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What is the Real Value of a Social Media Visitor?

Keeping You Posted by Skellie.Skellie wrote this post. She writes plenty more advanced blogging tips and strategies at Skelliewag.org. You can also get to know Skellie on Twitter.

Bloggers are fiercely divided when it comes to deciding the value of social media traffic.

Some crave it or even become addicted to it, writing every post with an aim to hit the front-page of Digg and spending hours trying to promote their own content. Others feel it has little value and largely ignore it, citing poor rates of conversion into ads clicked and subscribers gained. Others loathe social media traffic for the atmosphere it brings (real or imagined) and will do anything to avoid being discovered by social media–usually the result of being hit by a slew of negative comments on a post that rubbed digg users the wrong way.

Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, I want to take an objective look at the real value of a social media visitor for bloggers trying to make money online. If I can be allowed to skip to the end before I’ve even started, my argument is that social media visitors are neither a godsend or a curse. Instead, they’re great for some things, and not so great for others.

1. Not for clicking on ads

It has been well-documented that visitors from social media platforms like Digg and StumbleUpon click on ads much less often compared to search visitors. Various theories have been put forward as to why this is, but I think it’s simply because social media visitors are ‘focused’ browsing. They are in the middle of doing something (using social media, usually at a fast pace), and are therefore less likely to wander off in a new direction by clicking an ad. Another reason is that social media users spend more time online than the average web user and are more likely to have developed a sort of ‘blindness’ to ads.

If all your ads are CPC (cost per click) then social media traffic is not going to add much direct monetary value to your blog–though they may go on to do so indirectly. Instead, focus on search traffic and links for direct income. By contrast, if you use a mixture of CPC and CPM (cost per thousand impression) ads, or only CPM ads, social media traffic will have more value for you. This is because it’s…

2. Really good for page views

A stint on the Digg front-page or becoming hot on StumbleUpon can send more visitors than many blogs receive in a month. Whatever these visitors are doing when they arrive at your blog, they still register on your stat counter and provide ‘impressions’ (page views) to present to potential advertisers. This may also cause your Alexa rank to increase.

Page views are the determining factor in how much a CPM advertisement is worth on your blog. More page views equals higher prices, and social media traffic can drastically increase your page views. For this reason, it’s an important source of traffic for anyone offering CPM advertising.

One potential pitfall to be wary of is that, though advertisers are probably only looking at number of page views and not the source, some will want to know where it all came from. In my experience, though, most advertisers don’t ask this question. If they end up buying an ad spot on your blog they might find the click-throughs to be disproportionate to the amount of impressions they’ve paid for. This is mainly an issue when the blog has a very high proportion of social media traffic compared to other sources. Advertisers who find click-throughs are low will be unlikely to renew with you. If this turns out to be a problem for your blog, try weighting social media traffic differently when calculating your rates. After all, social media visitors are…

3. Not initially invested in your blog

People often complain that social media visitors are disrespectful or plain rude, particularly when they come from Digg. However, it’s not hard to see why social media visitors would be tougher than your usual blog visitor. They may not follow many individual blogs. They may have clicked on a submission based on its headline and not quite known what they were getting. They might have clicked through to your blog just because they think your topic is stupid (maybe you write about a sports team that they despise, or a politician they loathe).

Search visitors are generally too busy looking for something to be nasty, and referral visitors are probably already reading other blogs in your niche, and are unlikely to find yours suddenly provokes them to lash out. When they arrive at your blog, they are partially invested in it. Social media visitors are not. At least, they don’t start out that way.


Photo by Johan Larsson.

A number of people are particularly bothered by the comments that digg users leave on their blogs. These are less troubling when you know why they occur. At digg, the comment culture there operates on a system of ‘diggs’ and ‘buries’. Comments that the community likes tend to get ‘dugg’ and comments the community doesn’t like tend to get ‘buried’. There isn’t any reward or penalty for either, but that doesn’t stop people fighting for imaginary brownie points. The quickest route to a ‘dugg’ comment is to post something insightful, add something to the content, make a joke about something mentioned in the story or to criticize or insult the content or its author–often trying to be funny at the same time, but sometimes not. Digg users have a lot of stories to read and, err, a lot of ground to make up on Mr. BabyMan, so they’ll usually go the quickest and easiest option: a witty remark, or a criticism, or an insult, or some combination of the three.

