Regardless of name, the effect is when a specific site sends a large number of visitors to your site in a short period of time, causing your site to become extremely lagged or go down completely.
Due to the amount of traffic it takes to drop a server, only a few sites have really grown a reputation for having this effect; Digg, Reddit, Fark, and Yahoo Buzz.
Last week, after publishing an article on a site of mine, I noticed the site was being throttled by my server company, causing only a set number of loads at any given time.
I was curious what was causing my server load to be so high, when the content had not been submitted to Digg, or any other site that can traditionally send enough traffic to cause this problem.
A quick check in analytics showed me I had been hit with something I had not seen before, the Stumble Effect.
Now a little over 30,000 visits is not necessarily a lot of traffic from social media sites in general. Digg and Reddit have been sending that amount of traffic for front page exposure for some time now.
However, for a site like StumbleUpon, which doesn’t have a traditional ‘front page’, this is a huge milestone.
Where we have seen a solid growth in Reddit and other sites over the last year, we have seen nothing like the growth in StumbleUpon traffic over the last 6 months. Where they used to send around 5,000 visitors on average, we are seeing traffic ranges upwards of 50,000+ visitors regularly these days.
Whether it comes from their new relaunch of the site that included more traditional category pages with popular content, or the addition of recommended content on their stumble review pages, most webmasters who have content in StumbleUpon have commented on the huge increases in traffic they have seen.
The article I reference being hit by the Stumble Effect above, received around 100,000 unique visits during a one week period, putting it up there close to some of the best traffic results we have seen for a single piece of content from a social media site.
So whether you have actually been hit by the new Stumble Effect or not, the new changes and popularity of StumbleUpon have made it a definite site to watch… and participate within.