The Pros and Cons of Blog Comments

Blog Comments DiscussionCopyblogger recently announced they removed blog comments, giving three reasons they made the decision.

Following the Guest Blogging Penalty discussion, some have wondered if this was a preventative or protective measure - if it's a sign they believe Blog Comments may be targeted by Google next.

I don't believe the two are related. Their objective seems obvious: to get more engagement on Google+, and to get more natural backlinks (and buzz) to their individual posts. That would be my guess at least, based on the three reasons they gave for making this (BIG) decision (which is actually an experiment)...

An interesting experiment indeed!

Here are the three reasons they gave in the post:

  • They're moving the discussion to Social Media instead.
  • You should post your response on your own blog, instead of theirs.
  • To eliminate the hassle of blog comment spam.

Point #2 is working, as I'm blogging about this (and linking to their blog post). I'm also writing much more in this post on my blog than I would in a comment on theirs, given I'm writing about the topic and adding more context for you - my readers - instead of just commenting to the author of that post.

(That is a great way to come up with EASY blog content ideas, btw!)

Perhaps instead of being the "preventative measure" that some people fear, it's simply a new Content Marketing strategy for getting natural inbound links that don't require the nofollow link attribute. ;-)

I agree with Point #3 that blog comment spam is a very time consuming hassle. It's one we've all had to deal with from day one, and it's going to be an ongoing battle. Unfortunately there are still people out there teaching that a blog commenting marketing strategy is a smart one. (It's not.)

Hello- Social Media spam is an issue too! And I imagine it will only get worse from here. Will it be as easy to manage/control? At least you can moderate Blog Comments. With Social Media you have to delete them AFTER they've been publicly posted. Something to think about...

Point #1 is the one I find most interesting though. Instead of leaving a comment on a blog post, they want you to leave a comment on the social media update for that post instead. Obviously you could have done that before, but now you don't have a choice.

On the actual announcement post, the only social media links offered are the profiles for Google+ and Twitter, as well as the author's profile links for those two social platforms. Unless you clicked on those links the day they published (and shared) that post, you'd be hard pressed to figure out where to respond to it - other than starting a new conversation.

What if you read that post six months later? If you fail to link to the post you're "commenting on" will they be able to figure out the context and source? As a blogger myself, that would drive me nutty! I get emails, social media questions, messages, etc on a weekly basis where I have to hunt down the source in order to respond appropriately. It's madness - and way too time consuming. :P

Obviously not every blog post is read the day it's published. People are searching for information all day every day. If you check your own blog stats, you'll likely notice many of your older, archived posts still getting consistent traffic.

Copyblogger Removes Comments

From a usability standpoint, that sucks.

Since then, I see that they link to a specific social media update in newer posts. In this post for example, they link to the Google+ update so you can comment there. It's not overly obvious as a call to action, but it IS there.

Looking at a few more recent posts, so far they are ONLY linking to Google+ updates - instead of giving you an option of where to comment - which seems like an obvious (very strategic) move. Right?

What about their archived posts? Will they go back and edit every post to include a link to (at least the Google+) update so you can comment in the right place easily? I doubt it. They've added a site-wide box way below the posts that encourage you to come comment on Twitter or Google+ if you want to respond.

Question: How would YOU feel if you wanted to leave a comment on one of their posts, or read the discussion about that topic, and there was no direct link to the conversation about it anywhere in the post? OR, if Google+ was the ONLY option? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Are you curious why they seem to be leaving Facebook out altogether?

I am. ;-)

As an "experiment"... my guess is that they will indeed see a dramatic increase in natural inbound links and social media engagement.

But is it worth it? AND - does this mean you should follow suit?

As a 10-year blogger myself, I totally understand their points and their strategy here. But from a usability perspective, and as a community leader, it seems... RUDE.

Let's say that you DO want to leave a comment or ask a question...

What if your website is about your local ballet dance school and all of your social media channels are highly topical (about your business and for your clients). Do you really want to have marketing or business building conversations via those channels? (The answer is NO.) So what option does that leave YOU? None. (= Rude.)

Likewise, as a blogger yourself in the ballet/dance school market, what if YOUR readers don't want anyone to know publicly that they are interested in ballet, or that they're taking classes? Maybe they are shy, or embarrassed, or just prefer to keep the their personal hobbies/interests less public for whatever reason.

Give that some thought for a second. I'd love to hear what you think from both the perspective of a blogger AND a blog reader.

Note: Do Not Enable DoFollow Blog Comment Plugins!

While we're on the topic of blog comments and comment spam, one thing you should never do is use a dofollow plugin on your blog. What this does is remove the nofollow link attribute from outgoing links in your comment section.

The nofollow link attribute was originally intended to protect bloggers from being "judged" based on links left by people commenting on your posts.

If you have installed a dofollow plugin, deactivate it and delete it - today. Regardless of how you feel about the nofollow attribute. It could cause your blog to receive a penalty for linking out to questionable sites AND it puts your blog on lists for even more comment spam. It's useless.

The Benefits of Blog Comments

Building a loyal readership - and a community around your site/business/blog - should be a top priority. It's what makes a blog thrive. Not only does it give you an opportunity to interact with your readers on topical discussions, it gives them an opportunity to interact with each other and discuss topics among themselves.

Blog comments are a huge part of creating that sense of community.

