Let me introduce Stumbleupon and Digg first in case you never heard of this services before. (must be living on the moon for a couple of years, uhm?) Every user may post and vote for articles on Digg. New articles are kept in the Upcoming Stories section for a maximum of 24 hours. If the article receives enough votes in that time it will be transferred to the frontpage which drives incredible traffic to the website where the article is hosted. If the votes are not sufficient it will be removed and can only be reached using the site search.
Stumbleupon on the other hand is using a different approach. Their users vote and review sites using a toolbar. The main feature of Stumbleupon is the stumble feature. You select a category and click on stumble and a random website will be loaded. Websites will be shown more often the more votes and reviews they receive.
The difference between Digg and Stumbleupon (from a webmasters point of view) is that Digg is far more controlled by its users than Stumbleupon is. If you add a link to an article on your blog you will probably get flamed and dugg down pretty fast. The concept of Digg is that users decide if a story is worth making it to the frontpage. They can do this by "digging" (positive) the story or by "burying" (negative) it. The problem is that some "gangs" work on Digg that digg down articles as soon as they appear.
Lets say you post an article about a new version of Firefox, link to the Mozilla ftp site and describe the new features. This article will surely be dugg down simply because it is not linking directly to the Mozilla ftp site from Digg. If however a authority site comes along, let us say Lifehacker, Pc Magazine or Gizmodo the same article will make it to the frontpage without any problems. Even if they report about it later than you did.
The conclusion here is: Digg is great for sites that have a certain authority. Lifehacker could probably submit a article with no information whatsoever and would still make it to the frontpage.
Stumbleupon on the other hand is different. If you submit your site to the service it will drive traffic to your site right away. Not that much at the beginning but it is targeted traffic. If you do get additional reviews and "thumbs up" your traffic level will rise. I experienced it myself that you can very well get hundreds of daily visitors over a long period with 3-4 reviews of the site. Getting this amount of reviews is normally not a big problem, even for sites with not that many visitors. Remember that not only your regular visitors but also the users that visit your site from Stumbleupon may give you a thumbs up.
My conclusion is rather obvious. If you have a new website and want to get some traffic use Stumbleupon. Digg is only worth it if you are writing about something exclusively, new or groundbreaking.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.