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33 Comments

Your Take: What Do You Think of Disqus?

disqus-cancelledThose of you who have been on the site since the beginning might have noticed a change recently – we stopped using Disqus as our commenting platform. It was hard to come to the decision but I felt it was for the best. It felt like breaking up, even though no one at Disqus even knew we were going out in the first place.

Disqus is beautiful. It has great features. It murders spam and even the false positives are borderline. I love it.

But commenters apparently don’t.

And that’s trumps all of my reasons.

Most of the people interested in Microblogger are going to be other bloggers or future bloggers. One of the biggest benefits of commenting is exposure for your own site. You leave a comment and your name becomes a link back to your blog. In fact, there are scores of people who comment solely for that one benefit. When a site uses Disqus, the person’s name isn’t a nofollowed link to their site. It’s a link to a popup of their profile, which might link to their site. You just don’t as much click through traffic to your own site so making an insightful comment loses a bit of its return on time.

When you take away that one ancillary benefit, people are less likely to comment.

When you’re a huge site like AVC with a readership that doesn’t care about links to their own blogs, you can run Disqus without impact. When you run a blog that is trying to gain exposure to other bloggers, you can’t run Disqus if you want to maximize engagement, foster conversations, and build a community.

So, we’re going back to the native WordPress comment system with a few spam plugins to try to push back against the torrent of spam.

If you’re one of the bloggers who hasn’t been commenting because you hate Disqus, I invite you to comment. I value the conversation above all other things and the biggest lesson I learned from Bargaineering was that I learn as much from the community as the other way around (probably more!). Without the discussion, this site is just a soapbox and I’m certain I don’t have all the answers.

For any bloggers considering Disqus, it’s beautiful and it’s effective but it has it’s drawbacks (another drawback is that Google can’t see the comments, but that didn’t matter as much to me).

What are your feelings about Disqus?

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Jim

In 2005, I founded a personal finance blog (Bargaineering.com) that became successful enough that I quit my career as a software developer in the defense industry. It is my goal to share everything I learned so that you can do the same - build an online business that let's you pursue your passion.

33 responses to “Your Take: What Do You Think of Disqus?”

  1. Michael says:

    Interesting. Whenever I’ve had something to say, I haven’t let Disqus get in the way. Then again, I’ve never been one to go around commenting just to get a link back to my site. I agree, it’s pretty. And though I’ve never used it on the back end, I would imagine that it’s nice to have a slick, optimized interface for handling comments.

    Oh well, once you grow to AVC’s size, you can always switch back. 😉

    • Jim says:

      It’s nice, it’s slick, but the baseline WordPress stuff is fine too. I liked all the other bells and whistles, where there were links to other big conversations on your site and stuff, but in the end it’s about conversations anyway. Bells and whistles don’t do anything if there are no comments!

      Ha, I doubt I will be… Bargaineering never used Disqus and if I get to that size, I’d be happy.

  2. Rui Santos says:

    I like disqus comments but I think they work better outside the internet marketing/blogging niche. As some people comment expecting some backlinks…
    For example with my blog on electronics it’s working just fine.

  3. Glen says:

    Getting a link or not was never an issue for me. I just don’t like one more thing I have to register for and remember a password and such. Even with the “guest” option turned on it just adds that much more friction in order to get a comment out.

    • Jim says:

      Even with anonymous commenting, it still seemed to get in the way. I get what you mean about remembering a password (and even that you had an account).

  4. I’m not a fan of Disqus. As a website owner, I like to own the comments… make sure they are part of the website and not offloaded to a third party that may go out of business.

    As a web surfer, I use Ghostery which blocks a lot of third party services. It’s pretty great for privacy (what’s that?!?!), but more speeding up your browser. Discus is one of the things it blocks. Most of the time, I don’t even see that a website has commenting if it uses Disqus (though Ghostery puts up a small box allowing you to disable the blocking of just that Disqus component if you really need it).

    Hit me up with an email and maybe we can talk about a WP plugin to make commenting better. I’ve been wanting to do it for some time, but have many other projects. This one may be complementary to Microblogger.

    • Jim says:

      For what it’s worth, Disqus keeps your comments locally (they may keep a copy elsewhere too). So when I shut it off, all the comments were still on the posts.

      I did not know about Ghostery, which sounds cool (I guess it’s an adblocker too?), but the fact that is blocks Disqus is a downer.