Personally I WANT engagement ON my blog. It gives me insight into what my market thinks, feels or wants. Thoughts & questions arise that give me the opportunity to write new tutorials, or new topical posts. It gives me a chance to get to know some of my more regular readers on a deeper level, which I've really enjoyed. Many of which I've gone on to follow & keep up with via Social Media. How would I have ever met or known them otherwise - well enough to want to "connect" more personally?

When I publish a blog post, some people comment right here on ClickNewz. Some comment on Facebook, others on Twitter or Google+, and some even email me directly. ALL of those comments/responses are valuable to me, and to my business.

Is comment spam a hassle? Yes. So is email spam, social media spam, and even the spam mail I get in my P.O. Box and the "phone spam" on my landline. When you find a solution for ALL of that, please let me know. :P

I "get" the reasons that lead Copyblogger's team to their decision, and it's certainly an interesting experiment with a very obvious objective. Hopefully a few months from now they will post their results, and let us know whether the experiment was a success - and whether they'll continue to "herd" their readers.

Best,

p.s. Enjoy this topic? You CAN leave a comment below! :D Be sure to subscribe by email below too, to get notification of new tutorials and important discussions. I look forward to hearing your thoughts...

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. Sonia and Brian have been answering questions about this since the post went up so I won't rake over old ground here. What I will add is my own personal perspective.

    My first "blog" went up in 1996, and since then the percentage of quality comments has gone down from like 95% to around 0.5%. I say "blog" because the word wasn't coined yet. My site was the nerdiest thing you have ever seen - was a scifi/fantasy fan site. I even had fan fiction on there. It wasn't my first website, just my first reverse chronological content-managed site with comments.

    Way less than 1% of your audience comments on the blog. Of those I would say the vast majority do not "contribute to the conversation" (unless you could "first!" and "I agree!").

    On my own blog I became disenchanted because of the haters, spammers and trolls, so I stopped posting. OK, had some issues in my personal life that meant I didn't want to spare the time/energy too. I'd made it so you could only comment in the first two weeks after a post was published which cut the spammers and slowed but didn't completely stop the haters, those chose to use the contact form or unsubscribe instead. I also had a commenting service that claimed to help stem spam ruin older comments by duplicating them.

    I'm going to turn off comments on my site and get back into publishing again. If people complain then I guess they would rather see their own names on my site than mine ;)

    Yes, you should build community, but it doesn't need to be in the comment area and not everyone is entitled to a voice. Your home, your rules.

    People forget how much community building we do. Comments is just one place, and probably one of the least valuable.
    Chris Garrett recently posted..Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad StrategyMy Profile

    • Hi Chris,

      Thank you for the detailed... comment. :D I'm not sure I agree that the blog comment space is the least valuable place for community building. What would you suggest instead? I have Facebook Groups, active social media channels, participate in niche forums, etc - but I don't own or have any control over those spaces. Your profile, group, posts etc can get deleted. I used to have a super active spot on MySpace at one time. ;-)

      I've been working on (and enjoying!) the internet almost as long as you - just over 17 years - so you have a more historical perspective than most as well. Given the history of change, the come and go, you would still prefer to build core community content off-site?

      "Your home, your rules." < - I agree. To each their own. As for me and my blog, I really enjoy the conversations here and plan to keep them. The comments so far on this post alone are interesting and thought-provoking. In my opinion they add even more value to the post - which I started yes, but with the intention of having an open discussion.
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Google Takes Action Against Guest BloggingMy Profile

      • > you would still prefer to build core community content off-site?

        A few years ago I closed my free forum for the same reasons. Free and public (in some cases) attracts bad actors once you tip past a certain point of scale. A blog with under 1,000 to a few thousand subscribers is not going to be worth manual effort to spam because the visibility benefit is not worth it for all but the most automated folks. Once links and visibility on the site is desirable then the attacks increase.

        My forum was fine until it got into thousands of active members, when it suddenly got listed on sites telling spammers where to get free authority links, was linked from sites that were set up to attack anyone earning affiliate or "internet marketing" income, and was constantly attacked by hackers who looked in scraped google listings for any ranking sites using the forum platform I used. Most of those things are mitigated when you stop having a free community (even $1 is a big barrier to the spammers and time-wasters).

        On Google+ it's more difficult to be anonymous, and obviously our paid community, webinars, google hangouts, etc etc do not attract the haters quite as much.

        You will note Brian still has comments enabled on newrainmaker.com - that doesn't have the scale yet of Copyblogger and has yet to attract the people who just want to see their own name in lights.

        Seems a lot of people have the idea "everyone is entitled to my opinion, hear me roar" :)
        Chris Garrett recently posted..Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad StrategyMy Profile

        • You make some very good points, and I agree 100% on the quality of users inside private or paid areas of a site. I run a private brainstorming group and it's one of my favorite spots on the web! However, most of those people became members only after interacting with me publicly and/or reading the comments of others who were already involved (ie social proof).

          I have an amazing assistant that moderates my blogs, my forum, my inbox, etc. She enjoys working from home, and I enjoy contributing to her lifestyle. Speaking of, I'm sure she dislikes spam even more than I do. :P

          Yes, everyone IS entitled to an opinion. And opinions from real people are exactly what I DO want in my blog comments. Including your opinions - which I've greatly enjoyed! :D

    • p.s. I totally get how tiring it is dealing with spam, trolls, haters, etc. I have software in place but also outsource my comment moderation - as well as spam in other places: email, forum, etc. It's everywhere! But in almost ten straight years, it has never stopped me from blogging my heart out!

