Blog Comment Solutions

Last month I wrote up a big post on Insight into Blog Comment spam and this article carries that theme forward by looking at what are some of the top comment platforms used and how well they perform. The data set I used was only 17 respondents but they were all experienced and well known bloggers so they have both a large audience of readers and audience that spammers would be more likely to target their blog.

What is the current Blog comment platform you use?

It wasn’t a massive surprise but 65% of the respondents to my survey showed a strong preference for using the default WordPress comment system which is preferred because it obviously requires no effort to setup.

Blog comment platform used
Would you change what Blog comment platform you are using? If so what would be the alternative?

It was also interesting to find out that a 53% of respondents did not plan on changing comment platform.  But what is interesting is that 4 out of 5 current users of Disqus said they would not change their platform where for WordPress it was only 45% that would not change their platform.

What blog platform

 How do you find the current blog comment platform for dealing with spam?

Just under half (47%) of respondents found their current blog comment platform was performing above average.  Once again Disqus more than out performing with the ratings all “above average” and one “excellent”.

Dealing with Spam

How do you find the current blog comment platform for dealing with moderation?

I surprised to see that webmasters feel that a majority of the blog comment platform quite well for moderation with 58% ranking their comment platforms as above average and 35% ranking them as excellent.  I think the problem with this question is the definition of moderation is likely interpreted differently between respondents.

Dealing with comment moderation

How do you find the current blog platform for dealing with self-promotion?

It seems that while the current blog platforms are good with moderation but average for dealing with self-promotion. It seems based on the respondents that the blog comment platforms pretty much suck for dealing with self-promotion, this could also be that it’s very hard to define what is self-promotion sometimes.

Dealing with self-promotion

How do you find the current blog platform for engagement?

Both Disqus and WordPress got 2 votes for “excellent” and also 1 vote each for “below average”, but I was surprised that there was a fairly positive view for both platforms.  I had expected to see Disqus slightly higher because of the social interactions and votes but maybe with a larger data set that might shift.

Platform engagement

How do you find the currently comment platform for dealing with abuse?

Seems a majority of platforms don’t currently do well with abuse, but Disqus did seem to perform better as it received no “below average” votes unlike WordPress.  Again the definition of abuse is a bit vague as someone swearing in a comment might be abuse to some authors but not to another.  I assume that most respondents might have struggled to interpret what I meant by “abuse” and some blogs might get more abuse within comment threads, towards the blog owner or the writer of the post.

Dealing with abuse

Do you also use Akismet to reduce spam?

It seems that most people use Akismet but not everyone uses the professional or enterprise version, but those using the Free version don’t always have the most negative experience based on their responses.  I would think that blog owners should consider testing/trialing the professional version of Akismet if comments are a problem.

Do you use Akismet

 What about SEO benefits?

It seemed that Disqus comment plugin did appear to perform better for SEO.  But this question could have been easily split into several questions to drill into what SEO benefits they feel they receive as it could be improved onsite content, improved referral links, cross linking between profiles & comments and more. The problems with many other comment plugins is that you don’t own your data or the comments and are mostly not indexable/crawlable by Google.

seo-comments

Who helped contribute to this data?

Some of the bloggers & marketers that contributed to this survey that I wanted to thank was Bill Slawski, AJ Ghergich, Barry Wise, Alan K’necht, Chris Gilchrist, Kate Morris, Stephane Hamel, Branko Rihtman, Chris Burgess, Brad Geddes, Dixon Jones, Jason Mun, Tad Chef, Bill Sebald, Lyena Solomon, Jonathan Allen, & one anonymous blogger.

What are the other comment plugin options?

I see from the responses that like myself there are several bloggers that responded to the survey that are open to moving to a new comment plugin.  So I looked into several of the features/benefits of each of the primary blog comment plugins and detailed them below.

Google+ Comments Plugin for WordPress

  • Imports prior public comments made across Google+
  • Platform offers moderators limited filtering comments options
  • Easier sharing of posts on Google+
  • Offers easy interaction with Google+ audience
  • Google+ users can reply directly within Google+ comments
  • Moderators can Flag & Remove Spam Comments
  • Google+ Comments doesn’t paginate comments
  • Google+ doesn’t load all comments by default
  • Google+ comments don’t appear to contribute towards onsite content
  • It forces users to comment with their personal social media accounts
  • You balance the hassle with the hope of getting increased referral traffic from Google+

Facebook Comment Plugins

  • Facebook comments limit comments to those with a Facebook/Yahoo!/AOL or Hotmail account
  • The default comment setting is “post to Facebook” that drives self-promotion and encourages referral traffic
  • Back in 2011 TechCrunch moved to FB which dropped the number of comments but also killed off the low quality & troll comments
  • TechCrunch have also now moved to Livefyre from FB comments after 2 years
  • Facebook comments force users to comment using their personal accounts
  • After making Facebook comments you can get a flood of notifications
  • Facebook controls all your data and you have no option to backup/export or edit existing comments if required and strengthen your dependence on Facebook.
  • Facebook comments are apparently confusing to moderate

