StumbleUpon Kills Direct Links, iFrames Everything

Story Update: February 3, 2012 - StumbleUpon Responds To Concerns About Links & Iframing

StumbleUpon, who happens to be one of the more popular and successful social media sites with over 20 million users (doubling from 10 million in about a year and a half), recently launched one of the biggest redesigns I can remember… basically changing everything about the site as a whole.

Having recently removed blogs, themes, and groups off the site, the new changes continue to move away from any focus on the site and more towards getting users back into the toolbar, whether iframed or installed.

Here is a video StumbleUpon released about the new changes:

One particular change that really surprised me was the removal of all direct links pointing back to the content sources from within StumbleUpon.

Instead on all content pages within StumbleUpon, you have a single button saying ‘Stumble This’, which when clicked takes you to an iframed version of the content.

Not only are they now iframing all content from the site, but if your logged into StumbleUpon, they are not even offering a way to remove the iframed toolbar, leaving you in stuck in the iframed version of the site. If you are not logged in, then there is an option to click X in the right side of the toolbar to remove it.

What is even more surprising is the lack of uprise from the tech industry and marketers on this recent change. When Digg did the same thing by launching their DiggBar, the tech industry was up in arms and the DiggBar even had an option to close, which StumbleUpon’s version does not.

Additionally not a week or two before the change, a StumbleUpon employee discussed with me how happy they were that StumbleUpon pages had so much SEO value for the content owners… well not anymore.

Maybe the iframe concerns people had a few years ago are just a thing of the past, as even Digg re-launched their DiggBar once they saw StumbleUpon get away with it. I for one find it annoying and unnecessary, especially without the ability to remove the toolbar.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search Headlines | StumbleUpon


About The Author: is a social media marketing consultant and entrepreneur, who specializes in social media marketing, content marketing, and viral content creation. He blogs regularly at

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  • Michael Martinez

    Until someone can figure out how to “NoFollow” iFramed links, I suppose this really is a non-event as far as SEO is concerned.

  • Shelly Kramer

    I tried to use it today – just browsing some content that I might be interested in. Found it very annoying, hard to understand, wonky interface. Got annoyed and went somewhere else :)

  • C.Z.

    I noticed the changes the other week when I was setting up a new blog for a client. Looks like I will no longer be using Stuble as my secret SEO weapon to get people to the top quick. Boo StumbleUpon..

    Oh, and very annoying as a user too. I like to bookmark, send, etc. by using the actual domain name.. Let’s protest..

  • Alison Wright

    I don’t use the new SU because I hate it. I stick with the old one. Plus I don’t use their toolbar on their site. I use the toolbar for my browser.

  • rakers8

    Perhaps the iFrame change was to help the user experience? I haven’t used Stumble since switching to Chrome because their extension was barely operable. The iFrame seems to be a browser-universal solution to that and eliminates the need of installing their toolbar to get the intended experience. Furthermore, it should weed out websites and users whose intentions are *only* SEO purposes or anyone that isn’t Stumbling *truly* unique/interesting/relevant websites. Think about it from their perspective; Would you want every mundane, startup internet company (who can leverage/abuse a lot of arbitrary “Likes”) showing up in the non-relevant interest categories?

    Stumbles modus operandi isn’t being an SEO utility. I imagine they do not want users signing up with the intentions of leveraging traffic to their site, rather they sign up with the intentions of discovering new ones. From my perspective, this will improve their product.

    Sucks for seo’s though.

  • GTT

    I think the changes at StumbleUpon are based on trying to become more like PinInterest?

  • catkins10

    I can’t see the bonus for users or SEOs. Does anyone have any recommendations of the most authoritative social bookmarking pages? Previously StumbleUpon was often recommended, but in light of this who are the next best?

  • Stephen Quinn

    Or you could add
    if (top !== self) top.location.href = self.location.href;
    just before the ending head tag.

  • Chas

    StumbleUpon has stumbled with their design and function changes. The new logo looks like an infantile symbol of an IUD and they have removed too many user choices. I closed my account after the design changes were implemented.
    Pinterest is driving traffic by it’s Silicon Valley influence among the techie community and I believe half of the effusive hyperbole written about it in internet tabloids such as mushable is paid for. Another factor to it’s traffic numbers, is it’s ‘gifting’ program- we will see what happens to traffic if that feature is removed and writers get tired of coming up with glowing reviews from some different angle, whether they are paid for, or not. As the afterglow subsides, I believe the site will fade like Myspace.

  • Saul

    It the court of social media public opinion, SU is going to lose this fight – to keep us in the SU jail of their toolbar. We just need to rally behind the best noisemakers – as this post and author has done – and they will knock that nonsense off. It is what makes me jump in, get my stuff done, and NOT go Stumbling: the non-access to URLs that are without their SU-frame.

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