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StumbleUpon releases new widget for news sites

StumbleUpon has released a new widget for news sites and blogs designed to help readers find content that is relevant to them.

It will highlight content that millions users of StumbleUpon, a social aggregator, have recommended and can be used by news outlets to “surface content on the site with the best shelf life”, according to a post on ReadWriteWeb.

The widget comes in three sizes and can be added by copying a simple line of code, as StumbleUpon explains on its blog.

ReadWriteWeb’s post explains why web publishers should sit up, take notice, and consider creating a StumbleUpon widget.

StumbleUpon claims to be the largest non-Facebook referrer of social media traffic. The company is not specific, but that would likely include Twitter, Reddit, Digg, XYDO and other similar tools for publishers. As of April 2010, StumbleUpon funneled twice as much traffic to publishers as Twitter. The user base is predominately between 18 and 34 years old and split 54 per cent male to 46 per cent female.

StumbleUpon has a couple of other publisher products as well, including badges (which look like any normal share button) and a URL shortener (su.pr). The company claims that publishers get 20-25 per cent more traffic from StumbleUpon when they institute badges.

There are a few drawbacks for publishers. A lot of publishers choose to self-aggregate content within posts or certain locations within their sites. The StumbleUpon widget would take that control from them and automate through the company’s index. Another drawback is widget/badge/button fatigue. Share buttons and third-party widgets have to be maintained by publishers and the more of them there are, the more of a time-consuming process it becomes. While the StumbleUpon widget takes up space where there would otherwise be nothing (or unsold ad inventory), it is another piece of real estate on the page.

Increasingly, it is hard to justify clutter for the sake of utilising empty space. Facebook and Twitter both have widgets as well, and those ecosystems have millions more users than StumbleUpon does. Sometimes, simpler is just better.

What do you think? Are you likely to install a StumbleUpon widget? Post your comment below.

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