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What are StumbleUpon’s Content Guidelines?

StumbleUpon helps people discover the very best websites that match their personal interests. We are unique because our sponsored content is displayed in the very same way our users Stumble on normal websites. Therefore, it’s important that your content (your ad) is as relevant and high-quality as the other websites on StumbleUpon. Our millions of members are looking to discover new and interesting information, and will give you valuable feedback (thumbs up or thumbs down ratings and user comments) if you provide them with an entertaining or informative experience.

For best results, StumbleUpon provides the following guidelines. Please note that all ads placed on StumbleUpon must adhere to these guidelines, and StumbleUpon reserves the right to reject any content that we deem contrary to our ad philosophy. These guidelines are subject to change at any time.

Please note, our Ad and Content Operations team manually reviews all sponsored content submitted to StumbleUpon. The review process usually takes one (1) business day and we have very limited coverage during weekends and observed U.S. holidays.

Sites cannot contain, facilitate, promote, or reference the following:

Alcohol and Tobacco

  • The sale of alcohol, unless targeted to a country’s legal drinking age and adheres to state regulation with regards to online alcohol sale.
  • The sale of tobacco, nicotine products, or electronic cigarettes. Informational sites without commercial intent may be acceptable.


  • The sale of ammunition, firearms, or weapons of any kind. Informational sites without commercial intent may be acceptable.

Divisive Messages

  • Hate speech targeted against an individual or group. We will not tolerate hate based on but not limited to race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, physical or mental ability, marital status, or language.
  • Politically, ethically, and religiously sensitive or divisive messages.
  • Religious content that has any known associations with hate, criminal and/or terrorist activities.

Illegal Drugs/Paraphernalia

  • The sale of illegal drugs or paraphernalia. Informational sites without commercial intent may be acceptable.
  • Bodybuilding supplements (such as anabolic steroids, muscle-enhancing stacks and cycles, bodybuilding steroid supplements, and related content) or services regardless of advertiser’s claims of legality.
  • Uncertified pharmaceutical products, body enhancement products, weight loss products, health or cosmetic products or services that make unrealistic or unsubstantiated claims.

Violence and Inappropriate Language

  • Excessive depictions of gore, animal cruelty, or violence.
  • Excessive offensive, profane, vulgar, obscene or inappropriate language.
  • Obscene, defamatory, libelous, slanderous and/or unlawful content.

Adult Content

  • Adult friend finders or dating sites with a sexual emphasis.
  • Adult content, including nudity, sexual terms and/or images of people in positions or activities that are excessively suggestive or sexual.
  • Adult toys, videos, or other adult products may only be advertised in limited categories pending our approval.

Casinos and Gambling

  • Gambling, including without limitation to online casinos, lottery tickets, sports books, bingo or poker. Informational sites without commercial intent may be acceptable.

Unacceptable Business Practices

  • Get rich quick and other money making opportunities that offer compensation for little or no full-time employment or promises of monetary gain with no strings attached.
  • Scams, illegal activity and/or illegal contests, pyramid schemes, or chain letters.
  • Deceptive or fraudulent offers.
  • The sale of counterfeit goods.
  • Web-based non-accredited colleges that offer degrees.
  • Beta invites with limited or restricted sign-up.
  • Claims unverified by reputable third party, including any messaging such as: make money now, secrets to success, guaranteed revenue, 100% commission, #1 best seller, get out of debt, etc.
  • Overly commercial sites without information rich content.
  • ‘Spam’ or other advertising or marketing content that violates applicable laws, regulations or industry standards.
  • Price, discount, or “free” offers on a page that does not clearly offer the deal, stating the action or set of actions to qualify for the offer displayed.
  • Requiring visitors to submit personal information (cell phone numbers, physical addresses, social security numbers, or email addresses) in order to obtain the product(s) advertised, without providing information rich content as well (e.g. quick sign up form).
  • Referral URLs or affiliate squeeze pages.
  • Content deemed unacceptable or contrary to StumbleUpon’s overall advertising philosophy. Examples include but are not limited to affiliate marketing, paid-to-click sites, etc.

The following is deemed unacceptable content and will not be approved:

  • Duplicate URLs or sites going to the same content, unless targeted to a different demographic, topic, or device. Changing a tracking code in a URL that still goes to the same content does not constitute a new and unique URL and will be considered duplicate content.
  • Excessive use of capitalization, large, red or multi colored font, bold text, punctuation, large arrows indicating where to click or submit information.
  • Long lists of unrelated links (e.g. link farms).
  • Mostly ad content above the fold.
  • Auto-loading sounds unless it is part of video Stumbling.
  • Under construction or have “coming soon” countdowns.
  • Errors including, but not limited to, 404 errors, server not found, missing video/images; call to action must work (i.e. videos must work, linkable text must link, etc.).
  • Scraped content (e.g. content farms).
  • Image sites that are ad-heavy and use non-sourced images as a means of monetization.
  • Excessively long load times (greater than 5 seconds).
  • Significant amount of negative user feedback, or in otherwise a violation of community standards.
  • Any advertiser must be over 13 years of age, unless granted written parental consent.
  • Facebook and Twitter pages that offer minimal information rich content, are overly commercial, require the user to login to their account, or require multiple steps to access the content.
  • Content that is not in English unless the campaigns are targeted to the correct region.

Third-Party Content and Copyrights

  • YouTube content not currently available through the YouTube API. If submitting a YouTube video, please wait at least 24 hours for the video to be approved and added to the YouTube  API.
  • Content for which the advertiser does not have intellectual property rights to the creative and be permitted to display such creative as advertising on the StumbleUpon site. .
  • Content that may be deemed as infringing upon the rights of any third party, including copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other personal or proprietary right.

Misleading Website Feature

  • Different sections such as menu and content (i.e. frame breaking) that harms the Stumbling experience.
  • “Fake” close behavior (i.e. when a user clicks the ‘close’ icon on a page, the page should close down and no other behavior should result).
  • Mouse Trapping,” whereby the advertiser does not allow users to use their browser “back button” and traps them on the site and/or present additional/unexpected behavior (e.g. another ad or page).
  • Flashing, excessive animation, “fake winner” copy or fake/deceptive functionality.
  • Overly obtrusive pop-ups or interstitials on the page submitted within a click away from the page.

Software Downloads

  • Links to viruses, trojans, spyware, phishing, or malware.
  • Username or password proxies for the purpose of automating logins
  • Links to illegal torrent files.
  • Software without StumbleUpon’s express prior approval.
  • Software that is bundled as a hidden component of other software whether free or for fee.
  • Software that may alter, harm, disable or replace any hardware or software installed on users’ computers without express permission from users.
  • Software that may violate or infringe upon the intellectual property right of any third party, including copyright, trademark, patent or any other proprietary right.
  • Software that presents any download dialog boxes without a user’s express action.
  • Software that “sneaks” onto a user’s system and performs activities hidden to the user.

StumbleUpon References

  • Implications of any endorsement of the product, service, or ad destination by StumbleUpon.

Browsers and Redirects

  • URLs cannot be materially altered after being approved in a manner that violates any of the Paid Discovery guidelines. Sites may be removed after being approved if they are modified to violate any guideline, or if they receive excessive negative feedback or are flagged as profane, adult or contain errors.
  • URLs cannot redirect to a site with content other than what it was approved for.
  • For campaigns targeting desktop browsers, the URL must render properly on both PC and Mac computers. For campaigns targeting for mobile apps, URLs should render properly on the targeted device(s).
  • URLs must render properly on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome browsers.
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