When the digg users get to your content itself they often approach commenting with the same attitude as they did when they were at digg, because digg is often where they’ve ‘learned’ how to approach commenting. Sometimes the results can be genuinely funny and clever, but other-times they can be a bit depressing! Usually this depends on the particular combination of digg users with your content’s topic. Sometimes digg comments will add a breath of fresh air to your blog and other-times you’ll wish you could delete them (and hey, you can). After all, they’re never going to come back, right?

Not necessarily…

4. Can yield new subscribers depending on the topic

A common question about social media traffic is why it often doesn’t translate into a subscriber boost. Some people claim it never does. Not for them, perhaps, but I’ve heard many stories of people gaining–and keeping–subscribers when their content goes popular on social media (and this is something I’ve personally experienced on my own blog).

For those who’ve never experienced a subscriber boost from social media traffic, you’re probably thinking: “OK then, what am I, apparently, doing wrong?”

The answer is: nothing. Social media users are generally interested in some topics in a deep way and not others. Just because they liked your post on personal bio-domes doesn’t mean they want to read about environmentally friendly inventions every day (thought it doesn’t mean they won’t either). This probably appeals to the visitor’s ‘surface interest’. They might read about the topic once in a while but not have any real passion for it. They might also find that, though they loved the post they just voted for, the rest of your blog is on a slightly different topic that they’re not interested in. After all, a lot of people bring new topics into their blog because they have more appeal to social media, but perhaps the social media visitor is interested in that topic and not any of the others you write about?


Photo by ojbyrne

From my own use of Digg, for example, I often Digg stories related to the environment and environmental innovation but I don’t subscribe to any blogs on this topic. I’m interested in it but don’t consider subscribing because I don’t have time to read blogs that don’t directly benefit the work that I do online. I do the same for content on video gaming, computers, technological innovation and so on. It’s not that I have a predisposition not to subscribe, but rather that I’m exposed to a lot of content I wouldn’t seek out otherwise, and that I am happy to enjoy in small doses.

It’s also worth remembering that many social media visitors interact with web content primarily through social media, rather than through RSS feeds or by bookmarking a handful of their favorite blogs. Their favorite social media platform delivers so much content they enjoy and is so time-consuming to be involved in that many–but certainly not all– don’t have the desire or time to follow blogs that may or may not produce good content in future. Is this to suggest all social media visitors fit this mould? Not at all, but it might help explain why they are less likely than referral and direct traffic to stick around for the long-haul.

If you do want to turn social media traffic into subscribers, make sure your social media optimized content sticks very close to the topics you write about on a daily basis. Aside from that, you might just have to hope that people interested in the topic of your blog are also likely to be reading blogs on a regular basis.

5. Likely to have a well-developed network

Social media is often just that: social. An active social media user might be in regular contact with dozens of other users and regularly share content with them. If your content hits a nerve (in a good or bad way) it is likely to be shared through that network by word-of-mouth as well as on the service itself. If the recommendation is positive then this can be a good way to get engaged readers visiting your blog. The recommendation of a friend gives them a reason to be much more invested than the average social media user.

6. Can trigger a domino effect on other social media platforms

If you look at the profile of an active social media user, you’re likely to find that they are not putting all their eggs in one basket. Many digg users have active StumbleUpon accounts, and so on. A stumble may also lead to a digg and delicious bookmark. A reddit may lead to a mixx. This can lead to a ‘domino effect’ where your content goes popular on more than one service. That’s not a bad situation to be in–unless your blog goes down, of course!

7. Can help promote other content in future

A social media visitor who votes for your content and then decides to visit your blog in future can be a valuable asset to you. They might submit future content to social media, or refer other social media using friends to your blog. The best way to have social media success is to have loyal readers who are active on social media.

It’s important not to fall into the trap of thinking of social media visitors as ‘this other thing’, separate from your audience–a teeming mass doing their own thing somewhere else and occasionally paying a visit. At least some proportion of your own most loyal readers are likely to be using social media.