Livefyre Comments for WordPress

  • Real-time comments can be hard to moderate (spam issue)
  • Users can now link to external websites instead of their Livefyre profile (spam issue)
  • Liking a comment creates a DoFollow link back via their avatar (spam issue)
  • You don’t own the comment content it’s owned/controlled by Livefyre
  • Posters can tag other users in their comments
  • When they post a comment users can share notification to Twitter/Facebook to drive more engagement and referral traffic back to your post
  • Twitter feeds can bring in irrelevant comments into your comment stream
  • There is limited filters in place on the social conversation feature
  • Moderation of comments not a two-way street between Livefyre and WP comments database.
  • Users can follow “listen” to a conversation which can lift engagement
  • Poor moderation features and no bulk option
  • Replying to comments can be more tedious than other platforms
  • Lower engagement due to requirements to signup to Livefyre platform
  • Limitations with comment formatting and styling of comment box

Disqus Comment System for WordPress

  • The leading third party comment system for blogs
  • Mobile friendly comments and app for site owners for moderation
  • Allows for rich media to be attached with comment (photos, links, video)
  • There is free and premium versions available
  • Users can flag comments for moderation
  • Multiple registration support (Guest, OpenID, Facebook, Twitter, Google)
  • Platform supports word filtering
  • Platform supports blacklists/whitelists
  • Site can display social media reactions (Tweets)
  • Integration with Akismet
  • When importing WP comments it does not support Gravatar images associated with existing comments
  • Seems more SEO friendly as comments can count towards your overall onsite content

IntenseDebate Comments for WordPress

  • Created by owners of WordPress & Akismet
  • Offers reputation points to drive higher quality discussions
  • When they post a comment users can share notification to
  • Twitter to drive more engagement
  • Comment responses sends email notification to bring users back to the site
  • Users can flag comments for moderation
  • Supports widgets to show off comment stats
  • Multiple registration support (OpenID, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress.com)
  • Plugin APIs allow for adding Polls, YouTube videos

Which Platform won?

It’s a hard decision but it seems that Disqus might be the best solution if you are thinking of moving away from WordPress’s default comment platform based on the average ratings were far higher than respondents using WordPress default platform.  There is certainly an advantage using Disqus or WordPress default as your comment plugin if you get comments and want them to contribute towards your overall onsite content.

While Facebook seems to be the easiest solution for brands with large Facebook audiences but most blogs seem to dump them after a while and go back to their old platform and only one blogger did consider Facebook as a possible alternative to their current platform.

I’ve done several tests and found the blog will show in Google when you search for reader comment quotes with Disqus & WordPress but not for Google+, the original Google+ comment can rank but I didn’t see the blog ranking when I searched for the comment.

I think unless you are really wanting to push Google+ down the throats of your users I would say Disqus seems to be the sensible solution and seems to be the solution I would consider migration towards.

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4 comments

  1. Great analysis David. As I mentioned on my response to your previous post, we are all on Disqus. Based on the survey, it looks like we picked the right platform. I was particularly surprised to read that G+ shows up more as a comment on their platform instead of the site. That scratches it off the list without pause.

    If you do similar surveys in the future, please include me. I’d be happy to take part. You can find me on Twitter @tommy_landry or G+ under my own name (just circled you).

    Cheers!
    Tommy

    • David says:

      Cheers for the comment Tommy, I’m sure with some more research into it maybe there are cases of Google+ comments actually doing something of value but in my tests of several high profile sites that use it I couldn’t find an example where the blog seemed to benefit from publishing the comment. If it had of been with the default WP plugin or Disqus then they would be great for increase visibility due to more great and relevant comments.

      Will keep you in mind next time I do a research piece, I think a larger data set would have been good but super gracious to my respondents who completed the survey without much context and it was done a few weeks ago.

      Thanks again!

  2. brad says:

    David,

    I think the other aspect of this that you started to cover is what platform draws more comments. For instance, I won’t ever comment using a facebook account due to privacy/notification issues.

    With Disquis, I’m ok using it as I can login via twitter; but if that wasn’t a login option, then I wouldn’t comment using it.

    We’ve done a few comment tests, and facebook always lost due to the volume of comments dropping significantly. I usually see a larger volume of comments with wordpress over disquis, but the quality of comments is usually slightly higher with disquis.

    • David says:

      Very true Brad I did want to touch on that point but it’s fairly painful data to gather so I couldn’t expect too many respondents to manually match up impressions/views to comments. It would have given a lot more support for Disqus or WordPress I feel as I think I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve used Facebook or Google+ comment plugins, if I see those I move on. I do take my comment that I would have posted on their page and post it to Google+, Linkedin or Facebook so in that case the only winners would be those that use Google+ but even then I’d probably mute the post fairly quickly so I don’t get a flood of Google+ notifications.

      Seems most people seem to support the idea that Facebook comments are just a bad thing if you want decent engagement on your posts.