Stumbleupon sucks

Sorry for the title, but it matches what people search for. I have been seriously trying out “web 2.0” social networking for the first time and I got very annoyed.

So, the basic Stumbleupon service works OK, although you seem to need a lot of time to waste to become a heavy user. Edit 6/7/07: just to clarify this for people who are annoyed with me over this post (presumably without reading it properly). I think the basic Stumbleupon service is OK, but paypal sucks, which means paying for any of Stumbleupon’s paid services also sucks.

The problems come when you try to purchase a paid service. Stumbleupon claims that you can pay by credit card or through Paypal. However when you get to a payment page you find that you cannot pay by credit card without opening a Paypal account.

So if you live in one of the neary 90 countries from which Paypal does not let you sign up, Stumbleupon do not want your money. If you do not want a Paypal account, Stumblupon does not want your money.

What is really annoying is that they are not up-front about this. So, for example, someone wanting to advertise through Stumbleupon will only find this out after wasting time setting everything up. Similarly someone who signs up intending to use the paid for “sponsors” service, will also only find out they cannot after signing up.

There are many small businesses that offer multiple methods of payment.

In fact, Stumbleupon are big enough that they could quite easily set up a merchant account and link to a payment gateway, and process credit cards in an integrated way, like Google and Amazon.

I have no objection to Paypal not wanting my money. No one is forced to do business with me, or anyone else. However, they could tell us so at the start and not waste our time.

Edit 4th July 2007: Paypal has sort of fixed their problems, so you can use their services from other countries, but it can involve jumping through more hoops than is worth it. However they are less likely than ever to give customers an alternative to Paypal, because Stumbleupon has now been bought by eBay.

Since I wrote this I have also tried the Stumbleupon “sponsor” advertising. Its effectiveness is pretty much what you would expect from their FAQs: good for initial promotion of a site to their particular audience.

6 thoughts on “Stumbleupon sucks

  1. This is my reply to a comment that I deleted because the commentator linked to their Stumbleupon page which had porn on it (OK, I should have probably removed the link instead).

    Except that Paypal would not let me use, OR EVEN CLOSE the account until I “verified” (I think that was their term) it by sending them identifying documentation. It is not as simple as you make out.

    Secondly, the payment mechanism is an inescapable part of the paid services. If Amazon’s payment system was bad, I would say that Amazon sucks too.

  2. 1) Advertising: which I have paid for.
    2) There are premium versions of the service. I would not pay for them, but I assume some people do.

  3. I like the title. The traffic is useless. It is just click through traffic. I think paying for it would be crazy.

  4. I’ve been having weird-ass problems with SU lately.
    If I don’t thumb a website up or down, sometimes it will come up again later.
    It keeps giving me Ruby-related programming articles even though I’ve thumbed down every single Ruby article I’ve ever seen.

    And on YouTube, it is knowingly sending me pages in the wrong language.

  5. I’m going to agree that stumbleupon traffic sucks. If getting a lot of hits to your site is all you’re after then maybe it’ll work for you, but as someone who sells a product online the traffic from Stumble, Digg and Delicious do not convert for me. I sell RPG and steampunk fantasy fiction PDF’s, earlier this week I had 13 visits from an Enworld news post, an RPG focused site of which 1 visit converted to a download/purchase of one of my books. This week I also have over 1,400 visits from Stumbleupon within the last three days, none of which converted to a product sale. So what did the traffic do? Well according to my logs the stumble visits had a bounce rate of 40% on my blog, and an average time of 2+ minutes. Not bad in my opinion for people being interested, and perhaps it will lead to word of mouth about my site, but ultimately no one bought anything from these sites, they just read my posts.

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