8. Are good for search rankings

Digg, delicious and Reddit in particular are good for this. When a story becomes popular many social media users link to it, in addition to Digg itself, which is a very high PR site. Many people even autopublish delicious bookmarks to their blogs. Going popular on any of these services can connect dozens of high-quality links into your blogs (and, as always, a whole bunch of scrapers).

As much as I love StumbleUpon, it is weakest here. So much of the interaction with it occurs through the toolbar rather than through a webpage. There is no iconic page of ‘Top stories’ on StumbleUpon (I’m pretty sure there is a page for popular stories, but it receives little attention compared to the ‘front pages’ of Digg, delicious and Reddit). There is no general RSS feed to subscribe to. What all of this means is that going popular on StumbleUpon rarely brings a whole bunch of incoming links with it, causing it to have less SEO benefit than success on the others.

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With the above eight points I hope I’ve led you to think about the value of social media visitors to your own blog. They can certainly provide plenty of value, but tapping into that value will require that you begin to get a sense of the faces behind social media traffic, and to understand the ‘culture’ of social media, which leads to certain behaviours being prevalent in its users and others not so. The more realistic your expectations are, the better you will become at harnessing social media traffic.

While reading posts like this does help, you can never truly ‘get’ social media and its culture until you immerse yourself in it. You certainly don’t need to be a power-user (and for most this is unlikely to be an efficient use of your time), but spending a couple of hours a week participating in a social media service you enjoy will provide invaluable knowledge about your audience. I’d suggest going with at least one of the big three that most people are using: StumbleUpon, Digg or Reddit. In fact, I want to suggest that using a social media service for even an hour will teach you more about writing social media optimized content than any blog post you could read.

You should always strive to know your audience better.

Present a Consistent Brand in Your Blogging

In this video post I reflect upon the one of the downsides of changing your blog’s brand and/or design.

While updating blog design, logos and avatars in social media sites can bring a lot of life to a blog and present you with an up to date and fresh web presence – one of the negatives is that you can actually stop the momentum that you might have already created with your previous branding.

This is a lesson that applies when thinking about blog design but also even the simple avatars you choose for your Twitter and other social media profiles.

I’m interested to hear your experiences of both how changing your online ‘branding’ has led to confusion but also how you would suggest bloggers do it in a way that builds upon previous branding.

This post was brought to you by Business Week Exchange.

PS: sorry for the audio quality on this video. I recorded it in a public space and there was a little too much background noise.

A Downside of Getting to the Front Page of Digg

The Holy Grail of incoming links for many bloggers is an appearance on the front page of Digg. It has the potential to send tens of thousands of visitors and bring about a lot of secondary links from other sites who see it.

However the downside of a site the power of Digg linking to one of your articles is that it is an authoritative site in the eyes of Google.

Yesterday one of my posts – 15 Stunning Lightning Images – got to the front page of Digg. It was actually an old post that I’d recently updated and moved back onto the front page and it already had done pretty well on social media sites so had some link equity already.

The front page appearance on Digg brought a fresh influx of visitors which was fantastic but here’s what I saw in Google’s search results when I searched for Lightning Images this morning:

lightning-images-seprs.png

Yep – Digg out ranks the post it links to.

I fully expect this to change at some point as Google’s rankings are in constant states of change and even the link to my post above will give it a little extra authority but it is an issue that many bloggers face and should be aware of when submitting their posts to social media sites, or other sites and forums with established authority on Google. update: the DPS article now outranks the Digg one.

I’ve seen this same thing happen again and again on Digg but also when a site gets linked to like a site like Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Engadget etc who link back to the source of their story but use a similar title for their post to the post they’re linking to.

I don’t think this is the problem of the sites linking to posts – it’s probably more an issue for Google to work on – but post this as a little warning for bloggers active in promoting their blog posts on other sites.

It is still a good thing to get on the front page of Digg, just one consequence of doing so to keep in mind.

TIP: One quick tip for those of you who suffer from this problem. If you have any control for how your posts are submitted to Digg, try to get the title to be something different to the title of your blog post. For example, if the title of the Digg submission above had been ‘Lightning Pictures’ or something completely different like ‘Flash, Bang – 15 Images of Storms that Will Rock Your World’ then it wouldn’t rank as high for ‘lightning images’ as my own post.

