Are Social Bookmarking Sites Dying?

By Daniel Scocco

A couple of weeks ago Technorati released the State of The Blogosphere 2010, and one part of their report that caught my attention was the traffic sources breakdown.

The report illustrated that bloggers are getting social media traffic from two websites mainly: Facebook and Twitter. All the others have been dwarfed, as you can see in the image below.

social-bookmarking-dead

Some years ago getting in the front page of Digg, StumbleUpon or Delicious was the dream of any website owner, but it looks like that is not the case anymore. Facebook and Twitter are the only options right now.

And there is even more evidence to confirm this trend. Digg launched a new version some months ago, and it pretty much collapsed ever since. Its loyal users abandoned the ship claiming that the new version completely changed the dynamic of the site, and traffic is going down hill. I remember that a couple of years ago the top stories would get as much as 3,000 diggs, and now they get 200 or 300.

What about Delicious? It was one of the first social bookmarking sites, and it was tremendously useful, with a huge number of users who loved the service. Last week Yahoo! (the company who bought the site back in 2005) announced that they will either be closing Delicious down or selling it to someone.

I haven’t seen any news about StumbleUpon, but I don’t think it is going that well either. I used to get a lot of traffic from it on most of my websites, and that is all gone. Most of my webmaster friends are seeing the same pattern, so people seem not to be stumbling that much anymore.

All this background information to ask the following questions: Are social bookmarking sites dying? If so, why did this happen? The idea of bookmarking web pages socially seemed like a solid one, and if you ever used it you certainly saw the benefits. Despite that users are moving on to new and different things. What do you think?




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41 Responses to “Are Social Bookmarking Sites Dying?”

  • Pumama

    I think because Facebook and Twitter are better than all other.
    Digg,Stumble is also good but i dont use :D.

  • Lynn

    I think it is pretty obvious what is going on. The sites like Digg allow me to rank a site for the world (strangers) to see. Twitter and FB allow me to share a site directly with people I know and want to influence. Telling friends a story beats telling strangers a story nearly every time.

  • Marty

    “Despite that users are moving on to new and different things.” What are the new and different things they are moving on to?

  • Matej

    I never used these sites to bookmark something for later, I’ve used them to simply share links with my contact list. And nowadays, mostly all people you want to share links to are on Facebook and Twitter. These two websites are way more social and that’s why people are using them.

    I’m actually happy with it, traffic from Twitter and Facebook is great for me.

    Reddit is awesome website for sharing stuff, very active, not sure how much it’s useful for bloggers though…

    • Daniel Scocco

      Good point.

      • Web Marketing Tips

        another website which is coming under limelight is blogengage or similar to that.

        Quite good one if you are blogger.

  • zaki.alakhdar

    I think that it true that people really can’t be in all those places at one time, so I suggest that you post some solid tips of how to gain trafic from Twitter and Facebook, I put all my posts on Twitter and Facebook but I have very poor trafic from them!

  • wasim ismail

    Social bookmarking sites have a certain period and like craze when everyones on them, general public, business, celebrities, but after a while they get bored, or something new comes up, thats the main reason why the social bookmakring site are slowly dyeing, but on the other hand, bookmarking sites are also introducing new features and trends every other month, which is keeping users locked in.

  • Justin Germino

    I do think Social Media sites like Twitter/Facebook are going to be primary sources for information while social bookmarking sites decrease, they are just too static and impersonal in most cases. I still see lots of life in StumbleUpon however and some new ones rising for niche blog categories that help smaller blogs who still measure visitors in a few thousand visits per month instead of tens of thousands.

  • Young

    Yes, I think all the social bookmarking sites are dying, and only Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and some other social networking sites will survive in the future, since the internet is nearly same as the real world where people make friends and do business one to one, face to face.

    • Ivan Walsh

      Agree with that and say that LinkedIn is really underreated re lead generation and brand development.

      @ivanwalsh

  • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

    I have found that SU doesn’t work like it once did.

    Now, under its new algorithim, even a few stumbles won’t send an article out.

    It used to be, that a single discovery on SU would send an article out to hundreds of people.

    That said, if you look at sites like ‘the oatmeal’ they’re still getting massive hits from SU. I would guess that with a humor site such as that, enough people give thumbs up to make it so that SU actually sends it out to its users.