      Better software/plugins would be great, and outsourcing keeps it from being a distraction to the blog author - and also puts someone in a home-based job, which is great! You just can't let spam control you, or the direction of your business. If we did, who would even have email anymore?! lol...
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Blogging Concentrated Event in Nashville, TNMy Profile

    • "Yes, you should build community, but it doesn't need to be in the comment area and not everyone is entitled to a voice. Your home, your rules." - Chris Garrett

      Chris, one of my favorite lines. thank you for your candidness on this topic.

      Lynn, I agree - it is an interesting experiment, but some of it does make sense. Since your entire search engine ranking (for Google at least) is now essentially based on what you do on/with G+, I'd be putting all my time and moving things there too. (although I personally am not, as I don't participate in the Google monopoly)

      Copyblogger has such a big name already though, I wonder if their experiment will yield that many different results - vs someone smaller using this strategy.

      Did they say if they were going to post results and for how long they are doing this? Are the results going to include the annoyance they can not hear from their prospects, target audience when they have to look everywhere to post a comment? Would love to see them use Clicktale or Crazyegg to see the results of people reading the post, and then either clicking the link to post to G+ or just leaving the site altogether after they finish reading the blog. That would be a strong indicator of how much their audience likes their new strategy.

      I am not a G+ fan at all. If I am forced to go to their page just to comment on a blog post, I won't bother.

      I do think they will loose a lot of comments, but they are such a big name - it really won't affect them. Besides, comments are nice, but it's the quality of the comment that makes the difference between engagement or community or building rapport vs people just sharing a thought on a onsey/twosey post a few times a year. (ex: "I agree" "Great point" etc)

      So the bigger question I would ask is should we still be using FB comments for our blog posts or go back to pre-social media time and use just standard WP blog comments form?

      Jaxi

  2. Honestly I'm getting to this point as well, I wish there was a way to get notifications of blog mentions on google+ otherwise I would switch completely over too. I was using a google+ comment plugin and I liked it except I wasn't getting notifications. Let's face it copyblogger probably doesn't have the time to reply to all their comments and they will get more out of the sm.
    Pepper recently posted..Family Fun: Spring Break Fun at SeasideMy Profile

    • Hi Pepper! :D

      Is that mainly due to the amount of comment spam you're getting? I have avoided the Google+ AND Facebook blog commenting options and chose to stick with simple/basic built-in WordPress commenting for two reasons:

      1) I don't lose my comments if I lose those social accounts (and yes, that does and can happen).

      2) People who don't use a certain social media channel aren't excluded from the discussion. It seems really rude to me to say "Only Facebook users are allowed to comment on this content."

      I also don't comment on blogs that use those social commenting plugins because I don't necessarily want my comment or activity showing up on my social profile or feed. Using the example of Copyblogger, maybe I'm reading it to be a better food blogger. My comments or questions there are totally irrelevant to the people following ME on Google+ to learn about eating low carb... ;-)
      Lynn Terry recently posted..My Advice Is Completely Useless...My Profile

  3. 100% agree with you Lynn! I think it's RUDE and personally, it irks the crap out of me when I land on a site with comments closed.

    Feels like someone who invites you over to for a party or something and says "Shhhh! No talking. You can look but that's all."

    I'll take my readership elsewhere :) And I get lots of spam - and Akismet does most of the work for me. If you stay on top of the comments, it's not a huge hassle.

    And I LOVE the point you made about people not wanting to publicly comment on social media. I was thinking the same thing. If I HAVE to go comment on Twitter or wherever, anyone can see my actions if they look at my feed. I'm personally blunt and don't care who sees what, but what if I did?

    So yes, I'll keep comments open - and I d@*m sure won't be helping a site get inbound links when they're not even considerate enough to want to engage with me.

    If I blog about this topic, which I may, I'll link here to you, but I won't be giving them what they're wanting - a link to the original blog. (Of course you did so I might be shooting myself in the foot, but I'll figure out a way around that LOL).

    :)

    • LOL Tiffany - I always enjoy your comments! :D I find the "feelings" part interesting. Like Chris saying above that it made him feel disenchanted or not want to blog anymore. Or you feeling irked (taking it personal) and annoyed enough to make it a point not to link to them. I'm not saying it's bad or wrong, just interesting - because I don't really "feel" any of those things. I just found it an interesting topic, and even more so - an interesting (and obvious) strategy.

      I'm totally curious (if that's a feeling? lol) why they seem to be leaving Facebook out altogether. At least for now. Though they haven't really worked to engage on their Facebook Page - from my perspective - anyway. I get tons of engagement and clicks from Facebook, so I certainly wouldn't leave it out! Again, as I said in a comment above, it's "rude" to exclude certain users, or even make them feel excluded.

      I've been browsing the discussions across the web about this topic, as well as the Guest Blogging Penalty, and notice a lot of people seem shocked or mad or what have you. I just can't get that riled up so easily... apparently. :P
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Google Takes Action Against Guest BloggingMy Profile

      • We are not anti-facebook, just know where our ROI is. Personally I have a couple of FB communities, and Brian has used it VERY effectively on one of his projects, but as a company we are placing energies elsewhere.

