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Third Party Blog Commenting Platforms May Cost You Comments

Some bloggers will tell you that comments are the backbone of a blog. I tend to agree with that.But what if your blog is not receiving many or any comments? There may be many factors. In this post I would like to concentrate on one of the factors, namely blog commenting platforms. The article will look at why some of these platforms may actually be deterring your readers from commenting.

As far as I see it, comments on your blog establish that your articles are not monologues. They establish that they are thought provoking and inducive to interaction and engagement of your readers. As well, they help build credibility and brand of your blog. There are a number of reasons why a blog may not be receiving comments.

Over the years a number of blog commenting platforms that could be used on WordPress have popped up. Although the native WordPress commenting platform still appears to be the norm, many bloggers have replaced it with third party commenting mechanisms such as Disqus, Livefyre, Facebook, Google+ and others.

The reasons bloggers embraced these applications was because they offered seamless integration with social media, hence the possibility of viral traffic. As spam was becoming a problem for some of the larger sites, the requirement to sign in with social media or by creating an account with the comment platform provider, was viewed as a remedy to prevent spammy comments. Lastly, the promise of better comment management also came into play.

Since the rise of these platforms in 2011, many bloggers became disillusioned and are abandoning the ship. They are humbly returning to the native WordPress comment system. Let’s look at the reasons behind this exodus.

Note: You may notice some spelling mistakes in the quoted sections. That is because I copied these straight from the websites and I did not want to tamper with them

Disadvantages Of Third Party Blog Commenting Platforms

After the implementation of the 3rd party commenting platforms, many blogs have noticed a decrease in comments. In general, third party comment mechanisms are harder to use than the conventional WordPress system. In the latter you know that you have to input some information such as your name or an email address. We all have names and we all have email addresses.

The third party systems require you to sign in with your social media or even to create an account with the comment system providers or in some cases the actual blog. Some bloggers do not have active Facebook or Google+ accounts and some commenters simply refused to sign in this way, did not comment and even abandoned their favorite blogs.

Facebook and Google+ Comment System

First let’s look at Facebook and Google+ blog comments mechanisms. Facebook commenting platform has been around for a while and Google+ has only recently joined the WordPress comments bandwagon. Because Google+ is so new there is not much data. On the other hand there is a lot of information about Facebook commenting platform and I am sure much of that information will apply to Google+.

Initially, when Facebook blog commenting became available, many people welcomed it with opened arms. It was generally believed that by adding Facebook comments, your posts will go viral. In other words, when someone would comment on your post, your post would be seen on the commenter’s wall and eventually would be seen by his friends. Then all the friends who would see it would share it with their friends and so on. This was supposedly going to create a ton of traffic to your website.

Well, in theory this model may work. In practice, it is a different story. In their article, “Commenters, We Want You Back” TechCrunch team (PR 8) clearly demonstrates that this system failed them:

Frankly, our trial with Facebook Comments lasted way too long at too steep of a cost. Sure, Facebook Comments drove extra traffic to the site, but the vast majority of our readers clearly do not feel the system is worthy of their interaction.

And we want our commenters back. TechCrunch

Here are a few comments from the times when TechCrunch first introduced Facebook commenting and from the time when they finally got rid of it

I don’t like it. My facebook account is strictly for my personal life – it’s not professional, and it’s not supposed to be. This commenting systems forces me to integrate the two, which I won’t.

Facebook comments was an obvious fail from the get go.  I completely stopped commenting when you implemented fb comments, which is a horrible product with a horrible premise.  Better late than never, I guess…

Hooray! While I can understand your motivation for the switch back in the day–the quality of comments here was terrible, and everyone seemed to chime in just to bash TC or the author–I basically stopped coming to the site after the switch. I only saw this post because someone tweeted it.

I am one of the few, proud non-Facebook using techies. I have no intention of signing up for FB just to comment on web sites. However, I like to be able to engage in discussions on articles and blog posts that I read, so when a site uses Facebook Comments, I more or less write it off as dead to me.

So, welcome back to the living and good luck!

I’ve been having the same issue on our blog. When we first initiated Facebook comments, it was pretty engaging. Then over the past few months, crickets. I personally think people would like to be free to talk without having their Mom and sister in law read it. I think that’s fair…

I imagine that the same and worse will be true for Google+ Although, many people, especially marketers are using Google+, its use is not as widespread as Facebook. By having Google+ commenting platform not only will you alienate the readers who want their social media privacy but also the readers who are not signed up or have no intention for signing up for Google+.

