UPDATE: Oops! StumbleUpon did it again.
How can a site with 12 million users send more traffic than a site with 600 million users? When your site is specifically designed to do nothing but send traffic. StumbleUpon may be small compared to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, but it sends the most social media traffic around the web according to the latest numbers by StatCounter.
The statement could be pushed over to just about any true Web 2.0 site where voting and popularity determine the success of a piece of content. Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace – overrun by spam. Mixx, Propeller, Yahoobuzz – spam havens.
For social news powerhouses Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon to be so changed by the presence of gobs and gobs of spam hits a little harder. They are the sites where I started my journey in Web 2.0. They are the shiny beacons of user-controlled, traffic-generating goodness that made mainstream media look to the people for their opinions and discoveries.
They are, for all intents and purposes, shells of what they should be, and spam is to blame. Perhaps more importantly, how they handled spam over the years has caused them to close their networks in one way or another through a series of witchhuntesque spam countermeasures.
I have had a lot of good comments about the article “How to not get Banned on Stumblupon“, and I appreciate all of them. One issue that has received a lot of attention is the “ghost banning”.
I want to clear something up for those of you who are now afraid to thumb up your friends stuff, or who think they can no longer thumb or review their favorite sites. I am going to explain how the process works from my knowledge in hopes of putting your mind at ease.
First of all, when you go to check one of your recent discoveries and find that it says “discovered by someone” rather than yourself, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are ghost banned. You may be experiencing:
I got a lot of my information for the term “sandboxed” from a post Jeff Quipp made a couple of years ago. Where ever you are buddy, thank you! I wasn’t sure how to explain it until I found his post.
For 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:
StumbleUpon has done a great job at putting together the best features that are available on some shorteners and added a few things that that are less common or completely unique. The only thing they haven’t done yet is properly publicize this amazing package of a URL shortener.
You probably know these things…
First, a disclaimer about this experiment and the analysis.
In retrospect, this experiment was flawed. The subject matter and style of delivery was very clearly geared in favor of one of the combatants. When it was initially conceived, it was decided that the experiment would best be delivered through a post that announced itself. By checking traffic statistics on a post titled: “The StumbleUpon Digg Experiment”, there would be equal billing, equal exposure, and most importantly, equal chances through the delivery methods to give both sides a chance.
We were wrong.
In many ways, the top level websites of social media can be compared to the fictional world of The Godfather. Sounds weird? Hear me out.
The Godfather showed us a world of beauty and corruption. Alliances were made and broken. Those who were good to the family were rewarded, while anyone who stepped in the way was hit.
Social media works in much the same way. It can be beautiful, offering the best of the web compiled into loosely organized areas where masses of people can flood a worthy website and enjoy its offerings. It can be corrupt, as spammers use the power of social media to drive traffic to unworthy websites.
There are many social media addicts in this world. You see it every day on Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon. Even Propeller, Mixx, and Newsvine have their share. What you may or may not know is whether or not you are one of them.
It’s often tough to recognize. Perhaps the joy of seeing your first story on the front page of the site was enough to set you off. Maybe it’s a desire to promote your point of view, a political candidate, even your own blog or business. For some, it’s something that passes the time (until too much time has passed). Read these signs below and seek immediate help if 3 or more apply to you.