        On the emotions point ... We are a data-driven company, but I am personally over sensitive ;)
        Chris Garrett recently posted..Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad StrategyMy Profile

      • Ah everything I do is somehow rooted in emotions. :) I take relationship building very important - and it's why I enjoy YOUR blog ad YOUR FB. You're real. You're Lynn. You video blog, you show us Slim and Molly and blog about down times as well as good. You even blurt out a four letter word now and then. That builds trust with me (the realness) so when someone makes a business decision about comments - which are 100% about relationships and interaction, I will go wayyyy overboard with my emotional reaction :) LOL

        • I totally get that, Tiffany. I enjoy the "real" about the people I know and/or follow too. Every piece adds to the puzzle and influences my perception of a person or business, for sure.

          Speaking of, there was a great comment on the other post about this topic that you and I were discussing on Facebook. Two actually, from John Richardson who is a Copyblogger customer:

          http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/03/26/eliminating-comments/#comment-1307210843

          "what really has me baffled is why they just didn't come out with a comment solution that would tie in with their popular StudioPress line? With this move, they have just given up and waved the white flag and deferred to Google. This certainly can't be a plus for anyone looking to become a blogger. When one of the top blogs in the country gives up, why would anyone want to buy one of their blog templates?"

          And: http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/03/26/eliminating-comments/#comment-1308131762

          "For a lot of people, the Copyblogger family of products is what blogging is all about. I have a pro license for their Studiopress templates, I use Premise for landing pages, and have used Scribe for years for SEO. When you have spent hundreds of dollars over the years on products you love, you have something invested in the company. To cut off a conversation just seems like the wrong move. Time will tell. I was actually hoping that Brian Clark would bring out the next big thing that would move blogging forward, not backwards. We certainly need something to revitalize the powerful conversations blogs used to provide."

          ... Thoughts?

      • Lynn,

        Tiffany's blog is one of the first I found on my search for people I could trust, learn from, and want to follow. A big part of that came from the fact that I could comment, ask questions, and get answers!

        The same has been true of your blog in regards to figuring out that I can trust you and learn from you. Without the comments and answers from you (and the fact that I could see what others were saying to and about you in the comments), I don't know whether I'd have signed up for your private forums, purchased some of your products, etc.... same with Tiffany.

        On top of that, I've "met" some awesome "strangers" on both of your blogs that I've found things in common with and gotten to know over on THEIR blogs (which I may never have done had we not all been commenting with the two of you to begin with!)

        I see no reason to completely shut people down. There are some topics that I feel I want to comment on and others that I don't. There are topics that I read thru many of the comments on where someone else sparks an idea, blog topic, or idea to consider that I may not have otherwise.

        So yes, to me, it's rude to shut us down like this and tell us that we can't comment. I stopped reading Seth Godin's blog for that reason, and I'm sure I'll find some excellent people to learn from that offer what Copyblogger's been offering (who will allow me to have a 2-way discussion). I see no excuse to not outsource it if they've simply gotten too busy to talk to "us".

        Sounds like they've gotten rid of those friends they had that are there to remind them of where they came from (or maybe they simply never had those types of friends?... how sad)
        Debi J recently posted..It’s a Parents Job to Prevent Childhood Obesity!My Profile

        • I agree there's no excuse not to outsource comment moderation. That's obviously just a copout for the real agenda. It was a great PR stunt for starters, and it's clear they are trying to build on Google+ and natural (dofollow) inbound links. That's the only reason I can see, anyway. The question is... WHY - when they obviously enjoy authority and high rank already? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out...

          Like you, I've met some great people and made some great connections through the blogs I read and enjoy. It's a shame to see the comments go - even on their archived posts, which were full of interesting points.
          Lynn Terry recently posted..Video Lighting Comparison - See For Yourself!My Profile

          • > That's obviously just a copout for the real agenda

            If accusations is the way this is going I guess I am out of here.
            Chris Garrett recently posted..Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad StrategyMy Profile

          • I think I qualified my statement quite clearly. Your opinion - or behind the scenes knowledge - is just as welcome here. It's an open discussion, and I've enjoyed your input on it so far! *cheers*

            p.s. I have the highest respect for you and have always enjoyed your content and products, and you as a person. I would hate for an open discussion, or even a debate or disagreement, to create any negative vibes between us as individuals. ;-)

  4. Hi Lynn, I have already commented on your Facebook thread, so I won't repeat here but just to say, I won't be following their lead.

    How are you supposed to build a relationship if you take away the form of communication?

    Have a great day, Monna
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted..Create Yourself Writing Workshop Inspiring New WritersMy Profile

    • Thanks for commenting here too, Monna. :D They did address that question in their original post, stating they already felt they had a strong community / relationship. And of course there are other places and other ways to build those relationships.

      Another interesting point to consider is how it will affect the amount of time visitors spend on their site. Obviously people who enjoy the comments as much as (or more than) the post itself will be leaving quicker. And do you want someone to view multiple pages on your site, whether they're leaving a comment or clicking the next related post (yes!) - or do you want them exiting immediately through an off-site social media link?

      Food for thought. ;-)
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Dealing With Stress & OverwhelmMy Profile

      • > do you want someone to view multiple pages on your site

        People do view multiple articles on our site. Comments don't move that needle for us. Take a look and you will see how often related content is linked from within the article body.

        Unlike most sites, we don't need page views, our business goal is for people to consume our content enough to grow to like and trust us, which means they are more likely to convert into a subscriber, member and customer.
        Chris Garrett recently posted..Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad StrategyMy Profile

  5. > they're not even considerate enough to want to engage with me.

    > How are you supposed to build a relationship if you take away the form of communication?