Andrew Hiddleston released a video where he talks about the problems with Google+ and Facebook commenting mechanisms. It is worth to watch.

 

 

Disqus And LiveFyre:
Why many bloggers don’t like these blog commenting platforms

In all fairness to Disqus and LiveFyre, because I am not their user, I had to make sure to research the topic really well before condemning these commenting applications.  As well, I am not saying you should not use Disqus or LiveFyre if you like them. Just make sure to research the applications thoroughly and ensure they will suit your purpose.

Disqus Cons

I would have never thought I would be placing excerpts from any political blog on Blogging Spree as this blog is completely apolitical, but the article summarizes very well and basically agrees with all the complaints I have found online.

The article was called “Our Failings With Disqus“. Here are just a few excerpts from the article:

1. There is a blithe disregard for the personal privacy of anyone who uses Disqus….In the past, while my comments were open to view, my privacy was protected… Why do I care? Because comments, used out of context, can be made to prove anything.

2. What Disqus does is give any other Disqus user the ability to “Follow” you. This means all of your comments, on every site you visit using Disqus, are aggregated for them. You do not have the ability to block “Followers.” So if someone is stalking you in the comments, every time you post a comment your stalker is notified…

The author goes on to discuss other serious issue, which in the political arena are simply not acceptable. ( Some of these may even apply to non-political blogs when a troll has an agenda to trash and or discredit your blog)

The conclusion the author makes is as follows:

So right now, I would recommend that anyone who has a website and is considering using Disqus as a comments moderation platform give it serious second thoughts. There are good sides but for a high visibility political blog Disqus, as it is today, is a horrible tool. Source

Recently, Franziska from Franish conducted a survey about Disqus. Although there were some positive responses, many were negative and some of them I’ll share below

I’m a lurker and rarely comment on blogs but I definitely don’t on blogs that use disqus even if I have something I want to say. It never loads right in any of the web browsers I use.

If I look at blogs at work (I know, I know I shouldn’t) disquis is blocked, so if I want to comment I have to do it from my phone (super annoying) or wait until I get home and then remember to go to the blog and comment. So I’m not a fan…

Hate Disqus, hate it. It never loads properly on any platform I use and as a blogger I tried it and it became the bane of my existence. But I know people who swear by it.

here’s why i DIDN’T use it on my new style blog: it takes too long to load and not all comments are captured. another thing i’ve noticed is that Disqus’s commenting system has tried to take on the life of a social networking platform by allowing for communities, etc. also, if you don’t change the settings, it makes recommendations for other blogs (that have nothing to do with niche) right next to your comments. call me selfish, but i don’t want a commenting system that directs traffic away from my blog.

Don’t do it! I have it and I’m about to delete it because many people have stated that they cannot comment on my blog and the same thing has happened to me while visiting other blogs. I feel their frustration. Disqus looked promising, but alas I’m deleting it right after I publish this comment.

 Source: Franish

In addition to the above problems I found that there are problems with Disqus with respect to load time  ( although it is not as bad as it used to be), updates that can affect your comments and even your site and a host of other small yet annoying issues.

LiveFyre Cons

Although anonymous guest blogging is now permitted with Livefyre you are still nudged to sign up for their account. If you do, similarly to Disqus, Livefyre will own your profile. Why should they? For the privilege of commenting on someone’s blog? It makes no sense. To boot, if a site has a monthly paid commenting account, and the developers of the site have the technical knowledge, they can have you sign up for their site rather than Livefyre. All that means that if you do that and go to a next site that has a Livefyre commenting system, you will still be asked to sign up with Livefyre.

Let’s take an example from the top of this post, TechCrunch. They have discarded the Facebook commenting platform and replaced it with Livefyre. Here is what they wrote in their post:

You will now be creating “TechCrunch” accounts where you can sign in socially and all of your comments will be tracked on your profile screen, which is launched by clicking on a username. This means you can maintain your anonymity,  but there is still accountability as your comments are all attached to one profile. Source

I like what one of the commenters posted in response to their article:

Isn’t this really a customer data acquisition strategy for TechCrunch? By writing this comment I now have a TechCrunch account which I’m pretty sure I didn’t have before.  TechCrunch now has my email address which I know they didn’t have before.

