StumbleUpon Explains The New iFrame, Removal Of Direct Links

    February 3, 2012

Concerning an article I wrote yesterday about StumbleUpon pushing their iFrame as well as eliminating any direct links that go back to the original content sources, StumbleUpon’s Direct of Communications, Mike Mayzel, got in touch with me to clarify the changes. After a few exchanged correspondences, here’s some more info on the Why for these changes:

First, Mayzel points out that the iframe isn’t actually anything new. “We have had the iFrame for years, but it appears some people think it’s brand new,” he said.

And while we’re on the subject of that ubiquitous iFrame, Mayzel said that the changes made to the StumbleBar were intended to enhance the Stumble experience. He said:

Under the previous implementation, signed-in users would accidentally click the ‘X’ in the web StumbleBar, after which there was no way to resume Stumbling without returning to (frustrating many users). As a result, with the new version we modified the StumbleBar to minimize accidental closures by signed-in users. Signed-in users can still sign out via the ‘Gears’ menu. And as has always been the case, non-signed-in users can exit the web StumbleBar by clicking the ‘X’. We are evaluating alternative solutions to the current signed-in implementation, including providing the ability to surface the source link (underlying URL) through one of the second level menus (e.g. Share, Comments or Gears).

There’s one down. And in case any of you cynics are wondering how StumbleUpon knows that users were “accidentally” clicking the ‘X’ as opposed to intentionally clicking it, Mayzel told me that they determined users were in fact doing it by accident from information they gathered from usability studies and feedback from their user community, such as forums and focus groups.

So as for the removal of those direct links to the content sources?

The current implementation was designed to mitigate the confusion many users experienced when clicking to inconsistently implemented third party links from (i.e., will or won’t there be a web StumbleBar on the page she clicked on). To address the concerns raised by SearchEngineLand et al. about the possible adverse impact of our current approach on SEO, we are working on adding direct links that refer back to the source content in a way that both minimizes user confusion and preserves SEO benefits.

And for anyone worried about the impact any of these changes might have on SEO value of the links indexed in StumbleUpon, Mayzel said, “We believe the changes have had minimal impact on SEO.” In the event that any unintended negative effects arise, he added that they are “working on adding direct links that refer back to the source content in a way that both minimizes user confusion and preserves SEO benefits.”

If you’re a regular Stumbler, do these clarifications alleviate any of the concerns you had about the recent changes to StumbleUpon? Let us know in the comments below.