    You guys surely don't think blog comments are the only way to engage? :)

    I was just at a big social media conference. Not one person I talked to thought us closing comments was a bad thing, and most of the ones with popular blogs are now considering it for their own sites. The YouTube channel owners wish they could ban comments completely :)

    Your mileage may vary :)
    Chris Garrett recently posted..Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad StrategyMy Profile

    • I've already addressed most of those points in my comments above. But I had to stop here and agree with you on the YouTube comments. They have to be the absolute worst on the web! :P I would turn off comments at YouTube quicker than I would ever consider turning off comments here at ClickNewz. ;-)
      Lynn Terry recently posted..My Advice Is Completely Useless...My Profile

  6. Dermot Gilley says:

    Maybe copyblogger think they can afford it. After being an established incumbent one can after a while concentrate on other things. Maybe. I happen to know online newspapers who sagged in visitor traffic after switching off commenting. (The ones I know did it less because of spam as such, but because of the legal implications of links posted leading to potentially illegal political activity that might get the paper penalized or harassed by authorities as well.) The problem with comment spam is also, that many SEO rookies don't get it: they are not getting PageRank passed via nofollow links and they won't do themselves a favor if the contents are stupid. Since they get the latter (I assume), they must do it because many still believe it increases PR?!

  7. Hi Lynn,

    Interesting move by Copyblogger.

    I turned on the do follow or turned off the no follow on a previous wp template, it wasn't a plugin it was written into the code for the template, all I could do was toggle on and off. I thought my commenters wanted back links so I will help them out.

    Anyway, I wasn't watching it closely, I received 100,000 comments in about 30 days, 99.99...% spam. I had to manually mass delete them from the mysql database.

    I still get about 4,000 comments a month and I am sure 99.99% are spam. I was spending allot of time trying to decide what was spam and what wasn't spam so I could approve and respond post. Most of the time, the comments are not related to the blog post they are commenting on. That is not to mention the blog post that are totally nonsense. or just a list of links. I decided it was a futile effort and wasting allot of my time, I should be spending doing other things.

    I can feel Copybloggers' pain

    I don't get near the traffic Copyblogger gets. I can only imagine the amount of spam he gets and he has to pay someone to go through it, figure out what isn't spam and respond to it.

    Lynn, I read your comments and you are very successful at weeding out the junk. You have a loyal fan base that like to engage in conversations with you.

    Your right your focus should be to grow your loyal fan base the comments should be a great way to get instant feed back from your fans. It would be, if a few people wouldn't spoil it for everyone.

    I can see getting so big that you may not be able to go though all the comments to determine which ones are legitimate or spam. You have to decided what is more important invest time and money. I believe Copyblogger has decided social media is more important than comments to invest his resources.

    I am sure that it is rude, I won't be following suite but I am going play the devils advocate and say his website his rules. Hopefully this new system will work for him.

    I have said enough

    • I agree with you Dianna, they can certainly do whatever they please when it comes to their site or business, and that goes for anyone. We just recently had that discussion regarding Google and their recent PR stunt against Guest Blogging. Still, it makes for an interesting topic and I am really enjoying the discussion on it!

      I also agree that moderating comment spam is a royal pain. But to me it's just part of life. I get TONS of email spam, phone spam, social media spam - spam is everywhere. I have an awesome assistant that moderates things like that of course. It's still overwhelming, even with great help - I have Twitter DM's, Facebook Messages, even TEXT spam. Yes it sucks. Very much.

      I don't plan to throw away my cell phone, close my Inbox, shut down my social media accounts - and I certainly don't plan to close blog comments either.

      That said, I do agree with you - it's their option - and am VERY interested to see the results of their experiment. ;-)
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Google Takes Action Against Guest BloggingMy Profile

  8. Hi Lynn, my blog is really only just getting started, but I cannot see how turning comments off and relying totally on Social could benefit my readership.

    I always post links to my articles to my social platforms anyway and I do get more comments on those than on the actual post, but it seems my natural search engine traffic is higher on those (few) blog posts that do have comments.

    Above all else, I want to be able to engage with people on my own site, which I control, rather than on a social site where the rules can, and do, change all the time.

    Great post by the way, it is good to see both sides of the argument.

    Cheers, Ian
    Ian Campbell recently posted..An Online Sales Strategy That WorksMy Profile

    • Oh, and between Akismet and having my blog set to manually approve comments I only have quality comments on my site so far, so I don't see the problem as yet on too much spam. Maybe when I get bigger I will, but like you that is when I will outsource my comment moderation. :-)
      Ian Campbell recently posted..Why You Need Your Own Website To Succeed OnlineMy Profile

    • Thank you Ian. :D Glad you enjoyed the post! I've really enjoyed the discussion, and all the different viewpoints.

      Regarding your posts with more comments ranking better, it would be interesting to know if that has more to do with the topic, the keyword targeting, that it ranks well because it encouraged people to link to it and/or share it more - meaning the content was so enjoyed it encouraged comments AND links. Or if just comments on a post alone (along with the additional pageviews and more time spent on the page) affect the "ranking score".

      I admit I do find it curious that anyone on the Copyblogger team, meaning the writers and public figures specifically, would be moderating comments. That's definitely a job for someone else if that was the case. That said, I don't think that was the real issue/reason for the decision.
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Video Lighting Comparison - See For Yourself!My Profile

  9. Seth Godin removed his comments section back in 2006. There are several others that have done this as well.

    It's always been a controversial topic from both sides. Lots of blog posts and debates done on this topic over the years, especially after Seth made the decision to remove comments. I can see both sides perspective. There are pros and cons for both.

