Jenn Seeley February 3, 2012 5:52 pm
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    I’m curious to see where this takes StumbleUpon. People still ‘stumble’ but well, Pinterest is the time suck of choice for many people today. Travel brands are making a presence there – and so are travel bloggers.

    Jenn Seeley
    Community Engagement – Radian6

  16. Sean February 3, 2012 6:13 pm
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    What stumble does is mostly irrelevant to us at BootsnAll. As Durant said, it’s low quality traffic and a small part. They come, they go, most of them don’t care about you. Some do and we try to develop meaningful relationships with them.

    If you are relying on Stumble to jack your numbers up, I think as a blogger, you are wasting your time in most cases.

    Thanks for pointing this out Rich…lots of exciting change out there. Embrace it!

  17. Gemma February 4, 2012 11:23 am
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    I’m still linking my posts to stumbleupon but I’m not seeing any traffic from there at all. I have however had a few visits through pinterest.

  18. Morgan February 4, 2012 6:02 pm
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    In a recent marketing survey we did, StumbleUpon was one of the main sources in which my clients found me. And lately, I have definitely noticed a drop in traffic. It was never my main source, but it was a good one. I think people will still stumble, but in the long run, this will hurt StumbleUpon more than the bloggers, especially since Pinterest has proved to be bringing in a lot of traffic for people. Guess we’ll just have to see where this goes as far as continued traffic through StumbleUpon.

  19. Turtle February 4, 2012 9:38 pm
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    I agree it’ll probably be a good thing that blog traffic numbers will be more representative of the actual content, not based on a mathematical formula that SU used to send random people to pages.
    But SU is a good way for people who have no connection to a blog to find it and then become a regular reader. Anything that gets a blog more exposure should be welcomed… and SU will still do that with the new system.

  20. Sam February 5, 2012 3:18 am
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    Good to see this confirmed…..and I’m done with SU

  21. Katie February 5, 2012 3:13 pm
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    I’m confused about this. When I click on posts I have recently shared through su.pr, the links seem to go directly to my post, with my site URL showing up at the top and no iFrame. Likewise, when I am reading through posts people shared with me through SU, I don’t see any iFrame and I see their site’s full URL.

    Interestingly, while my traffic from StumbleUpon has dropped in the last month, the average time spent on my site from those referrals has increased significantly.

  22. Niki February 5, 2012 5:36 pm
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    I think StumbleUpon will soon find a loss in viewers and participants due to this change. They should have been figuring out a way to work with their huge blogging audience rather than ostracising them.

  23. Janice- The Fitness Cheerleader February 5, 2012 6:06 pm
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    Austa la vista Stumble Upon… Hello Pinterest! Not sure about you, but my blog has seen far more growth with Pinterest than with Stumble Upon. In fact, Pinterest visitors are 3x as likely to view other posts on my site than Stumble Upon users anyways.

  24. Andrew February 5, 2012 10:30 pm
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    I looked at this a little bit. There certainly are iFrames given certain ways of Stumbling. If I have the extension bar of my browser disabled and still stumble though the website. I see the iFrame. With the bar it seems to just interact with the website and do “normal” direct links. Even with the iFrames I was still able to see the Google Analytics code within the frame, so even those should “count”. I can’t claim to understand how the numbers for a lot of us are going down, but at the moment this iFrame change does not seem to be it.
    What I have noticed is that once I got into a group of stumblers with people sending me stuff back and forth, I have not seen a SU “spike”. So at least for me there is a corollary. Perhaps they are deweighting the share-wheels. In that they are trying to reduce the manipulation through the wheels. Ok, I understand this to an extent, but if there are very few stumblers from outside the wheel due to low ratings, then how are things then rated? I don’t have many answers, just questions.
    I have not gotten great traffic from them, but it is nice to see a spike every so often.

  25. Shelby February 6, 2012 9:11 am
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    Well, honestly, all they did was hurt themselves. Because my traffic slowed down considerably, I have basically stopped using SU. I’m afraid they will lose a lot of “players” for doing what they did. Also, there is a new game out there called Pinterest and Pinterest is doing something for blogger’s that SU never did. It’s making their bounce rate better! So do I care? Nope. Not really. In all honestly I’m getting return visitors much more frequently, they are staying there longer and view more than just the one page. I am seeing some of my older posts getting a lot of traffic now due to Pinterest. All SU did was destroy themselves.

  26. Tim L. February 7, 2012 3:30 am
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    The decline of Stumbleupon is well underway it seems. Here’s their Alexa info for the past 3 months:
    7 day -6.4%
    1 month -9.1%
    3 month -15.28%

    If one of my sites dropped 15% in one quarter, I’d be freaking out bigtime.

  27. Shawna Elkins February 8, 2012 4:29 pm
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    I am done with StumbleUpOn, which I never used it that much before. The site is useless!!

  28. Mitch February 10, 2012 4:59 pm
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    “Biting the hand that feeds them.”
    Great point.
    This may kill their traffic, then we shall see who needs whom.

  29. Alison February 11, 2012 2:57 pm
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    Meh I still use the old SU. And I just had a post recently get 700k hits in 2 weeks. SU is not dead.