Seriously, I like reading blog posts by TechCrunch But I certainly am not going to create an account with them for that privilege

I sure would not want to be going from blog to blog creating profiles. To me it is absolutely ridiculous. I completely agree with Sue Neal’s sentiments:

When you first come across one of these things on a blog, it can be very off-putting. The first time I tried to leave a comment on a site with Livefyre, I was going through a phase when I was really struggling to cope with all my registrations and passwords. I’d no desire to register with this service I’d never heard of, so I just gave up and walked away without leaving a comment. I can’t be alone – I’m sure there are other people surfing the web who aren’t familiar with these services and can’t be bothered to jump through hoops just to leave a simple message.

Sue is not alone. Many bloggers feel that way!

In addition, many companies and agencies block Livefyre and apparently they are getting a red flag on Chrome as well. I found a few comments from bloggers who experienced these issues:

From Ike Piggott’s post:

I certainly can’t speak to the technical aspects of spam and firewalls. But, I can tell you that in my old government job, I experienced the exact same issue. I was never able to visit websites that used Livefyre commenting. And, if the firewall did let me visit, I couldn’t view or add comments. It was a total bummer.  And, as much as I think Livefyre is a great commenting platform, it’s one of the reasons I don’t use it on my site – because I know it has the potential to get blocked.

I’m a big fan of Livefyre, use it and often recommend it to others. It is definitely a tool to facilitate engagement. I have notice lately that several sites I visit regularly are getting the big red flag in Chrome — that is the “do you want to proceed.”  At least one of them was using Disqus, but I think others were using Livefyre so will have to pay closer attention.

Neither Livefyre or Disqus link directly to your blog or blog posts. For me this is one of the major drawbacks of these commenting platforms. Here, when you find a good comment and feel that you want to visit the commenter’s site you need to visit the commenter’s profile first. Then, if he created his profile right will you come across a link to his website.

There are many other issues. WPBeginner just abandoned Livefyre and returned to the conventional WP commenting platform. Below are couple of their reasons. To get the whole scoop you need to visit WPBeginner article.

We really enjoyed the real-time comments feature because we were able to have some great chat-like conversations in our comments. It was the best engagement experience that we have ever seen from comments. However, real-time comments got harder to moderate. Spammers realized that they were only a single registration away from getting all of their comments approved on our site.

Social conversation is a very nice option that Livefyre provides. You can choose to bring in your conversations from Twitter and Facebook back to the article. In theory this sounds great, however it has yet to be perfected. We saw a lot of irrelevant comments coming from Twitter

Replying is a PAIN – For a site like ours, we often find a need to reply to comments. There is no easy way to do this. You will see the comment in livefyre moderation panel. You have to open the article where you can see the comment as pending. Approve it, and then reply from there. This makes the Livefyre moderation panel pretty much useless. In WordPress backend moderation, there is a really cool feature called Reply and Approve. So you can reply to the comment without ever opening a new tab/window for the post.

I really enjoyed some of the comments on the above post by Rourke Decker who is actually thinking of removing LiveFyre from the popular blog he writes for. This is partly what he had to say about one of the features, namely real-time commenting:

The problem with real-time commenting like Livefyre is that it turns your commenting stream into a chat room; in essence, your site, no matter how serious it may be, devolves into nothing more than a social networking hangout. Our author work very hard on our articles — some of them take many hours of research to write — but we’re lucky if even one percent of the comments people make have anything to do with the article at all. Livefyre has a lot of features that make commenting a lot of fun, but those end up being a distraction from the article.

I have noticed that on some of the blogs too. They not only reminded me of chat rooms, they also reminded my of bad Skype conversations.

Well, that brings me to the end of this article. Sorry it was so long but I hope you got some food for thought. Like I said, we all have choices but always remember, your blog is a part of your online business. Comments bring value to your blog. So whatever you choose make sure to do due diligence because once you will implement the system, to change it will mean a lot of headaches.

In case you are wondering, on my blog I use a plugin called commentluv. I love it because it helps prevent spam, it allow my readers to share their link to their latest post and it helps me build new relationships with my fellow bloggers. Please let me know what you think of the different blog commenting platforms. Have you had any experience with any of them? Please feel free to share this post with your friends.

