Turning Off Comments

Mark Vladir left a comment on one of my recent posts that lead to an interesting discussion regarding Blog Comments... and a bloggers choice to allow commenting, or turn off comments altogether. We were discussing Comment Spam Solutions - specifically Akismet, and how great it works - which is what I chose to use here at ClickNewz...

The link that Mark pointed to was a blog post written by James Brausch, talking about his decision to turn off commenting altogether. This was not my first visit to JamesBrausch.com, and I have to admit that my first impression was a positive one when I visited back in October (see).

But this recent post really floored me... He admitted that Comment Spam was not the primary factor in his decision to close comments.

James basically made the point that "low quality comments" brought down the overall value of his blog. He was referring specifically to the "losers" that post comments or questions on his articles. People that dont yet have a site/blog of their own, or that are not yet "successful" in their online venture.

From this I would assume that he expects his target market (or ideal reader) to be a successful online business owner and/or to have a high-traffic blog of their own. I did a little clicking around to confirm this, and found this posted in a more recent entry (only a few days ago):

Since I’m selling financial freedom (that’s the end goal), it is my responsibility to get you from completely broke to the point where you can invest in some of my products and take some action to get to the next step.

Whatever... Let me just make two points before I get way off topic:

1 - Commenting is part of what makes a blog a blog. It's that interactive "web 2.0" way of reaching out and communicating with your readers that sets a blog apart from the traditional static website.

The feedback alone is invaluable, and the content + ability to add thoughts/questions is what keeps your readers involved on a regular basis. While it's true that content alone can keep people coming back to your domain, readers have come to expect certain options & features.

This is my opinion of course. Blogging is about interactivity, social networking. Unless you just like to hear yourself talk - or use the blog platform as a means to publish static articles or news stories. In which case, you might as well just call it that.

2 - Now let me blow point #1 completely out of the water and say that there are perks to publishing via blog format - with or without comments enabled. Obvious points being that you have an RSS Feed, easy wysiwyg publishing, and that there are still social networking perks via trackbacks and linking throughout the blogosphere.

Eric Graham made a great point actually, in response to James' decision to turn off commenting. Since he couldnt leave it as a comment on James' blog (for obvious reasons), he mentioned it in a post on his own blog: My Friend James Brausch Recently Turned Off Comments on His Blog…

The point that Eric made was this: With commenting turned off, anyone who wanted to respond to a post made by James would have to do so on their own blog. He made this point both by saying it and doing it, in case you didnt catch that.

Two things happen here - James gets mentioned across the blogosphere on various blogs, introduced to new groups of readers each time. In addition to that increase in exposure, each blog post will likely link back to the entry on his blog that the other blogger is referring to or commenting on... increasing internal links to James' blog. This post (that you are reading now) being another good example.

I am not suggesting that you disable commenting on your own blog. I certainly wont be doing that. I value my readers thoughts and opinions, and love the ongoing discussion here at ClickNewz. Whether you have a blog or not, are just starting out or are a seasoned pro, or maybe own a blog in a completely unrelated niche... what you have to say adds value to the discussions here at ClickNewz. But you have to admit, it's --

Something to think about...
(and yes, your comments are welcomed! 😉 )

P.S. And if you WANT to blog about anything I discuss here on ClickNewz (versus - or in addition to - leaving comments)... keep in mind that you can get PAID for it! 😉 Just click the "Review My Post" button below for details.


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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn’s unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews…more»

Discussion

  1. Patty Gale says:

    Hi Lynn,

    Very interesting indeed. I suppose it's his perogative to do what he wishes with his own blog, but he seems to have lost sight that everyone who ventures into an online business has to start somewhere.

    Blatant spam is one thing, but comments and questions from people just starting out are hardly "low quality."

    Quite the contrary... they are a reminder that what we say/do has a direct impact on those who are watching us for guidance and direction.

    The only time I close comments on my blog is when I create a product page (or something similar) that remains static and really has no relevancy for a comment.

    Patty

  2. Mark Vladir says:

    One of the reasons I follow James' blog is that he has a refreshing take on the internet marketing world and isn't just another person giving "make money fast" advice.

    That being said, there's often an antagonistic side to him that entirely fits with turning off comments because he thinks that they're low quality - almost a love/hate relationship with his customers.

    I guess the issue becomes how to attract an audience that will provide meaningful comments vs. attracting spammers or "low value" contributors.

    (Good point about the link baiting nature of this too (and one I never considered). If you want to write about the issue, you do have to link to those posts...)

  3. Andy Wilkes says:

    I suspect that turning off comments has alot to do with the effort in screening out negative comments regarding his products rather than spam since WordPress comes with the very effective Akismet spam filter.

    If you really do provide quality products then you should not be afraid to let people vent if they have issues with your product. The positive comments should be in the majority and unfounded negative views would be seen for what they are by readers.

    Sure, there is a logic to building inbound links with the strategy but it is against the social aspect of the web like Lynn suggested.

  4. Interesting point, Andy. From time to time I receive "negative" comments here on ClickNewz. They may be comments that question me personally or my opinions/actions.

    I always approve and respond to these types of comments. First, because I feel it would be dishonest of me to avoid them - and I would obviously lose credibility with the person who posted them. And second because I think ALL sides add value to any conversation.

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