    • Interestingly, Seth Godin is the author of the book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - which is one of his top sellers.

      The first line on the description of the book at Amazon (see link above) is: "A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea."

      Here's the post where he explained why he doesn't allow comments:
      http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/06/why_i_dont_have.html

      In a Ted Talk video he speaks on the topic of "being the king" and "speaking to the peons" - versus being a leader, or creating a tribe, which he describes as "leading and connecting people and ideas."

      Here's the link to the video:
      http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead#t-410120

      Some have argued there's a contradiction there. Obviously there are other ways to lead and to connect people and ideas. Many have commented both here and on various posts & updates around the web on this topic that the blog comments are "where they connect" or "where they feel connected" - all of which makes good food for thought.

  10. This is quite the interesting topic and I'm sure that we will see many more sites and blogs move to the no-commenting feature. At the end of the day, spam and trolls are taking up too much time and it's way to easy for them to benefit off legitimate web site and traffic through drive by spam comments. Valuable comments and discussions are lacking and they aren't what they used to be years ago. This can be heavily attributed to not only social media, but just how much of an overload of content we have to deal with on a daily basis. With all of that said, I am also considering making the move to "no comments" across a few of my sites.
    Zac Johnson recently posted..The Ultimate Up-Sell: How TV Ads are Cashing In OnlineMy Profile

    • You'll always see a "mass exodus" from a concept or place when a leader pulls out, or when a topic gets hot. I've seen it over and over. Personally I don't think this is a time where there's good enough reason to "blindly follow suit" - not without making a serious logical decision for your business.

      I disagree that comment spam is an easy way to benefit. It's pretty useless. It gets filtered out, moderated, deleted, nofollowed, ignored, etc. It's one of the stupidest and least effective ways to benefit actually.

      I also disagree that valuable comments are lacking. This post (and more importantly, the comments on this post) proves that in my book. I still get a lot of great, thought-provoking legitimate comments and questions.

      As for the overload of content "we have to deal with" - that's definitely a problem. But also a point of Personal Responsibility. We all have the option to receive and consume as much or as little content as we prefer. No one is shoving content down our throat, so to speak. You can turn off your phone, turn off your television, unsubscribe from email lists, filter your email, segment your social media content streams, etc.

      I have a personal rule to "create as much content as you consume" - which really limits how much time I spend just reading or consuming random content, and forces me to focus on those pieces I think will benefit me most.

      Great points, great discussion! :D

  11. I get that I can respond on my website with a post giving my take on what someone has written on their site. But that only works if your website is relevant to that post. It would be just plain weird for me to write a post on Outdoor Cooking Magic about something on CopyBlogger or ClickNewz because it isn't relevant to the topic of my website or to my market. But I might want to comment on something that was written on those other sites and it seems like the best, centralized, most relevant place to do that would be where the original post is. If I want to comment on a CopyBlogger post, where do I do that now? If it's off on social media land somewhere, I think that I have much less of a chance of getting a response from the author.
    Scott recently posted..Six Things To Do To Get Ready for the Grilling Season!My Profile

    • I agree Scott - and that was one of my main arguments against their request as well. I don't want to post on social media updates that aren't relevant to MY social media profiles. If you're tweeting them comments and questions for example, anyone following you for outdoor cooking tips is going to see that as well. Irrelevant for your stream, but good for them (for exposure). It doesn't make sense for you, as a reader, in any way. Unless you're in the same niche as that blogger - which is a HUGE assumption.
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Video Lighting Comparison - See For Yourself!My Profile

  12. Hi Lynn,

    This whole topic is very intriguing and very interesting. You have to wonder what the next move will be by Google or any other large content marketing site.

    I also can't stand it when I'm all ready to comment on something just read, and the comments are either closed or non-existent. So, why did you post this blog/article piece anyway if no one can reply to it!

    I like the part about throwing it to SM - perhaps CB feels that this is just the natural way comments should flow, but having a very specific local site may not be conducive to sharing fully the way you would in a combox.

    I'm glad for the plugin advice; was wondering about things like that and you cleared that up, thank you! In between writing content, and the 99 other things needed daily to tweak my site, I don't have time for this spam-stuff, so perhaps instead of slapping people down, Google could come up with a solution to this problem that would make everybody happy.
    Geesh!

    • There's not really anything Google can do about moderating comments or comment spam. They've already created the nofollow link attribute to protect bloggers from any links placed in the comment area - but that's as far as their reach extends on this topic.

      As for commenting via Social Media, the part I dislike about that is that comments get truncated if they're more than a few short lines - and the entire comment stream gets collapsed - so it's more work to scan the comments or see full comments. Blah. Not ideal by any means. Especially considering the "discussion" is spread out everywhere between social media channels and external blog posts.
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Google Takes Action Against Guest BloggingMy Profile

  13. Terry S. says:

    I can see both sides of this issue, and there have been good points made on both sides.

    Personally, I prefer to have a comment section where people can participate if they so desire.