 

Commentluv Plugin Ad

 

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15 Responses to Third Party Blog Commenting Platforms May Cost You Comments

  1. Hari P V August 29, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    spam commenting is really annoying for me as a blogger. Although doesn’t have much fiture, I stay in the original comment plugin of WP. I think plugin from any social sites only give me more spam comments due to more spammer than the original visitors …

  2. Wadud August 3, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Hi Dita,

    I’ve noticed these different platforms to leave comments and I also don’t like them. Sometimes I read an excellent post on someone’s blog and I want to leave a comment… then I see one of the other commenting platforms you’ve mentioned.

    The end result is that I usually don’t leave the comment.

    I think the traditional set up is the best and the easiest to follow.

    Great post! I’ll Be Back…

    Thanks
    Wadud Peterson

  3. darasi July 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    spam commenting is really annoying for me as a blogger. Although doesn’t have much fiture, I stay in the original comment plugin of WP. I think plugin from any social sites only give me more spam comments due to more spammer than the original visitors …

    • Dita Irvine July 24, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      Hi Darasi,

      Andy from commentluv plugin is developing an exciting enhancement to the plugin which will help you eradicate the spammers and literally stop them in their tracks. You may want to read the my recent post about this new development in the link below

      Cheers

  4. Adrienne July 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Dita,

    I wrote about this not long ago too and I for one think that people who have blogs should make it as easy on their commenters as possible. Make them have to work for it and sign up with some site and you’re sure to lose a lot of people who normally would have gladly left their thoughts with you.

    Although I have signed up with Disqus And LiveFyre, I did that several years back because I wanted to support the bloggers I was visiting and comment on their posts. BUT, I never created a profile so I have no idea if they ever have responded to my comments.

    I understand the reasoning behind these types of systems as well as Facebook and now Google+. To me, those bloggers are more interested in the social proof and numbers then the actual readers themselves.

    I had a great conversation on the phone with a very successful marketer and I was so happy when he agreed with me that he thought the people who used these systems were hurting themselves in the long run. As the people shared here, some of their tests proved this to be the case as well.

    I prefer good old WordPress and although I would still love to see even more interaction on my blog, I don’t want it bad enough to jeopardize what I already have.

    Really great comparison here Dita, thanks for being so thorough with your results.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted…60 Tips Of Blogging AdviceMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 25, 2013 at 12:15 am #

      Hi Adrienne,

      I think that there are several issues that I am at odds with respect to the third party commenting platforms. I find many platforms very chatty and there is no place for it on blogs. Often the chats detract from the purpose of the post. The chatting and sharing can take on social media and I am all for it.

      With respect to spam, as you know (being one of the beta testers) commentluv’s new enhancement will get rid of the spammers. With that in place there is really no need to use other commenting platforms. I sure am glad you have commentluv. If you did not, chances are I would not have met you and I would not get to know your wonderful blog.

      Take care,

      Dita
      Dita Irvine recently posted…Commentluv Plugin To Become Even More Robust With Ablink ComponentMy Profile

  5. Adesanmi Adedotun July 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Hi Dita,

    Blogging to me is not a survival of the fittest rather it should be seen as the second largest planet where unknown numbers of human dwells. Leaving a comment on other bloggers blog will definitely bring something good backlinks, and necessary eposure back to your blog. I love leaving comment on blog more than using forum as it gives my blog quality exposure and sometime greater backlink than forum.
    Adesanmi Adedotun recently posted…Does guest blogging have any benefit?My Profile

  6. Des July 20, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Dita, thanks so much for your insights. I really didn’t know much about the problems with blog commenting platforms. Now, on my site, which is built with the Mac app Sandvox, my blog commenting system gave me just a couple of choices, one of which is Disqus. This is the one I chose when I put my site online a couple of years ago, but from what’s described in the Disqus “Cons” in your post, it could be why I have so few comments.

    So, I’m now going to find an alternative, and it won’t be G+ or FB. Do you have any ideas for me? They can’t be WP plugins.

    The info about SEO is also appreciated. Thanks again.

    Des
    Des recently posted…Create An eBook In 5 DaysMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 20, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Des,

      Given that you cannot use WP plugins, it’s hard for me to give you recommendations since I use WordPress. You may have no choice but to stay with Disqus. But what I would try is to add Facebook commenting as well. You can just try it for a couple of weeks. I have seen other blogs do it. This way you may cater to more potential commenters. See if this would improve the number of comments. Please let me know.