Of course not everyone has control over how their posts are linked to – but if you do, it’s worth keeping in mind.

Update: OK – some have seen this post as me saying that this is a disaster, that people should avoid Digg, me overacting. Perhaps the way I wrote this conveyed that I thought it was a massive problem – it’s not massive, it’s not a disaster, it’s not the worst thing that could happen to a blogger – it’s simply one downside. I’ve commented on this more deeply below here.

All I attempted to do with this post was to point out one thing that people might be interested in when they have their posts on Digg. It’s not the be all and end all, getting on the front page of Digg is still a good thing, it’s just one of the consequences of it.

The Buzz about Yahoo Buzz

yahoo-buzz.pngI opened my inbox this morning to find quite a bit of mail on the one topic – Yahoo Buzz which today opened up its doors to the public and started allowing other sites outside of it’s initial closed test to submit stories to it. Yahoo Buzz is a social bookmarking/voting site (quite similar to Digg) and some of it’s top stories even get to the front page of Yahoo. Sites that have been to the front page of Yahoo have reported more traffic than they’ve ever seen before – even when they are just on the front page for an hour.

This lure of massive traffic has many bloggers ‘buzzing’ today. But is it worth getting buzzed about (OK, I’ll stop with the buzz talk now)?

Read Write Web today asks some questions about Buzz and muses that Buzz could be a system with more editorial control than Digg (particularly with what gets to the front page of Yahoo).

My advice to publishers is to not become obsessed by Yahoo Buzz but to keep an open mind.

I’m seeing bloggers either proclaiming it as the answer to all their traffic needs or writing it off as something that won’t last – but somewhere between these two extremes will be the truth.

As with all social media sites – Yahoo Buzz will appeal to a certain type of audience and reader and will therefore present different opportunities to different publishers.

You can submit stories to Buzz here and get Buzz Buttons for your Blog here.

How To Get to the Front Page of Digg – 6 Ingredients of a Successful Digg Campaign

digg-front-page.jpg“How do I increase the chances of getting a blog post to the front page of Digg?”

I’ve had questions about getting to the front page of Digg many times in the last few weeks so thought I’d put together a guide with a process for doing it. By no means is this something that will guarantee you success on Digg – but from my experience it’ll increase your chances to follow some of this advice.

1. The Content

If there’s one factor that can influence the success of a post on Digg it is the actual content that is submitted. This should go without saying but I chat to bloggers all the time who tell me they have no success with Digg and when I look at the posts they’re submitting – they’re just all wrong.

Digg users like a certain type of story and it can be well worth your time doing a little research into what works and doesn’t work by spending some time on Digg:

  • Topics – a large range of topics work on Digg but some are more likely to work than others. For example Tech, Offbeat, some Entertainment stories can work really well – but if you have a craft blog or are blogging about cats you might need to work a little harder. It’s not impossible to do well on digg with some of these less popular topics – but you’ll need to think carefully about how you present it (read on)
  • Voice - one way to rank well for a more obscure topic is to write your post in a style that grabs attention and appeals to the Digg crowd. They’re a bunch that likes humor, irreverence and quirky stuff – so if you’re writing on cats you would do better to do something off the wall like strap a camera to one than to write about something more serious.
  • Titles – sadly, some stories get voted up and down on Digg simply based up their title. Take time to get it right.
  • Page Layout - make sure your blog’s design is well laid out, not stuffed withe ads, professional looking and not cheap and nasty. Pictures can work well.
  • Format – some people say that the best way to get on the front page of Digg is to write ‘list’ posts. I agree – but also find that when you write a more comprehensive and in depth article that this can also appeal.

For more on the type of content that works on Digg I’d highly recommend that you read Maki’s post on how to create Digg-Friendly Content.

2. The Submitter

The person who submits your post to Digg can be a very important factor in how well it does.

From talking to hardcore Diggers there are two theories going around in how to approach who should submit your Diggs (and these theories change depending upon what Digg is doing with their Algorithm:

  • Power Diggers – one approach is to find a power Digger to submit your posts for you. What happens when you have one of these Diggers submits a story is that it gets seen by their friends on Digg and voted up quite quickly. You can expect to see 100 or so Diggs within a few hours of them submitting it. Once the initial rush dies off things tend to slow with Power Diggers – although just having their name on your post can create buzz and additional diggs.
  • Small Time Diggers - another approach is to have posts submitted by lesser known Diggers. The theory here is that it can take these Diggers less votes to get to the front page while a Power Digger can take a lot more.

