Digg Vs StumbleUpon Vs Reddit – What to Expect

Whether you’ve used them or not, you’ve probably seen social media sharing icons somewhere. They come in all different shapes and sizes.

The icons are used to easily click and share a website, blog post, article, photo, etc with everyone that you know and have connected with through those forms of social media.

Using social media benefits your traffic flow in multiple ways.

  1. Everyone using the same service will be able to see your new content when you post it.
  2. When it’s no longer new, it may still be found via search results.
  3. You get additional link-backs.
  4. There’s potential for a higher-ranked link (if your site isn’t popular on its own, it can piggyback on the popularity of the social media service).

Which one is the best? Well, there isn’t really a “best” or “worst” if you ask me. This is because, while the services are very similar, the crowds on each are not. Each service is a little bit unique as well, in that some have strict rules. Others do not. Today we’ll take a look at 3 of the most popular.

Digg Social Media Sharing IconDigg

You’ve probably seen Digg around many times, even if you didn’t realize it. The Digg icon in the image above has the name on it, but there are other icons that show a little character holding a shovel.

How does it work?

When you find something you like, you “Digg” it. If you don’t care for something, you “bury” it. People can “follow” you, and in turn you can also “follow” them. This shows you everything they Digg as well as everything they submit on their own (i.e. no one has ever “Dugg” it before).

Anything that you Digg or submit appears in the list of people “following” you. It also appears in the New section of Digg. Your own main feed is called My News and is generally made up of any Diggs or submissions from people you’re following. There’s also a section called Top News for everything that receives lots of attention.

What are the submission rules?

Generally speaking, there aren’t any. There aren’t limitations on how many Diggs, how often, or what site they are coming from. This means that Digg is great for self-promotion because you won’t get knocked for posting repeatedly from the same site. On the flip side, it also means people can spam the heck out of it (and many do).

Titles can be edited and a short description can be added when submitting a link. A thumbnail may also be chosen to represent the site, if images are available.

What might I expect to find?

You’ll see a lot of variety on Digg, and also ads. A lot of people use Digg specifically for (free) self-promotion. Some Digg users will follow you if you choose to follow them, which can be an easy way to build up a network of people. However, many people have hundreds or thousands of followers – so your submissions and Diggs could easily be overlooked.

I tend to see a lot of technology- and business-related headlines on Digg, but I Digg stuff from Cracked.com pretty often and it will frequently be promoted to Top News.

You’ll also find sponsored ads that show up in your newsfeed like any other website. However, Digg tells you upfront that it is a sponsored ad and who sponsored it. Ad pricing is based on a cost-per-click bid.

Digg allows you to create a short profile and include some links. Other than that, people learn about you based on your Diggs.

StumbleUpon Social Media Sharing IconStumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is pretty unique, and they have their own toolbar! The toolbar isn’t required, but it’s handy since you don’t have open a new window to “Like” something.

How does it work?

When you sign up for a StumbleUpon account, you choose topics that you are interested in. Then, you click “Stumble” and you’re taken to a random page that’s tagged with one or more of your interests and rate a page using a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. Once you’ve rated it, or when you submit a site, it’s added to your “Favorites” and they use it to customize your Stumbling experience.

You can also go through and manually look at your favorites as well as see sites in your list of interests. Whenever you “Like” something, any Topic it’s tagged as gets added to your list of Interests if not already in the list.

Rather than lump everything together, shared items are separated into Photos, Videos, Sites, etc. It’s a little more organized than Digg.

StumbleUpon lets you connect with friends from Facebook or people you email. Your profile on gives you all the typical “About Me”, “Movies”, “Books”, etc sections as well as why you’re there, if you smoke, your body type(?!) – basically your profile on StumbleUpon also doubles as a personals ad.

What are the submission rules?

You can Stumble and thumbs-up pretty much to your heart’s content. But you have to be careful what you submit.

When you submit a site to StumbleUpon, you are warned that you can only submit from a specific site so many times, to avoid coming off like spam. In other words, you’ll want to pick and choose what you submit. I could be wrong about the severity of the limit (I believe it’s 15), but it definitely exists.

Links/Titles cannot be edited when submitting. When submitting content, it must be marked if it’s NSFW (not safe for work) and tagged with the appropriate topics. This is helpful for use within the Stumbling community (that sounds like a bad neighborhood) but you have to hope that they are tagged properly. If someone tags something “Computers” and it’s about “Feminism” it may wind up messing up your experience. I’m sure they flag things like that, but they have to be discovered first.

What might I expect to find?

The beauty of StumbleUpon is that it is a pretty personalized experience. The sites you see are based on what you’re interested in, so in theory you should like it all.  And if you do see something you don’t like, you can tell StumbleUpon not to show you more like that.

Naturally, there’s advertising as well.

Frankly, the StumbleUpon advertising system sounds both intriguing and scary. Why? Well think about Google AdSense, sponsored listings, or your classic banner ad. When you see them, you know they’re ads. You choose to click them or not. StumbleUpon, on the other hand, uses a “Paid Discovery” method. It’s a good deal for the advertisers, but since Stumbling is random (within your interests) you could wind up visiting a bunch of ads and not realize it.

Like anything else, the more money you spend the better you’re treated. If you pay a little, you get the scraps left over after the rest of the group eats. If you pay more, you get the steak.

Standard Plan: $0.10 per visitor

  • Priority serving in content streams


Premium Plan: $0.25 per visitor

  • Guaranteed top serving priority in content streams

As an example, I just “Stumbled” a site called “How Life Works”. The design looks clean, professional, neat. However, it’s full of ads.