      All the best,

      Dita

  7. Susan Neal July 19, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Hi Dita,

    A really thorough, well-researched article, which confirms my own views, but provides additional evidence for the benefits of sticking with WP comments. The video’s very interesting – particularly the point Andrew makes about losing content and SEO value when you use FB or G+ comments – I suspect a lot of the bloggers using those systems aren’t aware of that.

    Many thanks – and I appreciate the mention and link 🙂

    Sue
    Susan Neal recently posted…Why I Love Paper.liMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 20, 2013 at 4:18 am #

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for stopping by. Interestingly, initially it was Andrews video that led me to think about this topic. Originally, I just wanted to write about the Facebook commenting platform and why I did not like it. More I researched the more I realized that it does not make sense to use the other platforms as well. I am sure that over time we will see more and more return to the native WordPress commenting system.

      Dita
      Dita Irvine recently posted…Image Size For Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube, LinkedIN, Pinterest (Infographic)My Profile

  8. SandyHalliday July 19, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    Hi Dita,

    What a wonderfully researched and informative post!

    I hate blogs that use Livefyre or Disqus. They just make it so difficult to comment. I did register with Disqus as so many blogs I wanted to comment on used it but I still don’t like it. It’s hardly surprising that bloggers are ditching them.

    The problem with Facebook comments when I am commenting is that I cannot make the comment as my Fan page. It will only allow me to comment if I switch to my personal page so that misses the oportunity to get people to my Fan page.

    If we want people to comment on our blogs we have to make it easy and not make our readers jump through hoops. Like you I use and love CommentLuv.

    I hope you get lots of shares and traffic from this because you deserve it.

    Sandy
    SandyHalliday recently posted…How to Get Email Subscribers with Viral ReportsMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 19, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Sandy,

      I must confess this article took me a long time to write as my research was quite extensive. But I need to do that in order to find out if my dislike of the third party commenting platforms was only my own quirk or did this resonate across the web. I also needed to be fair to these other commenting applications as I do not use them myself.

      I also would be more inclined to use and comment on Facebook commenting platform If I would be able to sign in and comment with my Facebook Page profile rather than my personal profile. This is one of the major problem with Facebook commenting and I am glad that you mentioned it.

      Take care,

      Dita
      Dita Irvine recently posted…Exciting Conclusion Of Challenge To Make Money BloggingMy Profile

  9. Glenn Shepherd July 19, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    Hi Dita,

    I’m in total agreement with this. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to comment on your blog, not put them off. While some may feel that using, for example, Facebook and Google+ to log in then they’re creating a seamless means for people to log in and also take advantage of the social networks. The problem with this is that not everyone uses them and even those who do don’t always feel happy about logging in with their social media accounts, especially if they don’t yet know, like and trust the blogger.

    I’ve noticed that some blogs offer a variety of commenting options, which I don’t think is a bad idea. But I do know that I’ve been put off from commenting on a blog if the only means of leaving comments is through Facebook or Disqus, for example. Furthermore, I certainly don’t want to sign up with a service that I otherwise wouldn’t use just for the sake of being able to comment on one blog.

    The other thing I don’t like with the use of third party comment systems is that you can’t usually link back to your site. Now, while this shouldn’t be the sole reason for leaving comments on a blog, it’s still nice to feel that we’ll get some kind of benefit in return.

    For me, I can’t see me changing from the good, old-fashioned method of entering the comments via manual fields and having the awesome CommentLuv doing its thing.

    A great, informative post, Dita, as usual 🙂

    Regards,
    Glenn
    Glenn Shepherd recently posted…What is Your “Because”? Eliminate Your ObstaclesMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 19, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      Hi Glen,

      There should be nothing wrong with leaving either a link to your website or your post when you comment. After all when you read a good post and you leave a meaningful comment you are contributing to the post itself and that is good for my site. And, in my opinion, a meaningful contribution should be rewarded. Linking to your site is the reward for you, the commenter. It is a win-win situation for the writer of the post and the commenter.

      Take your comments, for example. They are always thoughtful, and meaningful. I know you have spent valuable time contributing to my post. The least I could do for your efforts is to reward you by allowing you to show your link so that other bloggers can also discover your excellent writing on your blog.

      Cheers,

      Dita
      Dita Irvine recently posted…Monthly Blogging Scoop: Project Loon, WordPress Security Update, Google Reader Alternatives My Profile