A Stumbling Improvement

I’m quite a fan of StumbleUpon as it has sent me a consistent trickle (100 or so per day) of traffic over the years. A few weeks ago I came across a plugin that I thought might help:
Increase Sociability WordPress Plugin

Basically what happens is it checks the refer (what page the visitor is coming from) and if it matches either Digg.com or StumbleUpon.com then it will simply welcome the user and ask them to give you a positive vote if they like the page.


Along with using the plugin I also thought it would help if I hid any prominent Adsense ads from these visitors (social traffic is more likely to be pissed at adverts than click them). To do this the code is pretty simple (expecially when copied from the fore mentioned plugin):

if($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'] != '')
$URL = parse_url($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER']);
if ($URL['host'] == "www.stumbleupon.com" || $URL['host'] == "buzz.stumbleupon.com" || $URL['host'] == "digg.com" || $URL['host'] == "www.digg.com")
$noadsense = 1; // Check this variable before displaying ads

So far the results have been pretty good. Three different stories created nice peaks in traffic. The two most popular being:

The fact that Stumblers like knuckle dusters and knifes probably means Stumblers are best not messed with 🙂 .

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Thank you for sharing. I just installed this plugin. Let’s see how well it does for me.

  2. I’m currently testing out a similar thing called Who Sees Ads - I’ve got it set up so that only search engine visitors see the ads on the first page on the site - my thinking being anyone else probably wouldn’t click and if a search engine visitor clicks through onto a second page (and don’t see an ad), there’s a chance they may become a regular visitor which could potentially be more profitable over time.

    Zath’s last blog post..Prison Break Season 4 Trailer

  3. Gotta say I’m really surprised at the success of the 950,000 Volt Knuckle Duster post. Not because it’s not an interesting product, but because it doesn’t seem the sort of thing that tends to do well on Stumbleupon. Kudos for getting it 🙂

  4. is your ultimate goal with the Stumblers to get them to bookmark/subscribe? because as soon as they rate you, they’re taken to the next stumble.

    Jeff from Craziest Gadgets’s last blog post..Star Wars In Your Pocket Keyring Sound Effect Gadget

    • The ideal aim is to get them to subscribe and then vote, but if they just vote (hopefully thumbs up) then that in turn should send more traffic to do the same. In the custom message that is displayed I dod give them a prominent link for subscribing.

  5. Quick question: do you have some sort of caching on the site? Because surely that would ruin the conditional ads?

    just curious, because I think it’s a brilliant idea.

    James’s last blog post..Opera Mobile 9.5 is SLICK!

    • Fantastic question and great point. I don’t use caching because of tweaks like that, though when I find an easy way of sorting that I will.

  6. I’m just glad that most of the computer geeks who spend their time on Stumbleupon never leave the house, so even if they buy those gadgets we should be safe.

    Seriously though, in regards to the plugin: at what point would you say it’s worth putting the work into beefing up the stumbleupon interface? I don’t get all that much traffic from it, so I don’t know if it’s worth it.

    Justin Cook’s last blog post..What to do when you’re dropped from Google’s index

  7. Thats a lovely bit of code, great find, that’ll be used by myself shortly then!

  8. i am gonna install the plug in.thanks for sharing with us.

  9. Excellent plugin, let me use it for somedays and post a feedback on it!

    Amit Bhawani’s last blog post..50 Best Rapidshare Search Engines & Tools

  10. Hmmm, some scary gadgets, but the traffic is nice!

  11. I like this plugin!

  12. Thanks for the mention Al. As the text that is displayed is flexible, you could add an RSS button, or a bookmark reminder and link, or even a link to your StumbleUpon profile.

    Which plugin uses
    $noadsense = 1;

    Becky @ Preblogging.com

    preblogging’s last blog post..Wordze Keyword Tool - July Offer

  13. Hi, I just installed the plugin. On the config menu, where it says your custom site, do we change that to our url or keep yours there? Also, the code to hide adds, do I just add that to each of the boxes in the config window with the rest of the message? And how do I put a subscribe to my feed link there? Sorry, lot of questions I know, Thanks in advance for any help!

    cori- http://www.lyricalcontent.net‘s last blog post..Never Underestimate Yourself!

  14. Thank you for sharing, this is an awesome find.

  15. i do need to find a way to leverage stumbleupon a little bit more for my blog. even just a little bit of traffic from there would be welcome. 🙂

    kouji’s last blog post..haiku poem: nature (sand)

  16. The problem with that code is it won’t catch ALL traffic from StumbleUpon.

    If people are actually on a StumbleUpon user’s page and click the link to get to your site, the REFER URL will be username.stumbleupon.com where ‘username’ is that person’s name.

    I played with this last year and had to develop a custom script in PHP to handle that.

    I lost the script with hard drive problems, and have yet to rewrite it.
    Basically, I parsed the REFER URL as above, then used a concatenation string to reverse it, so it showed as moc.nopuelbmuts.emanresu//:ptth

    Then the script would merely look for the part of the URL that says ‘moc.nopuelbmuts.’

    This way it would catch all traffic from http://www.stumbleupon.com and username.stumbleupon.com, and even the SU “Buzz” page (buzz.stumbleupon.com).

  17. Thanks for revealing the code. The plugging is very helpful to further improve page design, content and even a rough idea about number of visitors. The plugging will help in web development. I love positive development.

  18. I love that plugin. How I wish i can use it on blogger.

  19. Wow, really cool plugin. I suppose you could tailor that to any site? Very very cool. Thanks a lot. Definitely don’t want to mess with Stumblers.

    Mike @ Diet Blog’s last blog post..Omega-6 And Saturated Fats Should Be Replaced With Omega-3

  20. Bill Perry says:

    I made something very similar a couple years back for my own sites.

    One thing that I think may be missing from the one here is checking for traffic from StumbleUpon user pages.

    Example, my StumbleUpon page is http://williamrperry.stumbleupon.com

    Anyone who clicks to a page from my profile, the refer shows up as http://williamrperry.stumbleupon.com

    I got around that by basically taking the refer string and reversing it, then checking to see if it started with “moc.nopuelbmutS”

  21. SU has received much less mention lately, due to the popularity of both FB & Twitter causing them to get all the attention. I’ve found SU to be very effective at driving lots of traffic quickly, but the bounce rate is usually just crazy. It does look very impressive on analytics, but how effective it truly is is debatable.

  22. How do you get stumbleupon to find your website. I’ve installed the plugin onto the blog but how does one get the website crawled by Stumbleupon…. am I being dim!

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