StumbleUpon Defined vs. Digg, Google, MySpace and More

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I recently had the privilege of interviewing Garrett Camp of StumbleUpon, which recently reached 1.8 million users.

I typed four pages of notes in 8 point font. And thus was born the StumbleUpon Interview Series!

In this first part of the series I seek to define the social media site StumbleUpon, first briefly with conceptual, jargony terminology and then by comparing it to Digg, Google, MySpace, and Amazon.

After talking with StumbleUpon’s CEO Garrett Camp, here’s my definition:

StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that recommends content based on explicit requests at the outset (interest indication radial buttons) and implicit usage data over time.

Simple? Yes. Addictive? HIGHLY.

So first let’s look at StumbleUpon vs. Digg:

  1. Both are built through user submissions
  2. Both deliver a sense of “discovery” to visitors
  3. Digg lacks personalization and does not recommend stories
  4. Nor does Digg cluster its users and make recommendations based on social network
  5. StumbleUpon doesn’t cover breaking news well – tech, world or otherwise
  6. In Digg you see all stories at once – in StumbleUpon you see one at a time, have the attention to react to it, and then move to the next making for a more considered rating
  7. As a user I find it more likely that I will get that wonderful, magic sense of “Discovery” if I cruise StumbleUpon. Digg is good for a lift too though, and it may be that I’m slightly out of their audience 🙂

Now, here’s StumbleUpon vs. Google:

  1. Both were created as ways to find things on the web.
  2. StumbleUpon emphasizes discovery over utility, and what Camp called “non textual retrieval”
  3. Google is a librarian, while StumbleUpon is your tv except there’s something good on every channel that your friends liked and you liked too
  4. Google’s making ga-billions. SU’s not yet but could, especially with SU video 😀
  5. Both allow advertising in the index, and how users interact with/rate these paid listings affect how often these ads show

Here’s StumbleUpon vs. MySpace:

  1. Both have profile pages that show personal interests and photos of users
  2. StumbleUpon is built around an information and entertainment discovery recommendation experience where profiles lead back to discovery, while MySpace is built around the profile viewing and community communication experience.
  3. It would be wicked if SU and MySpace could converge. Innit.

StumbleUpon vs.

  1. They are both ways to save and record wonderful bits of information you experience as you cruise the web and they both have browser-side gizmos for users.
  2. The interfaces are radically different, though I suspect you’ll get more link and SEM value from in the short term.

StumbleUpon vs. Amazon

  1. They are both masters of recommendations.
  2. StumbleUpon has not yet mastered monetization.

Watch for upcoming articles in this Garrett Camp interview series – I’ll dig into the roots of StumbleUpon, how it will conquer the media world, and how you can pay and create content to market to its 1.8 million users.

Comment Bait : So how do YOU define StumbleUpon?

Garrett French
Garrett French is a long time search marketer, blogger and conversatrional marketing consultant.
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  • DanMac

    I’ve been a big user of Digg but I recently started using StumbleUpon and I have to say I’m beginning to like it more

  • Garrett French

    for marketing purposes, entertainment or both? 😉


  • Bob

    I found this page through
    StumbleUpon 😀

  • Garrett French

    that was quick… strike that “breaking news” business I mentioned above 😉

  • Jim Cook

    Lately, I’ve notice the “Stumble” effect happening within a few hours of a post. This is a big change that has happened very recently. Also, I’ve noticed a surge of Stumbles following a story going popular on Digg suggesting that the user base of the two overlap.

  • Garrett French

    Hey Jim – thanks for the insight. I’d kinda assumed there wasn’t much of an overlap.

  • Wedding Favors

    I’ve been a user of StumbleUpon for over a year and truly love the plug-in. I have found some wonderful websites that I would never have found if I was just surfing through search engines.

  • Marisa DeSalles

    Although SU may not pay off in links, it more than makes up for that in targeted traffic volume alone. Plus it’s my favorite addiction. Ever.

  • Garrett French

    Hey Wedding Favors – yup! I found their video section to be especially delicious and spent hours watching it just like I used to spend hours watching cartoons when I was a kid…

    Marisa – what kinds of content and for what kinds of products or services have you found to be effective in SU? I’d sure like to hear from you for future SEJ articles 🙂

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Good point Marisa, I agree in terms of targeted traffic. I’d like to have stats from SU on the amount of users who are bloggers.

    Are you all bloggers and do you sometimes blog about what you StumbleUpon?

  • Gina

    I’ve been an SU addict for almost 2 years; it’s how i found this papge. The longer you stumble and rate sites, the better quality websites that suited to your tastes, you get. Plus the people I have ended up being “clustered” with have been great.

  • Cromagnum55

    Stumbleupon has changed my life. I’ve discovered a lot of great sites and learned a lot of new things. For those who love learning, Sumbleupon is a very addictive tool.

  • Jens P. Berget

    I have just joined SU and it seems to be ok so far. I haven´t had the time to do much other than view other SU sites.

    But I have been a member of MyBLogLog since early January, and I really enjoy that community.

  • Garrett French

    Allen Stern wrote and hit me with a great post he wrote that will make its way into my future posts:

    Also, this post on “why digg failed” gave me a bit more insight into why I think I like SU better 🙂

  • Allen

    Thanks Garrett!

  • Rick

    Joined StumbleUpon 2 months ago. Love it. I couldn’t get into any of the others.

  • J.C.

    S/U offers so much more to me than those other communities (I am on those mentioned and more)
    I spend more time on other Stumblers pages than I do using the Stumble button. There are those in the community who constantly find unique and interesting pages –
    I am
    I recommend you spend some time looking over the S/U landscape – I find it the most entertaining of the social networks I know of

  • Baxter Tocher

    A comparison with SpicyPage would be interesting too:

  • Elias Kai Search Marketing Specialist

    I have to admit that this article shows the truth behind SU and my experience shows that the trust factors are higher on SU than Google and all others.

    Google is built on social hubs and so does StumbleUpon with more insights of identity. You will get closely connected to new and older friends than on any other level.
    Just like all new social music sites.
    SU Me and many old ones.

    One problem is that SU could not identify how unique those SU users are, would any marketers be able to get 50 users name, sure yes.
    As from traffic conversion sides, SU is not bad at all and I would vote for SU vs Digg and myspace.

  • Mateo

    Stumbleupon and myspace should never merge. That’d be goddawful

  • Binh Nguyen

    I like your comparisons and i will put it onto a post soon. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ray

    I’ve been using Stumbleupon for 3 months now. Stumbleupon has been a great way to get traffic to my new site. I use Stumbleupon daily.

  • Inside the Webb

    I think it really depends on what the user wants out of it. If you’re looking for something similar to a newspaper you’ll probably enjoy Digg or Reddit more. The newer generation enjoy StumbleUpon more because it shows you articles that seem like you would enjoy, literally at the click of a button.