The Stumble Effect: StumbleUpon Hits the Big Leagues

I am sure most of you have heard of the Digg Effect, originally known as the Slashdot Effect, and some of you might have even had your servers go down because of it.

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.

digg effect stat The Stumble Effect: StumbleUpon Hits the Big Leagues picture

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.

su traffic The Stumble Effect: StumbleUpon Hits the Big Leagues picture

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.


15 Responses to “The Stumble Effect: StumbleUpon Hits the Big Leagues”

  1. Chris Bennett on March 23rd, 2009 12:34 pm

    Yeah I have been seeing the same since about Jan of this yr with a couple different articles all over the 50k range. Pretty sweet cause SU can be more long term traffic too.

  2. Kenny Hyder on March 23rd, 2009 2:02 pm

    I've actually seen this from twitter as well, not quite as big of numbers, but close..

  3. brentcsutoras on March 23rd, 2009 2:18 pm

    I have some pretty solid Twitter accounts and done some testing. I have seen some growth but the highest i have seen in traffic from a tweet is about 1,000 max.

  4. Kenny Hyder on March 23rd, 2009 2:22 pm

    oh, ive seen WAY more than that.. counting retweets that is…

  5. Guillaume on March 23rd, 2009 5:54 pm

    I have to agree Brent, we are very strong on Stumble and we get 10 to 30k regularly with great posts… usually around 50-75 reviews and countless thumbs up (so we hope!) ;)

  6. brentcsutoras on March 23rd, 2009 8:45 pm

    Agreed. I just did not know if they were still currently causing sites to go down, so left them off.

  7. Brian Wallace on March 23rd, 2009 9:36 pm

    Good post Brent. You forgot 2 sites though – Slashdot and Instapundit – those were the original site crashers. And technically Twitter has crajavascript:%20postComment(0);shed some sites due to retweeting, though I wouldn't say that it has a reputation for crashing sites – yet.

  8. Niche Pro on March 24th, 2009 9:23 am

    My stumble traffic has died off the last few months. I was getting several thousand a day to several of my sites now I barely get 50 or 60 anyone else out there experiencing the same?

  9. George Huger on March 24th, 2009 11:15 am

    We've had a similar experience in 2009 so far, and although we've only hit 30k stumbles/day once there have been significantly more 10k+ days than in 2008. I've been trying to assess whether we're just getting better at using StumbleUpon or whether there are more total stumbles to be had (probably both). 19k was the most we saw in a single day in 2008.

    Most of our biggest single days on SU have been to inane content we're testing with – viral photos and the like. Have you had this kind of traction (10k+/day) with technical content?

  10. Jay_Meydad on March 24th, 2009 12:00 pm

    I've had a similar experience & I posted about it – <a href="” target=”_blank”>

    I noticed that the traffic quality from StumbleUpon is better than Digg users. These users tend to have a lower bounce rate, longer session times and a higher pages/visit.

  11. Jay_Meydad on March 24th, 2009 12:00 pm

    I've had a similar experience & I posted about it – <a href="” target=”_blank”>

    I noticed that the traffic quality from StumbleUpon is better than Digg users. These users tend to have a lower bounce rate, longer session times, and an higher pages/visit.

  12. weblike on March 25th, 2009 7:12 am

    Let come DIGG and Stumble On together – what will happen than? :)

  13. Steen Seo Öhman on March 25th, 2009 3:13 pm

    I'm impressed … never seen that kind of effekt. Wish stumple and digg had the same power in Europe/Denmark.

  14. Jacob Share on April 1st, 2009 2:32 am

    The first time a post of mine did that well in SU was in March '08, when SU sent over 50K visitors in a 3 period. Frankly, since SU is always growing, I'm not surprised that we're seeing more and more of this. Also, I've noticed how quick new articles are being promoted by the algorithm too.

  15. Dave Earley on April 5th, 2009 8:51 pm

    As far as I have noticed, direct traffic from social sites is basically useless, at least if we are talking about marketing. Social sites are much better for help with organic traffic. StumbleUpon traffic reminds me more of traffic exchange traffic, as it is really inflated by the StumbleUpon toolbar.

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