    How do I deal with spam?
    - Akismet
    - manual moderation
    - allowing only no-follow links to relevant content elsewhere (as a safeguard, comments with links are flagged) and replacing undesirable links with "[link removed]" as a warning to others
    - stating my moderation policies in no uncertain terms in the "leave a comment" area

    Since my websites are generally unrelated to some blogs I read, I don't leave any URLs behind - to my site OR latest posts. This is also my way of letting the blog owner know that I'm not commenting in order to get a link. ;-)

    Will I continue to read Copyblogger? Yes, because they have info I can use.

    However, their new no-comment policy makes their site far less valuable to me for two reasons:

    1) I have less content to learn from, and
    2) I can't ask questions raised by their article or comments, or leave any kind of article/comment feedback.

    I will NOT use my personal social media accounts to interact with commercial* sites (which might spam my contacts), so I'm really left with no options for interacting with them.
    [* If the site makes money, it's commercial.]

    Thanks for a thoughtful and thought-provoking article, Lynn!

    • Good points Terry! And thank YOU for a thoughtful and thought-provoking addition to the discussion. ;-) I enjoy the content at Copyblogger as well, so I will also continue to read the relevant pieces as the come through too.

  14. Personally, I could care less what Copyblogger does with their commenting system. I never placed a comment there (that I can recall) and won't be following them on social media. They're just not my cup of tea. :)

    I prefer the "less stuffy" atmospheres run by women. I don't get into the blogs run by men who are linear thinkers, thinking with their heads, and not with their hearts.

    I prefer the "communities" that allow me to share my voice (like this one) and don't force me to share that opinion off the website that stirred the EMOTION in the first place.

    I DISLIKE blogs that don't give me a choice of how I comment. I can't stand the blog that forces me to share across social media, but doesn't think my opinion is worthy of having it anchored to their comment area.

    If you're running a blog, and replacing the commenting system with a Google Plus plugin, at least let the regular WP comment area in tact. Forcing me to use a social media site to engage with you is downright rude.

    Don't force people to conform to YOUR IDEA of where they engage. Let them decide where you get the pleasure of their company.

    So go ahead Copyblogger, experiment to your heart's content. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. :)
    Bonnie Gean recently posted..Video Blogging Challenge &#8211; Day #20My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bonnie! I find it interesting how everyone feels so differently on the topic - and WHY they feel the way they do.

      Interesting point about male vs female bloggers. I know some *very* stuffy female market leaders, and some openly thoughtful (feeling) male market leaders - so I see it less about gender and more about individual personality. We're all attracted to people we most resonate with - which is as it should be!

      As for what I read, where I read it, etc - that decision is based solely on the quality of content and whether I can benefit from investing my time to consume that content, period. That's just me. I'm all about learning what I need to know to do what I need to do, and then getting it done. ;-) *cheers*
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Video Lighting Comparison - See For Yourself!My Profile

      • Yes, it's interesting to read all the comments to see how people feel about a certain topic.

        I also find it interesting that Copyblogger didn't ask their market what they wanted before making the announcement about shutting down blog comments. After all, aren't these the same people you want subscribed to a mailing list and buying products?

        I didn't mean to pit women against men - I do have some male favorites, but if I had my choice of where I hang my commenting hat -- 95% of the time it's going to be aboard a female-operated website. :)

        By the way, I don't care to follow Seth Godin, either; hence, I didn't care when he shut his commenting system down. :)

        I do read across the net, whether it's on a social media platform, discussion board, and/or a blog. However, it's also important to remain steadfast in where I will comment in regards to that information.

        I don't expect to go to a discussion board and have a moderator tell me to use my own blog to comment. Where's the "logic" in that? The same holds true for a blog. If I read something that warrants a comment, I don't expect to get shuffled to a social media platform to interact with that content.

        I may choose to "share it" on my own if I like the topic, but I don't care for the idea that you give me information to consume and then shuffle me to a different part of the net to leave a comment about it. If that's the case, your expectations are too high!

        Had you let me comment right there on the spot, you would get engagement. Force me to go elsewhere to share my opinion and now I'm jumping through hoops just to talk with you. Forget it -- I don't have that much time. :)
        Bonnie Gean recently posted..Video Blogging Challenge &#8211; Day #20My Profile

        • I hear you on that point. I had a hard time *finding* the Google+ thread/discussion on the original post. But after some digging, I did find it. It's a hassle for sure. I'm glad they're putting direct links to discussions on their newer posts at least.

          Still, you don't see the full discussion, since some are blogging a response and some are tweeting a response, and who knows what/where else - right? I agree that it's all too much trouble, so it just means less people will get (or STAY) involved in a hot topic or good discussion.
          Lynn Terry recently posted..My Advice Is Completely Useless...My Profile

    • Copyblogger is run by Sonia Simone. She's a woman, just in case that's not clear.

      • Thank you for bringing it to light. You're correct in your thinking, it wasn't clear. When I go to Copyblogger and read the "about us" page - I see your name, not hers.

        When I hear about Copyblogger, which is mostly through Jon Morrow, it's your name he touts, not Simone's.

        If there is a woman running the show over there, there's no direct correlation between the content, the overall vibe I get, and a girl running the show.
        Bonnie Gean recently posted..Video Blogging Challenge &#8211; Day #20My Profile

        • I'm on the mycopyblogger list and all emails are signed liked this:

          "Sonia Simone
          Co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media"

          so there definitely is a woman running the joint :)

          • Hi Eva,

            Thanks for the clarification that there's a girl running the email list; the problem is, I am NOT on their email list and unless I see a girl's name on the "about us" page - how do I know who is running the show? :)

            Brian Clark, the Founder of Copyblogger, is shown on the about us page, but if there's a girl over there doing the work -- why isn't she given recognition for her efforts and introduced from the same page?