The first thing it took me to was “Are you tired of your slow PC?” In some cases this would be fine, but the site recommends a free trial software download that I’ve never heard of. Another page recommended some food supplement. Yet another recommends a CPAP machine.

It’s quite possible this is a paid discovery but there’s nothing to distinguish it with StumbleUpon’s system.


Reddit is broken down into multiple categories, and their rules are pretty strict. However, I feel as though the strict rules allow for more valuable content.

How does it work?

Reddit uses a simple “Up/Down” rating system. You submit a site or you vote a site up or down. You can then view everything that is recent, controversial, or falls in one of many other categories: Pics, WTF, Videos, WorldNews, TodayILearned, etc. They also allow plain comments – it creates a forum like environment but every comment can be voted up or down. Badges can be earned for submitting many links or making many comments.

What are the submission rules?

Reddit has LOTS of submission rules. It’s not really as complicated as it sounds, but each category has its own submission rules. For example, TodayILearned has its own rules:

  1. Submissions must be verifiable.
  2. No personal opinions.
  3. No politics.
  4. No news.
  5. Titles must…
    • a) Begin with “TIL …”
    • b) Be descriptive, concise and specific (e.g. notTIL something interesting about bacon“).
    • c) Be able to stand on their own without requiring readers to click on a link.
    • d) Can’t say “TIL about …”
    • e) Can’t say “TIL how to …”
  6. No misleading claims.

On top of that, you can only submit one site every 8 or so minutes. This time limit may be reduced as you increase your link karma (anyone know?). You can vote up or down all you want though.

Also, Reddit uses an archive system and you can’t vote on things past about one month old.

You may also get an error if you try to post too many things that don’t receive high ratings. However, it should only result in a delay (not a complete block).

One very unique feature of Reddit is the ability to create communities. You’d use these the same way as the other categories and you’d have control over who could view all your links posted to that community. They allow submission titles to be changed in an effort to attract more viewers if the actual title isn’t great.

What might I expect to see?

Reddit also uses ads, but they are obvious and based on cost-per-click bids.

Reddit seems to be very popular for submitting funny/odd pictures. It’s difficult to say since there are so many different Reddits (groups/categories) that you can submit to, and many times content falls under multiple categories. Funny photos for example falls under both “Pics” and “Funny”, however some people may also submit it to “Reddit.com” if they aren’t familiar with how it works (*guilty* – in the beginning).

Since users are limited on how frequently content can be submitted, content is likely to be more valuable. Who wants to sit at a computer and manually submit a link every 8 minutes? (If you try to submit within that time frame, it warns “You’re doing that too much, wait another __ minutes.”)

Which is best for some free advertising?

It all depends on what your site is about. If you have funny images, you can probably post to all three. Be careful doing that on StumbleUpon though, since they could ban you. Generally speaking, the StumbleUpon community is different from the Reddit community, which is different from the Digg community.

For example, this video on Cracked has:

  • 7,795 Diggs
  • 25,000 Stumbles
  • 212 combined Up Votes on Reddit

Note the HUGE difference between the three. One video, three wildly different opinions.

Another comedy article on Cracked:

  • 173 Diggs
  • 13 Stumbles
  • 9 Reddit Up Votes

That’s more comedy. How about another topic?

Let’s try one from the popular blogging site, ProBlogger.net:

  • 4 Diggs
  • 435 Stumbles
  • 1 Reddit Up Votes

What about a ACLU-related post from Network World?

  • 364 Diggs
  • 1 Stumbles
  • 2 Reddit Up Votes

How about an offbeat food post from OCWeekly?

  • 104 Diggs
  • 0 Stumbles
  • 0 Reddit Up Votes

I don’t think there is any one that’s better than the other. I would think it safe to say that one reason why some of those get Diggs where there are no Stumbles is simply due to a little Digg button right on the page. It’s easy and right there staring at you.

A similar observation could be possible with StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon has a toolbar you can use to give a thumbs-up without being taken to another page. You can also Stumble directly from that toolbar. They provide the toolbar option right away, when you initially sign up. Again, it’s convenience and visibility.

Reddit has a toolbar also, and Digg has a Firefox add-on, but they aren’t as boldly presented as StumbleUpon’s toolbar. StumbleUpon offers it to you immediately upon sign-up, and it pops up at certain times without my enabling it. I actually had to search for the toolbar for Reddit and Digg, if that says anything.

Why not throw everything to the wind and try all three? Use them all at once. Results will really be determined more by your title, image and/or description than anything else. Also by the content. As you can see, there are different types of audiences using all 3 services. Hopefully you can find the one that works best for you.

This entry was posted in Beginner, Blogging, General Techie, Intermediate, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Digg Vs StumbleUpon Vs Reddit – What to Expect

  1. Pingback: What the heck is Digg? « Windy Kai

  2. We’ve been using StumbleUpon to post each of our blog posts as per a suggestion by Word Press, but didn’t have a clue what Reddit and Digg were. You’ve cleared that up! Thank you!

    • Heather says:

      That’s awesome, glad I could be of assistance! 🙂 Although, the number of self-promotion mediums (Google +1, Facebook “Likes”, Twitter, etc.) are daunting!

      Have you had good results with StumbleUpon?

      • Yes and no. Some days, one submission drives views up like crazy and other days I can submit several and there’s nothing. That’s why I was curious about the other sites. I don’t use Google +1 (yet), but I do post in my personal FB page and I’m on Twitter too. It’s become way more work promoting than actually writing, which surprised us. Thanks again for your post!

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