Whichever method of submission – in the majority of cases on Digg it’s not enough. As a result you might also want to consider some of the following.

3. On Page Digg Cues

One important factor in drumming up some more organic Diggs to go with those that your submitter naturally brings is to add visual cues on your posts inviting people to Digg the story.

  • Digg offers a variety of Digg Badges for you to use
  • The ‘Digg This’ button is also fairly influential
  • Also check out the Digg Widget – this is particularly good because you can get it to show any recent posts from your blog that have been submitted to Digg. Put it in your sidebar and it means people who are on any page on your blog know there’s something climbing up the ranks in Digg (not just those who are on the post itself).

Don’t feel you have to use these buttons on every post. I actually will use them more when there’s a post climbing up Digg.

Lastly – add a text link to an upcoming post inviting readers to submit it. Again – I wouldn’t do this on every post but it can be effective when you’ve got something on the rise.

4. Giving it a ‘Nudge’

So you’ve got some great content that’s been submitted to Digg, you’ve got visual cues in place that will make it easy for readers to Digg it – now it’s time to give your post a nudge.

There are a number of ways to do this. Some are more blatant than others.

  • Ask for Diggs - lets start with the obvious, one way to get Diggs is to ask for them. You can do this in any number of ways and using any number of tools. Some will shoot quick requests to people that they know using instant messaging, others ask on social messaging services like Twitter, others have email lists that they utilize. The key with asking for Diggs is to think about who you ask and how often. Work out who is open to invitations and work with them, but only on your best stuff. If you ask for Diggs on every single post you write you might annoy people more than anything else.
  • Shout It - Digg has a tool on each digg page that enables you to ‘share’ the story – it’s there to help promote stories on Digg so use it. This enables you to email people, blog it or ‘shout’ it with your friends on Digg. Shouting can be a great way to get a story in front of other active Digg users. Once again – don’t shout too often – pick your best stories for this type of thing. Also know that the more you digg your friend’s stories when they shout them to you the more chance there is that they’ll reciprocate. If you’re looking for Digg friends – start with this list.
  • Drive Traffic to Your Post - another technique that is less blatant that asking for Diggs is to work instead (or as well) at driving traffic to the post you’re working to get on the front page of Digg. Here’s the thing – if you have a post with ‘digg this’ buttons and you’re able to get another popular blog or site to link to it you’ll increase the chance for organic diggs. You’ve got 24 hours once a story is submitted to Digg, so if you think you’ve got something that other sites would be interested in make sure you send them links at the start of the 24 hours (or even before it’s submitted).
  • Other Social Bookmarking Sites Help – I quite often notice that the posts that do well for me on Digg will often do well for me on Delicious or StumbleUpon first (although sometimes it happens the other way around). What happens is that when you get on the popular page of Delicious users of that service who also use Digg will bookmark your story in both places. As a result it can be worth working on ‘nudging’ votes in multiple places.

You’ll notice that on this point I said to give your post a ‘nudge’ rather than spam every person you know asking them to vote. Subtle promotion of your posts on Digg is recommended for two reasons – firstly you’ll annoy everyone you know if you’re constantly asking for Diggs and secondly, Digg has measures in place to track people who are manipulating their system and too many people voting up your stories too quickly or from the one source could send warning bells ringing and get your story buried.

5. Educating Readers

Lastly I want to talk about something that has less of an immediate impact upon a specific Digg campaign – but which over time can help.

Educate your readers about social bookmarking.

Many blog readers have never heard of Digg so finding ways to show them what the service is and how they can use it can have a real impact. The more of them who know what it is the more likely it is that they’ll use it – something that will benefit you as you begin to create a Digg Culture on your blog.

6. Organic Diggs

There comes a point in every story’s rise (and fall) on Digg where you have to stand back and let things happen.

What you’ll find is that at some point most successful Digg stories enter the ‘upcoming’ and ‘recommended’ lists and a certain amount of natural and organic digging begins to happen by people who you don’t know. This is where you see if your story has the legs to go all the way or whether it’ll be buried by people.