            A better question might be, "How many other girls never bothered signing up to the email notification list because they weren't aware that a girl was serving up the content?"

            Full disclosure would have helped. :) Just saying.
            Bonnie Gean recently posted..Why It&#8217;s Essential to Replace the YouTube ThumbnailMy Profile

          • Any type of prejudice or discrimination would only restrict the person that makes choices based on that notion. In this case, they would miss out on a lot of great content that could benefit their business, based on perceived gender bias alone. That's unfortunate.

  15. Hi Lynn,
    You used the word "Rude" in describing Google's changes for commenting on blog posts...I have a few other words for google: arrogant and largess (getting too big for their britches!)
    I am actually wondering if their new plan may end up backfiring on them. There is much confusion since this change went public and people are expressing their opinions in a very public way and they are using facebook to do so: ironic!

    Some people are still confused about SEO and commenting or sharing on their social media platforms even before this new change from Google is taking place. There is a large segment of people who use social media but are unfamiliar with using G+. Forcing people to do things is never the answer which is why I am of the "school" that thinks this change may backfire on them...I am almost hoping that it does to knock a few blocks off of their shoulders!
    Thanks for the great post, Lynn and I would love to know what you think about my "backfire theory"?
    Diane Comeau
    Diane Comeau recently posted..Best Online Income Strategies Welcomes You!My Profile

    • Hi Diane,

      There's no change from Google regarding blog comments. This was a choice made by a single business/website: Copyblogger.com - just to clarify. Google is on a completely different rant at the moment, lol. (See link below)

      As for whether it backfires on them, time will tell. As they said themselves, it's "an experiment" and they've commented they'll be willing to say it went totally wrong and bring comments back - if they see a negative impact.

      I have a feeling most of Copyblogger's readers are G+ savvy - the majority at least. Especially given the content they've written (leading up to this) educating their audience on Google+...
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Google Takes Action Against Guest BloggingMy Profile

  16. I'd be so embarrassed if I liked ballet. LOL, wait...I do like ballet. :-)
    Alice Seba recently posted..Getting Better Results from Your GhostwriterMy Profile

    • LOL Alice! :P That wasn't the best example, hey? haha - You get the point though, I'm sure. ;-) What say you about blog comments. I notice you're also very active in your comment section, interacting with your readers...

      • Sorry, I didn't see this earlier. I really don't care if people have comments or not or want to shut them off. I always respond to mine because I prefer it...but if I got hundreds for each post, I might not be so enthusiastic.

        Overall, I think the desire for comments are a distraction for many online business owners. I personally don't care if I get comments, but I do care if I get people to buy products.
        Alice Seba recently posted..Want More Profit? 15 Things…My Profile

  17. I think it is that syndrome when you get too big for your own boots and think that you can make decisions like this.. I dare say that they would have some regulars that will not be happy with this decision. It's unfortunate that the community they built has no choice but to comment on social media..

    But as I see it, they have seriously moved away from just being a blog now.. They are really just product creators and are probably concentrating on that..
    mitz recently posted..7 Habits of Highly NOT Effective BloggersMy Profile

  18. Lynn, I agree with the benefits of blog comments. I wonder if the number of posts and comments the Copyblogger decision has generated is an indication of people willing to contribute to the conversation despite the removal of blog comments.

    However I can see where Copyblogger is coming from in terms of their making a decision as to how audience building and engagement fits into the overall strategy of their business.

    It will be interesting to see how this unfolds for blogs removing blog comments, as to whether it is more of a strategy or a tactic.
    Vinay Koshy recently posted..Blog Comments: Strategy or TacticMy Profile

  19. I was diligently reading the comments until I got about 60% of the way down, according to my scrollbar, and zoned out. I was absorbing the information and trying to get both sides of the conversation, until I got to the comment that mentioned Seth Godin turned off his comments in 2006.

    I have to say that I visited his website once, or maybe even twice, a long time ago, and got turned off because it was just a one sided spiel from somebody on a soapbox. No way to interact. I left and haven't been back.

    I bought one of his books, because I recognized his name from here. It was crappy, lousy, awful. It was what it was intended to be, a self-liquidating promotion. i.e. A promotion that paid for itself. Nothing of value that I would want to keep in my library.

    My guess is, that despite protestations to the contrary, Copyblogger is getting ahead of the pressure curve from Google as they start to flex their muscles around the internet, just as Microsoft did years ago in the desktop arena. They probably are moving to get in compliance with the Big G's future intimidation model, and avoiding anything that smells of unapproved promotion.

    Staying away from Facebook isn't such a bad idea now either. Example, EAT24 taking down their Facebook page. They worked to get likes and Facebook hammers on them, wanting to charge as if they were advertising and flooding their page with unrelated ads. I expect G will do something different, but of the same genre.
    Kirk Ward recently posted..How “Larry” Added 187 New Tax Clients This YearMy Profile

  20. Date2Relate says:

    We enjoyed this post Lynne. It's a shame that hundreds of thousands have to ruin things for the rest of us. And about the DoFollow, we appreciate the heads up. We should be live shortly.

  21. Hello Lynn Terry!
    I was going to add google plus commenting system on my blog and taking off wordpress default commenting system . But after reading this post I have come to realize it would be a "rude" movement but its a great strategy for social media exposure . don't you think?

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