Stumbled Upon StumbleUpon

June 22, 2006

Last week while going through our webstats (we use IndexTools) Mike found a referrer from StumbleUpon. Having never heard of this site we checked it out and admittedly it took quite some time before either of us understood what the heck it was. As far as I can tell now, it is a community bookmarking type site (a la

Here’s How StumbleUpon Works:

1. After downloading the app and installing on your Firefox toolbar (it don’t think it works with IE) you can select from the following list of categories:


2. You then click the stumble button in the toolbar and you are presented with a random website. At that point you can flag it as either “like” or “dislike” with up and down thumb signs and then can comment on or tag the site.


3. Other users can see what sites you like and interact with you much like with MySpace.

Seems a lot like; however, as a business we can setup a campaign for our site to show up and we pay StumbleUpon 5 cents per page view. I thought this sounded fairly reasonable and not knowing what kind of traffic we could expect, I gave it a try. Within our first 8 hours of trying it out, we maxed out our visits at 500 and used up our $25 USD.

The traffic seems quite good considering the small investment. However looking closer at the results and thinking about how the users actually view your pages (normally a quick scan then they move on to the next page), it is clear that this is not very high quality traffic. After 500 visits, we had only one conversion. Since a one day test is never very indicative of whether a campaign will succeed, we added an additional $50 and tried to narrow the types of people we could target (aged 25 to 40, interested in web development). We quickly burned through the last $50 and only saw a total of five conversions who have yet to actually properly trial our product.

We will certainly keep an eye on StumbleUpon, but unless they reduce their prices or have a better way to drill down prospective visitors, we will not be trying any more campaigns anytime soon (although Mike really likes to see that jump in traffic).

about the author

Co-Founder & VP of Operations, FreshBooks Levi is a professional engineer with a BEng from the University of Victoria. Before co-founding FreshBooks as the VP of Operations, Levi managed projects at Apex Systems Integrators Inc., where his clients included Canadian Tire, Nestlé and Parmalat. Levi’s long term goals include: never losing the contest to wear shorts to the office for as long as humanly possible, some day growing back his mullet he had in the eighties and getting on the jumbotron at the Raptors game at least once a year.