This is where you realize that it’s not about how many people you can get to Digg a story from your network that matters but whether you’ve actually written something that appeals to Diggers – because if you’ve written something bad you’ll find the story gets buried and all your hard work has gone to waste.

One more thing….

Let me finish with one more piece of advice. Don’t become obsessed with Digg.

I see a lot of bloggers obsessing over climbing the rankings on Digg and while it can bring a lot of traffic to your blog and be worth the effort to promote some of your posts on it when you become obsessed you can fall into these traps:

1. Only ever writing for Digg – I wrote about this earlier in the week but if all you ever write is content aimed at the Digg audience blogging can end up being a bit of an empty experience.

2. Spending All Day on Digg and Not on Your Blog – I’ve come across a lot of people on Digg that could benefit from spending a little less time trying to game Digg and a little more time investing into building a quality blog. The funny thing is that if they actually built a better blog they’d probably end up doing better at succeeding on Digg.

3. Submitting every post to Digg – not every post that you make will be ‘diggable’ – and that’s ok. IF you’re going to use some of the above techniques I would recommend that you only do it with your very very best content. Choose that content that people would want to naturally pass on to a friend or bookmark for later – this is the type of content that will do well on Digg – concentrate on promoting these ones, not your day to day posting.

How Social Media Helped Me Get Unbanned from a Social Media Site in 1 Hour and 44 Minutes

stumbleupon-unbanned.pngIn my last post I wrote that I’d just discovered that StumbleUpon had banned me.

I’m happy to announce that 1 hour and 44 minutes after posting that – I was unbanned.

How did it happen? I put it down to Social Media. Here’s the story:

  1. I had a number of people Tweet me 30 or so minutes before I posted my last post telling me that I was banned. I can only presume it happened around that times they all came at once.
  2. I reacted quickly by first emailing StumbleUpon using their contact form.
  3. I then posted my last post here at ProBlogger
  4. This post appeared moments later in my Twitter stream (this happens automatically)
  5. I plurked a link to the post.
  6. A few minutes later it was submitted to Digg (something I didn’t even consider doing)
  7. I received a heap of Twitter responses and the story was re-tweeted by quite a few of my followers
  8. I received a Direct Message tweet within moments fro a follower who gave me the email address of the community manager at StumbleUpon – I emailed him
  9. The post on Digg was at 90 Diggs within about half an hour
  10. Twitter was alive with the story (see this screen grab of Twitscoop which shows the tag cloud of what people were talking about on Twitter).
  11. Many readers emailed Stumbleupon
  12. I received an email and a comment on ProBlogger from the community manager at StumbleUpon an hour and a quarter after the post went live. He said that it could be resolved and that he’d like us to blog about the situation both here on ProBlogger and the SU blog. I emailed back that I would be happy to do so.
  13. ProBlogger was unbanned 1 hour and 44 minutes later.
  14. A few minutes later a story appeared on Digg about how I had been unbanned from StumbleUpon – linking to my Tweet about it.
  15. Now that I’m unbanned from SU the post saying that I’m banned is getting heaps of bookmarks…. ironically on StumbleUpon.

Here’s that Tag Cloud from Twitscoop

twitscoop.png

So what did I learn today?

  1. ProBlogger readers and Twitter followers are amazing. Between putting me in touch with the right person at SU and all your tweets, plurks and diggs you got this fixed really quick.
  2. StumbleUpon are responsive – or at least Walter their Community Manager is
  3. Social Media his powerful – while I knew this I don’t think I really had experienced it working so quickly on something that was personal to me
  4. When you’ve got a problem it can help to involve your friends, not completely lose it and blog a rant (while I was angry in my post I didn’t completely lose it – I tried to reach out to SU) and lastly – sometimes there is opportunity in when bad stuff happens. The buzz and traffic around this whole story has been quite amazing today. I think tomorrow I’ll get banned by Digg :-)

Thanks to everyone for your support, ideas, feedback and offers to help today. Thanks also to StumbleUpon for responding quickly. I look forward to hearing why all this happened and what we as bloggers can learn about it from your end. I’ll post more about this as Walter gets back to me.

