Apr 302008

I’m still experimenting with StumbleUpon, trying to figure out how to get any kind of consistent return from this social bookmarking site. When I received a bonus for one of my recent blog posts I decided to try buying some stumbles directly from SU themselves to promote that very post – essentially giving the advertiser a bonus as well. At $0.05 each I figured it would be well worth it and signed up to have 100 Stumblers visit my post today. Besides I was hoping that some of these Stumblers would also thumbs up or review the post, leading even more Stumblers to it.

I did take note of the following disclaimer in the StumbleUpon Advertiser Faq-

My Google Analytics / Urchin stats don’t match. Why the difference?
Analytics packages like Google Analytics, Urchin, Webtrends, etc., use javascript to track traffic. You may see a difference between the traffic reported by these services and the traffic reported by StumbleUpon.

A large portion of our Firefox users have added the NoScript add-on to their browser. This is one of the top-10 most popular extensions for Firefox. This extension blocks any javascript calls that the user doesn’t approve of. Blocking javascript causes Urchin, Google Analytics, Webtrends, etc to not work. These tracking services never see the traffic because NoScipt blocks it.

You may see a larger difference in reported traffic than with other advertising services because StumbleUpon has a much higher proportion of Firefox users — and in particular, a much larger proportion of people who use browser extensions — than a typical audience. In essence, StumbleUpon’s early-adopter user-base is much more privacy and security conscious than the typical internet user, and they block tracking services as a result.

I was actually very much aware of the issues with using a javascript web analytics program prior to reading this disclaimer, but I’ve never seen anything close to this type of discrepancy before-

Wow, 37 reporting as received out of 100 sent. That’s almost $0.14 per visitor or nearly 3 times what I was expecting to pay. 35 of these 37 only remained on my site for 5 seconds, so I assume that some of those missing visitors didn’t even hang around that long. Of the two who actually clicked onto something else one spent 14 seconds and the other 27 seconds. Considering the post I was advertising contains nearly 1,000 words I don’t see how any of these users actually read any sizable portion of the article.

Is it any surprise then that not a single one of the 37-100 people that StumbleUpon charged me to deliver to my site bothered to give a thumbs up, much less a review? The “My Campaigns” page at SU shows that I had a 50% feedback rate (anything over 70% is considered successful by SU), yet the post’s StumbleUpon page still shows only a single review or Thumbs Up and that’s from the person who submitted it to SU hours before I started the advertising campaign.

So, is it worth buying stumbles from StumbleUpon? Right now I’d have to say no, but I’ve still got money in my account, so more experiments will be undertaken in the near future. If you’ve ever purchased a campaign from StumbleUpon and have any tips (or can point me to any online articles) a comment would be very much appreciated.

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