    I have no idea why SU changed its system, seemingly for the worst!

    • Daniel Scocco

      Yeah I also noticed some sites still get good traffic from SU, but very few of them as you mentioned.

      The average joe used to be able to play in SU too, but not anymore apparently.

  • Josh Garcia

    I found that it is a lot easier to get your content read in Facebook and Twitter than some of these social bookmarking sites.

    Now, the beauty of using social bookmarking site it allows you to create social backlinks.

    • Web Marketing Tips

      yes people started to use it as to get backlinks.

      There are still many websites which is providing do follow links.

  • Anastasia

    I never used bookmarting sites and didn’t understand why they are better than browser bookmarking. Though I don’t bookmark much either.

  • Vivek Parmar

    didn’t know much but they are great. but for me they are working fine and offering great traffic.
    new look of digg sometimes irritates, hope things will change in 2011

  • Nate @ House of Annie

    Facebook seems to be the main site that sends referrals my way. I haven’t seen a stumble in a really long time.

    Delicious is dead. I’ve switched over to Diigo but I doubt it will be effective at sending traffic. I just use it to keep all my bookmarks that I want to refer back to.

  • The Dan

    I think it all depends on your target niche. Digg has been “going down” according to many people, but I have seen an increase amount of traffic from Digg (this may be due to less people competing for the spotlight, but regardless I am getting more traffic to my client’s websites than ever before, and not just a small boost – a good heap of traffic!)

    Reddit is similar, some of my clients get more traffic from Reddit than Facebook or Twitter, again it really comes down to your target audience.

  • Tom | Oral Answers

    I noticed that you only have Twitter and Facebook sharing buttons on your blog posts, Daniel.

    Did you ever have a “Share This” button or something similar?

    In addition to my “Tweet” and “Facebook” buttons, I also have a button with multiple sharing sites on it, but the only one that really gets used is “Share via Email.”

    Interesting article, Thanks!

    • Daniel Scocco

      I never used those “Share” buttons exactly because 90% of the options they had for sharing were never used by anyone.

      • Web Marketing Tips

        but however you will see them all around the globe.

        I think common people and visitors who do not understand this use them too often.

  • Maaike Quinn

    I never liked social bookmark sites. I do love Facebook though. For sharing my blog I use Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis. Especially Facebook is giving me good traffic. A sporadic Diggit gives me some traffic but I don’t think many of them will become regular readers. I’d rather focus on getting regular readers.

  • Nica

    I was actually thinking about this the other day when I got an order for my social bookmarking service. Propeller has been shut down and Yahoo might shut down Delicious, too. Some of the sites in Social Marker’s list are not working at all. It does seem that these sites are dying…

  • John McNally

    It’s just evolution in action, the best rise to the top. It makes things simple for everyone. Now we only have to bother with Facebook and Twitter, the rest are literally a waste of time.

  • Simon Dodd

    I am still getting some traffic from Stumble Upon but most of my traffic is from facebook and other related websites in my niches. I probably get around 1 hit a month total from other social bookmarking sites so I would have to agree that these sites are dying down.

    The question is what is going to replace them??

    Simon

  • Dinesh – DailyBlogMoney

    Very rarely people use social networking or bookmarking sites to share useful links, except its a funny video or something like that.

    Bookmarking sites are not heavily used nowadays, since your browser can do the most of the basic stuff.

    In my opinion, social networking and book marking sites are dying for bloggers. We do not get traffic like earlier or how we expect.

    Thanks for your thoughts Daniel.

  • Ben

    Surprised that Reddit isn’t there. Anyway, it’s probably good news to not have loads of sites that effectively do the same thing. Competition is good, saturation is not so good. There are fewer sites to sign into (whether you’re a writer or a sharer) and fewer places for people to post comments on the same story. I always prefer to see comments on the blog post itself and only votes/referrals from bookmarking sites.

  • Karen, author of “My Funny Dad, Harry”

    I never did learn to use Delicious or Stumbleupon to its greatest potential. I just bookmarked sites but never really used it to find things. I like Twitter because it is quick and easy. I also like that my posts can automatically link to Facebook and Twitter.

  • Web Marketing Tips

    you forget to mention about propeller.