The one thing that I do hope StumbleUpon will learn from and change is their ‘banned’ page. It has the potential to unfairly hurt reputations and tarnish sites that have not deserved that. I’m no lawyer but I suspect it could even border on some kind of defamation.

ProBlogger is Banned from StumbleUpon

banned-stumbleuponThis story has been updated at the bottom of this post.

This morning a number of readers have emailed or tweeted me to let me know that when they try to bookmark a post on ProBlogger that it leads them to a page saying that ProBlogger has been banned from StumbleUpon (thaks to @Fussypants on Twitter who was first).

You can see a screen capture of the page here – subtle isn’t it!?:

Picture 2.png

The page says that we’ve either been banned for abusing the service or have been asked for the site not to be included.

I can tell you that it was not the 2nd option (and if it had of been I would be pretty upset to see it presented as ‘banned’).

I’ve sent off an email using Stumbleupon’s contact form to ask for more information on this – but to be honest I’m pretty shocked and a little angry at this.

I can’t think of any way that I’ve abused StumbleUpon and if I had I would have thought that they’d have banned me as a user of it as well or instead of banning my URL.

I’ve got two theories as to why I may have been banned

1. ProBlogger does get a reasonable amount of traffic from StumbleUpon and perhaps the powers at be at SU think I’ve manipulated the system to get it. This is not the case and I’d suggest that perhaps I get more traffic from SU than some other sites because:

  • I’ve written about StumbleUpon many times. Writing about any bookmarking site tends to get people who use that site to bookmark those posts
  • I write to an audience who use social media a lot – ProBlogger readers are a very social media savvy lot and probably bookmark more than the general web user.

2. My recent social media love-in and list of bloggers who use StumbleUpon might have been interpreted abuse.

Perhaps I should have checked with SU before running that social media love-in but my motivations for doing it were not abusive. All I was hoping to do was to build community here on ProBlogger and give readers an opportunity to connect with one another in mediums other than here on this blog.

If anything I thought it would promote and build traffic on the social media sites that we developed lists for. If SU don’t want bloggers to use their service and don’t want sub communities within their user-base then this is their prerogative – but I’m a little put out that as someone who has actively promoted and used their service and even encouraged my readers to advertise on them that they simply banned me.


Some articles I’ve published on StumbleUpon for bloggers include:


I’m also a little angry that people voting for my posts get led to a page that accuses me as the owner of this site of abusing their service. If that’s not a slur against my character then I’m not sure what is. If this upsets you I’d encourage you to Stumble a ProBlogger page, click the ‘contact us’ link and let them know what you think (that’s what they’ve asked for on the page anyway).

Dear StumbleUpon

I am obviously feeling a little put out by you banning my blog from your service.

I do love StumbleUpon and hope that you’ll reconsider your decision and I’d love to hear from you with how I can remedy any actions that I might have inadvertently taken that don’t fit with your terms and conditions.

update – just heard from StumbleUpon’s Community Manager (who I emailed) – he’s also commented his email in comments below. We’re going to work on sorting this out and then I’ll post about the results in the coming days so we can all learn a thing or two about why this happened and how we can avoid it happening to others. Fingers crossed that this is resolved soon.

update 2 – 1 hour and 44 minutes after I posted this post I’m no longer banned from StumbleUpon. I put this down to you – my amazing readership who reacted with emails, Diggs, Tweets and more. I’ve never seen first hand what a blog community can achieve like this so quickly. Now if only we could pull ourselves together and work so hard to do something that REALLY matters like doing something about poverty or the environment…. :-)

update 3 – Check out this post that I’ve written the full story of how I got banned and unbanned from StumbleUpon in under two hours.

Add These Plurk Users as Your Friends

Today the Social Media Love-In here at ProBlogger continues with a list of 145 bloggers who use Plurk.

So far we’ve presented you with bloggers who use Digg, some that use StumbleUpon and a lot of them who use Twitter. Today’s list is smaller than the others but I think it is just as worthwhile as Plurk has become a key part of my daily social media interactions and is a place of wonderfully rich conversation and networking.

As usual – if you didn’t get your profile in the list – all is not lost because these 145 profiles are a great place to start and you can benefit from adding them as they’re a great bunch of people.