  30. Amanda February 11, 2012 4:10 pm
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    There are too many new social media sharing platforms popping up to give this much thought. If SU doesn’t want to stay relevant and be useful to people, then people will just move on to the next thing. They really only hurt themselves.

  31. Melissa Lawler February 12, 2012 11:36 pm
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    That sucks big time!

  32. JamericanSpice February 13, 2012 2:31 am
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    SU is just like any other site who got big from bloggers and then step on them and lock the door. bah. Moving on to Pinterest.

  33. Alison February 14, 2012 11:39 pm
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    This is entirely disappointing! To think that we bloggers built up Stumble Upon and now they are using our content as their traffic! Power to Pinterest!

  34. Dave and Deb February 17, 2012 10:34 pm
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    I think this addresses the problem:
    http://www.stumbleupon.com/blog/whats-next-for-stumbleupon/
    With so many people on the Pinterest bandwagon, present company included, I would reserve judgement on Stumbleupon until the full release is rolled out. Perhaps the downturn in traffic that everyone is talking about is due to their reworking of their algorithm. If we boycotted everything just because our traffic decreased a little there would have been a lot of people boycotting Google when they released their Panda update. Judging by the above post StumbleUpon has heard what people were saying and adjusted accordingly. We still see a steady stream of traffic from StumbleUpon and I am certainly not going to boycott anything that sends traffic my way.
    I am starting to rethink Pinterest though. With them being able to do what ever they want with the images you post, including selling them, it really opens up a whole can of worms. It will be interesting to see if they listen to what people are saying.

  35. Lisa Frame February 22, 2012 1:42 am
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    What I find interesting is that the iframe is supposed to show up as a “click” on our sites. I’m guessing they’ve tweaked the technology.

    However, I get more traffic from Pinterest and Google+. Significantly more.

  36. David February 23, 2012 9:56 pm
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    Picking up on Andrew’s comment about link-wheels, share-wheels whatever – I think this has been an area that SU has tried to weigh against for a long time.

    We get SU hits every day and I haven’t seen a decline.

    There are a lot of sites out there to be stumbled. With more sites there is less pie for most people, isn’t there?

  37. Jennifer February 23, 2012 11:59 pm
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    My thoughts? I never got more than a bump of more than a few hundred from SU, so I’m less personally outraged than some of you. I guess it’s time to stop cheating/artificially inflating our page view numbers and work on getting them through actually deserving them.

  38. Jeremy February 25, 2012 3:35 am
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    I was pretty pissed off about SU turning to crap, so I removed all of my su.pr short link references with the exception of a stumble button on my site. The 500-5,000 hits per post days are over, but in just a couple months I have doubled my traffic to average levels higher than what SU would bring it. Another web company that was once awesome but will now fade into obscurity in no time.

  39. Rob February 25, 2012 2:47 pm
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    I’m indifferent as I never got much traffic to start with. If anything, most people will have realistic traffic stats now instead of over inflated “I get 75,000 readers a month” when 69,000 are to an inspirational post that isn’t even fully loaded before the user leaves but counts because they had their analytics code in the header.

  40. Rob February 25, 2012 2:51 pm
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    Forgot to mention: Lot’s of people say this will hurt Stumble Upon as they aren’t using it anymore since they get no traffic. Ever thought that the network was built for end user experience? By making this tweak the network won’t be stuffed with 3rd tier content from the same groups over and over again trying to game the network. In the end the real users aka the ones that stumble cares about will have better content appear when they hit “stumble”.

    Their alexa is dropping the because the bloggers who spam the site aren’t coming. Most users don’t have the alexa toolbar or even know what it is, all bloggers who care about artificial metrics do.

  41. Gisele aka LA2LAChef March 12, 2012 4:24 pm
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    My SU visits have dropped precipitously, but frankly, I don’t see much from Pinterest either. I have had a number of posts “re-pinned” but that doesn’t seem to necessarily lead to visiting the post at my blog.

  42. KSingh - NobleInfosys May 24, 2012 1:17 pm
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    So now I know why all my recent stumbles have been driving 0 traffic. I had started to think perhaps I have selected ‘Hide my pages from others” or something similar in my profile settings but this is not available on SU. Anyway, I know know. As a blogger who used to share my pages on SU occasionally, I am disappointed by this to say the least. I only write quality content on my blog and spend an average of 5 hours writing a post including an hour to curate, use images, etc. Surely, there is nothing wrong in using SU to share my posts and use it as a medium to deliver content which is of good quality. Many other bloggers like will have to stop using SU I guess. This can’t be good for Stumble Upon.

  43. greg padowitz December 19, 2012 5:36 am
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    I WILL NEVER USE STUMBLE UPON AGAIN! i CAN’T LOG IN AND I NEVER WANT TO TRY OVER AGAIN. tHEY SCREWED UP ROYALLY

  44. Paul Thomson February 24, 2013 2:30 pm
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    It was definitely a bad move by stumble upon to do this, it makes for a less enjoyable user experience.

    Paul 🙂