(The results are in. Read them at StumbleUpon vs Digg).
Bloggers and webmasters out there who watch their traffic as closely as we do have been amazed by the “Stumble Effect”. Many know about the sudden burst of traffic that comes from the “Digg Effect” when a submission reaches the front page of Digg (or even better, if it reaches the “Top in All…” section on the frontpage). This is normally a day of joy (or terror if your server bombs) followed by limited tricklings of traffic.
Stumble has a different, more steady infusion of traffic that it can send to a website that gets stumbled, especially if it is hit by multiple top users. The effect is sustained, but more importantly, can be rejuvinated by a thumbs up and/or review by the right person/people.
Digg, on the other hand, has the advantage of having “controlled” traffic. Anyone watching their posts as they’re submitted and rising on Digg can pinpoint if and approximately when their page will go popular. You know when the traffic is coming and you know when it will stop.
The thing that truly piqued our curiosity was something that happened last Sunday. This blog has had several stories hit the front page of Digg and other social networks and has received a ton of Stumble traffic over the weeks. Last Sunday, someone “powerful” Stumbled a story. Shortly after that, someone else with power stumbler status reviewed it. Ninety seconds later, our server was dead, and it took an act of congress and an upgrade in equipment to get the site live again. That never happened with any of the Diggs.
So, let’s experiment. The idea has been percolating for a while, but James Pegram’s Blog beat us to the punch. No worries. The post was excellent, but there is a ton more that can be learned. On Digg, as stories move down the front page and on to the next, the traffic slows, like tall rollercoaster freefall that hits tremendous speeds, then gradually levels out and slows. Stumble is like a bumpy rollercoaster in the dark. You know the traffic will go up and down, you just don’t know when it’s going to go up, nor when it’s going to stop.
A quick note about incentive: This blog makes next to nothing in ad revenue. That can be expected, as almost all of its traffic is generated by social media users who are normally too web-savvy to click on adsense or purchase from an advertising banner. Most, in fact, surf the web so much that they are now “blind” to these forms of marketing. Then, there are those who use browser extensions to block the ads altogether.
For this experiment, we won’t put any adsense or advertising in the story, just so nobody thinks there are ulterior motives involved. The sidebar will have the coffee banner (there more for asthetic purposes, as nobody buys coffee from a social media blog) and some text ads, but the story itself will be cleaner than any others on the site.
That should make our $0.63 average daily revenue plummet, but for research, no sacrifice is too great.
No, this article will track the traffic generated as well as hour by hour, sometimes even minute by minute updates to the data stream. Who’s Stumbling, how may Diggs, times on front page, added Stumble reviews — the list will grow as more data becomes available. We’ll watch who stumbles it and when as well as where it moves on Digg.
There are potential drawbacks. Despite the fact that this website does not make enough money to cover the hosting, there will be those who think it’s a ploy to somehow put cash in our pockets. There will be those who get some kind of joy out of messing experiments like these up. They will bury it on Digg and thumb it down on Stumble. I’ll give it a 30% chance on Digg and a 50% chance on Stumble.
All data will be posted here with times and results as they become available.
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Read more info at the Social Media Blog.