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.
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.
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.
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.
*** As my first real parody piece, I am moving this up in the blog to see if it gets more comment luv. ***
A little-known but dangerous epidemic is spreading across members of social media websites like Digg, Reddit, Propeller, Newsvine, and Mixx. Like a secret scourge, SM-FPA (social media front page addiction) isn’t making national headines yet, but the effects have been felt in thousands of households across the world.
“Ever since my wife’s submission hit the front page of Reddit last month, we only see her on the way to the bathroom,” said Jake Dixon. His wife Amber, better known as “diggwho”, made the front page of Reddit with a story titled Bush makes more people mad by saying something stupid. Since then, Amber has been submitting 15-25 stories per day and has a submission hit the front page 3-5 times per week. She declined to be interviewed.
Research scientists at the Social Media Institute of Technology (SMIT) in Kolkata, India, say that Mr. Dixon and his family are not alone. They have documented 342 confirmed cases of SM-FPA in 2007 and estimate the actual number in the thousands.
(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.