StumbledFor me, StumbleUpon is a great place to make connections, see great pictures, and find articles or sites that I would otherwise not be exposed to. The whole idea of SU is to share great finds with your friends and for great content to get exposure.

This concept has evolved, to say the least. Now you may be exposed to sites that are not relevant to your preferences just because it has been thumbed up many times by your friends, and their friends, and so on. These sites have been “pushed” through the system, for the sake of traffic/views. Recently SU has been trying to combat this situation by adding the share feature, and even offering advertisement etc. In addition, they are banning “circles” of mutuals that seem to be sharing, thumbing, and reviewing the same sites.

If you happen to be in one of these “circles,” you run the risk of getting “ghost” banned or completely banned.

Ghost Banned on StumbleUpon: You can thumb up, thumb down, discover… pretty much anything a regular user can do. The only thing is, your efforts don’t count. You can tell if you’re “ghost banned” by discovering a page, opening up a different browser, and visiting the review page of the site you just discovered. If it says “Discovered by someone” and not you, you’re a ghost. No word yet on how to reverse this.

Here are some things to avoid:

As you know the share feature can be pretty annoying. I usually have around 50 pages waiting for me a day, and it’s very hard to keep up with. Most of the pages sent to me are from my social media friends who are also on Digg, Reddit, etc. They are sending me things they like or want to promote. Now, this is actually not against TOS as long as it isn’t their personal site, however, it’s usually a site that is beneficial to them in some way, and that is against TOS.

StumbleUponSU has caught on to this particular “gaming” of the system, and therfore they are banning not only the people who own the site who are “pushing” it, but the people who actually thumb these sites up often. This may seem a little unfair because you are just trying to be nice and a good social media friend.  Just giving it a thumb shouldn’t be that harmful to you. However, it is necessary on their part if you think about it. I have been very weary of discovering my friend’s sites since the banning initially began several months ago. I personally will discover what I truly like, and what I feel is relevant to my basic theme or what I believe in, but I can no longer do this for some of my favorites, and this to me is the unfortunate part.

Unfortunately, the friends who have good content will have to understand that you cannot keep thumbing up their stuff all the time. If you continue to do this for anyone, you will be flagged eventually. Remember, you don’t have to review it, you just have to thumb it and it becomes a red flag when you do this often for the same source. Once you get banned or ghost banned, you could lose all the hard work you have put into your discoveries.

The whole point is for diversity. SU wants different sources.  They want content from around the Internet – good content/pictures that deserve exposure based on what people like to see/read. In order to assure this, they must not encourage the same sites getting pushed through the preference pages simply because your friends shared it with a ton of other friends who all thumb it just because they asked them to through the share feature. You would not be exposed to anything other than a handful of sites if this continued.

In conclusion, your best bet is to just say NO. You are not obligated to thumb every page sent to you. If you are wanting to have reciprocated thumbs or reviews when you have a good site etc..then they will thumb it without you asking if it’s good. If you are discovering spammy sites whose content isn’t really any good, then SU is not the place to go. One thing to keep in mind is the timing. Make sure that some of your top friends are online before you make a discovery if you are wanting it to get exposure immediately.  In theory, they will see the page even if you don’t sent it if they’re subscribed to you. If the content is good enough, it will get thumbs and reviews.

The only way to get loyal subscribers however, is to make sure you are discovering worthy material. They will follow you.

Many serious users on SU are picky about what they are looking at, and if they notice they are being forced to view things that are not their preference or the same sources day after day, they will flag you or just stop looking all together.

Another tip is if you mistag a discovery, you might as well just pack it up. There was a time when marketers/spammers were tagging their content with “viewable” or popular tags in order for it to be seen more often. However, their tags were not relevant and were misleading. These people were banned pretty quickly. Just be mindful of your tags – make certain it fits.

Send stuff to different friends each time, not just everyone all the time if you plan on doing the share feature often. Make sure the content you are sending them is at the very least pretty good and from different sources. Chances are, if it’s not interesting enough for you to read it or look at it yourself, then they won’t either and you will get a “blind” thumb. Eventually this will lead to you and them getting banned.  If you have a good post, and most of your friends thumb it or give it a review without you asking, don’t be fearful of it being flagged just because most of your friends thumbed it up because chances are that if they did this without you asking, others who are not your friends will as well (this is how you get new subscribers and friends in the first place). This is very good for you simply because it shows that you are reaching a more diverse audience based on a good post/discovery, rather than a forced one, and SU will see that.  You will be more rewarded on SU for having good content more than most places. SU also loves good pictures, and it’s a great place to find some never-seen-before photography etc.

For those of you who are planning on using it as a traffic generator, your time will be short if you are posting trash or asking the same people to thumb the same stuff all the time. That is the difference I have noticed on SU versus any of the other social media sites, and that is why it’s my favorite place to be on the Internet.

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Read more StumbleUpon Tips right here.

Written by Tammy Rucker