    But serious net users are still using it and enjoying the benefit of it.

    But yes twitter and facebook are largely responsible for this.

  • Joshu Thomas

    I personally have a feeling – why do we need so many Social bookmarking websites? is it for:

    1. Link juice : No – there are better ways
    2. Exposure – Yes but mind you there are almost the same people active on almost all the top SN websites.
    3. Unique Marketing – Exactly

    The third point is what i feel is important. The most unique way of viral marketing is Twitter and i feel we should stick on to Twitter for long. And Facebook due to the max exposure it gives. Then i would say Technorati authority is important if you are a blogger.

    all others are just another source of traffic without juice. You think now!!

    warm regards
    Josh

  • Nick Stamoulis

    I feel that because Twitter and Facebook have jumped into the mainstream so strongly, that people are putting their eggs in those two baskets, without realizing that the other sites do add value for different reasons.

  • Winning Ideas For Life

    I don’t know how to respond to this post. Because it’ really alarming 🙁 Once upon a time biggies like Digg and Stumble upon now no more attractive to users. At the same I am happy that I am getting awesome response from facebook 🙂

  • Mir Imran Elahi

    I use Facebook,twitter, Stumbleupon,Digg and Delicious.But i got many traffic from twitter and Stumbleupon.

  • Amanda Quraishi

    It might have something to do with the dregs of humanity posting all kinds of vile opinions and/or insults anonymously in the comment sections of these bookmarking sites.

    That anonymity has become an excuse for treating total strangers like crap just because they don’t happen to share your opinion.

    I’ll take Facebook and Twitter where I know my “friends and followers” and can have a civil discussion even when we don’t see eye to eye.

  • Steve Stillwater

    I get decent traffic from StumbleUpon, but low return from Twitter given how many times articles, posts, etc are Tweeted. IMHO Twitter is also losing ground, with Facebook taking over.

  • Web Marketing Tips

    facebook is taking because this one have vast user base from school students to business people.

    But in twittwer you wont see such kind of people variations.

    But however i do feel that twitter is best for business and if you have celebrity or fun site than go after facebook.

  • Noelle

    For gathering links to post on my blog, (which I do almost every week,) I used delicious until yahoo decided they might like to shut it down. I now use something different, but I still use social bookmarking and probably will as long as I keep doing weekly links. Not only do I use it to save the links, I use it to find stuff to link to.

  • Eric C

    First off, Daniel, I think these type of posts are the best. For me, they explain trends that the medium is going through. After reading blogs on blogging for over two years now, I get tired of reading the same advice (headlines! Pictures! Sub-headers!) over and over. Stuff like this, news like this, is so much better. It’s why i check Daily Blog tips of Problogger now, if I’m short of time.

    My take on social networks: yeah, they are dying. When I started blogging, I focused on twitter and facebook, and I’ve never regretted it. I thought I might, but they have only gone down in importance. Digg especially has had a bunch of issues.

  • Laura

    I use Tumblr and Stumble Upon as bookmarking sites. I don’t think of Facebook or Twitter as bookmarking sites at all. I really like Twitter but I don’t use other sites and services to access it, I just keep it simple. Facebook, I will probably dump that sometime in 2011 when I get fed up enough. It’s just getting to be a giant get rich quick scheme, not social at all. I can’t even find friend feeds for some of my relatives any more, they keep moving them around. The only thing I can find are applications that are more like blood suckers than games at all.

    Social bookmarking sites aren’t dying. They have just become a victim to overkill. As soon as any idea starts to do well on the Internet all the marketing get rick quick types have to copy it. When they flood the Internet with too many sites they start to die off. There will be a survivor, eventually. It will be the one that sticks around and changes with the tide.

    I will stick with Twitter, StumbleUpon and Tumblr unless they change for the worse in a big way. I try new sites as they come along but I prefer sites that have passed the test of time and proven they can adapt and keep growing in good ways.

  • Laura

    One thing people don’t always understand about social sites is that you get back what you put into them. If you use them for self promotion other people are less likely to be interested in what you post. I use Twitter to post the odd update, maybe a couple of times a month. The rest of the time I talk to people, answer the odd question floating around or ask one of my own. Conversation works better at getting real attention and interest than self promotion alone.

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