StumbleUpon Stumbles – Traffic Drops 53%

StumbleUpon has long been a popular service amongst SEO geeks and bloggers alike who have used the service to generate more traffic and backlinks to their sites. The service made a few changes which did not bode well for them causing an initial drop when they went after a Pinterest-like user interface which started the traffic decline.

stumbleupon

In May of this year Garrett Camp, one of StumbleUpon’s co-founders left the company and since his departure things have continued to spiral downhill.

This may be a great example of when a company makes a change that they think users will love only to find-out that people hate it and thus users end up heading for the hills. As many of you know I’m a big fan of the Lean Startup Methodology which focuses heavily on customer development, it is this practice that could have showed StumbleUpon early-on that their new interface is not what customers wanted but instead what their product managers “assumed” people wanted.

Lean is all about validating your assumptions because until you do, they’re just assumptions and there’s nothing worse than paying a ton of developers and designers to work on something that nobody wants…just ask Microsoft, they’ve been doing it for years :)

I’d be interested to know if any of my readers have been using StumbleUpon over the last few years and what they think of the changes and impact these changes have had on the traffic that StumbleUpon sends to their site(s).

You can read more about this decline and some great data to boot on TechCrunch.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • JWhite November 6, 2012, 5:26 pm

    Very interesting. I’m an old school Stumble Diehard. I noticed that once they went with this new interface, the “pintrest” style as you called it, I started to have a lot of trouble with the plugin. The moved to Chrome didn’t help either. For a while it was kinda buggy and took some time to load. At some point either it stopped working completely, or they disabled it here at work. I used to love Stumble. I used Stumble to help find creative resource and various articles of interest. I kinda miss it… Maybe I’ll try again in the next few days.

  • Morgan November 6, 2012, 7:42 pm

    @JWhite – great feedback and I think many other StumbleUpon regulars definitely agree with you as the traffic numbers tell that story. What do you think StumbleUpon could do to turn it around? Would going back to their original interface be an improvement?

  • JWhite November 9, 2012, 5:15 pm

    I just reinstalled the chrome plugin and, wow, I now know what you mean by the “Pintrest” motif. I think it’s great, but it’s a pure 100% rip-off of Pintrest. Why not just use Pintrest? Stumble by it’s self is a great plugin, but as a central location for organizing your random pages of interest… Not so much. I think it was a nice attempt at driving more traffic to their sight, but the #1 feature of Stumble is the ability to *click* and go. I dont think the new Pintrest look is driving users away, so if anything returning to a previous UI would be detrimental at this point. Sadly I dont know what could help Stumble at this point. Their service depends on how much free time a user has. If the user is unable to invest a few hours in their product every day, surely you’ll notice a decline in the user base. Perhaps the summer weather had an effect? With wint around the corner user will be spending more time inside. Also, it could have something to do with un/employment. Companies cracking down on BS, or unemployed seeking employment. All of this is just speculation of course, it would be interesting to see a heat map, and perhaps the results of a usability test. There’s just to much going on to really pin the tail on the donkey.

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