What’s Killing Stumbleupon? A March Towards Extinction

What’s Killing Stumbleupon? A March Towards Extinction


Update: new numbers from Compete seem to suggest the fall has been stopped, but the growth strategy has not been articulated, nor has it kicked in.

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And while a very nice Marketing Director contacted me to give me some insights into their new strategy, she was not able to go on record with any helpful information. Here’s to hoping they have a plan. 1.7m uniques is nothing to sneeze at, but I believe SU has some work to do.

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StumbleUpon is evolving, but it may be hurting its relevance within the social marketing community. We saw this happen with Digg, the fall can be swift and permanent. If StumbleUpon doesn’t correct it’s misstep it could fall into the used-to-be-relevant network category.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Stumbleupon, so I was frustrated a few months ago when the site seemed to have a hard time retaining my login-credentials. Then, for a few weeks, even when I had my newly refreshed user name and password combo, I still couldn’t get in. But the worst was yet to come.

I don’t Stumble as a user, but as a content promoter. As part of my socialization routine, I would stumble every new article I published. And the returns, while never viral, did contribute to the findability and perhaps even the Google page rank of my writing.

Back in the glory days, StumbleUpon gave us the ability to classify our content, through a massive dropdown list. But today, if you haven’t submitted content for a while, and you can get your password reset, you get this excitingly generic screen.

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and this handy congrats screen.

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So now, I’m guessing SU does all the heavy lifting and places our LIKE within their system, somehow, from tags or content, or … Nothing. Perhaps it’s just a LIKE. But the taxonomy was part of the magic. Now it’s on autopilot.

But in looking into SU I now see that the company has focused on iOS and Android versions of their “discovery” platform. (Guess I should go use the app, and see how it works… nah…)


And in the transformation, SU purchased the video discovery app called 5by. (Perhaps I should go try that app out, as well. Nah)



So, overall, let’s look at SU’s ascendency or the opposite.

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click to enlarge

As you can see, according to Shareaholic, SU is still #4 but their numbers peaked in March – May of 2014 and have been on a steady decline, mirroring our Compete graph from the top of this article. SU is on the way DOWN. I’m wondering what their plan is. Or perhaps, since Shareaholic is a web-based tracking service, not particularly geared towards mobile, we need to look at a deeper stat from some websites I have access to.

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click to view on Slideshare

Here’s my overview of what’s happening with StumbleUpon.

  • Technical troubles synchronizing their mobile app with the website caused login problems
  • New LIKE add does not allow for user classification
  • Focus on mobile space may be killing their web dominance
  • #4 Social referral network, but dropping
  • Massive spike in activity March – May 2014 just before the dropping influence
  • New video-focused app 5by – may be derailing their previous success in the web space

And Yes, I Stumbled this article. (grin)

Following up, I got this nice tweet from StumbleUpon’s Marketing Director.

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John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great information, John. Stunning to see it all laid out like that. Totally agree with your analysis—I also notices when the drop down disappeared and gave a silent ‘WTF’ the moment I saw that.

  2. stumbleupon.com/submit allows you to select a topic for your page if that’s important to you. Personally, I think not having to scroll through 500+ topics and selecting one is a good thing. Auto-classification is an improvement.

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