      I’m not sure I want to build a plugin. 🙂

  5. Matt Becker says:

    I’ve had Disqus for a little while now and I have to say that I don’t think it’s affected my comments much. I’m sure there are some bloggers who don’t comment because there’s no link, but honestly those aren’t really the people I want around anyway. I get plenty of people who are actually willing to engage and build a relationship, which is where the real value is.

    I’m not trying to voice any objection to your decision to switch. It’s obviously your decision and you should make it for whatever reasons you want. But personally I don’t think Disqus has to be viewed as a negative.

    • Jim says:

      I may have also underestimated the “friction” aspect Glen mentioned… combine the two and you have a hurdle.

      We’ll see how it goes!

  6. Michael Harr says:

    No worries on the cancellation. It is pretty and you’re right, WordPress is perfectly functional and not horribly tough on the eyes. Regardless, I’ve derived a great deal of value in your short time thus far on Microblogger. Keep working and I’ll keep learning.

  7. I think that was one of the reasons I never moved to them. I did test LiveFyre out, and thought it was really slick as well, but in the end, I’ve found that the simple wordpress comment form always seemed to work best towards encouraging engagement amongst our readers.

  8. Thank you for removing it. I absolutely hate it and will not comment on sites with it. I find it difficult to use. I think that the built-in WordPress comment system works very well.

    If you’re worried about spam, install GASP – it’s that little checkbox to “Confirm You’re Human”.

    • Jim says:

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

      There are a few things I have in place (which I was using at Bargaineering and seemed to work well), the annoying part is always fishing out false positives. It always bothered me to think that someone could spend the time to say something and a robot somewhere would mark it as spam (and I’d have no chance to remedy). I’ll check out GASP, thanks Robert!

  9. I am not a fan of systems that make you log in because they don’t always keep me logged in, especially on my phone. Most sites keep my commenting inputs autofilled when using WordPress comments so I prefer them.

  10. Forest Parks says:

    I don’t really have much to add as I pretty much agree with the comments against the platform here. It is good, it really is but there should be an option to make it run more closely to the standard wp comments.

  11. Mike Collins says:

    I was never a fan of Disqus or other apps that make you jump through hoops to leave a comment. Most of the time I just couldn’t be bothered and I’d skip commenting altogether.

    • Jim says:

      Yeah, it seems that any extra step (even just not having auto-fill) seems to be enough. I feel like I should’ve known this, given all the split testing I’ve done, but I never brought that discerning eye to comments.

  12. Meg Sylvia says:

    It took me a while to finally give in and register a Disqus account, and now that I have one, I have no problem commenting with it even though I get less click-throughs.

    I think if someone’s only reason for commenting on another blog is to get clicks back, you might not need them anyway! But I do agree that it can be a bit of a barrier for conversation even for those who don’t have a Disqus, so I don’t think that it’s the best option for new blogs.

    • Jim says:

      So a lot of people have mentioned that they just don’t want to get a Disqus account (it’s yet another account to have just for commenting!), which I understand. I hope you didn’t register a Disqus account to comment here – I’d feel bad to have made you do that work for nothing. 🙂

  13. Glad to see you went back to this commenting system. I love your content and would probably read it anyway, but there is an extra incentive when you can add another link back to your blog. Now we can pick up great content and promote our website at the same time. Great move Jim!

  14. Cat @ TOTS says:

    I too am not a fan. I haven’t used it on my own site, but I hate commenting on other sites with it. I do not want to make any more accounts. I am tired of accounts and passwords, I want to comment, have my name and link seen and get on with my day. Thanks for not using it, because you did, I have made two comments, and plan on reading more!

  15. Eddie says:

    The only benefit with Disqus is the fact you can log in using facebook, twitter and other platforms.

    • Jim says:

      There are a few more benefits like some notifications and some “related posts” type of functionality, though I’m not sure those outweigh the annoyance people feel for logging in (even with anonymous commenting enabled).

  16. Elissa says:

    Add me to the club of folks who dislike Disqus. I hate jumping through hoops so that I can comment on a post and I worry about security. I really don’t like logging in using my social media accounts.

    I’ve been using Postmatic on my blog as an alternative for comments – http://wordpress.org/plugins/postmatic. Folks seem to be responding well to the ability to respond to posts via Email.

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