If you comment on other blogs you’ve probably noticed several different third-party commenting systems, including Facebook Comments, Disqus, Livefyre, and Intense Debate. You, on the other hand, may still be using the default WordPress commenting system and you’re thinking that maybe you should make a few changes. Maybe you should be using one of these other systems. So let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.
The Pros of Using a Third-Party Commenting System
Less Trolling: You’ve probably seen it yourself on your own blog. Some anonymous commentor leaving nasty or completely irrelevant comments. Third-party commenting systems help minimize this problem because users are typically required to log in to an account before they can leave a comment. It doesn’t completely eliminate troll activity because people can always create fake accounts, but it does help reduce it.
Increased social media exposure: Most of the third-party systems integrate with Twitter and/or Facebook and when a user leaves a comment it appears in their Twitter stream or on their Facebook wall. So even if they don’t consciously Tweet or Share your post, they’re still sharing it when they leave a comment.
Eliminates Spam: Because the user has to actively log in to their account before they can comment, spam-bot activity is almost completely eliminated.
The Cons of Third-Party Commenting Systems
Lack of Privacy: Depending on your niche, your users may not want to have their comments on your blog appear on their Facebook or Twitter streams where their friends, family or co-workers might see them. Especially when it comes to topics like religion or politics. You may end up losing some of your active commentors when you make the change.
Lack of Control: You have no control over how these systems work or how they look on your blog. If you like to tweak colors or fonts, forget it. And I don’t know how Facebook Comments works now, but in the past it was hit-or-miss if your readers could actually get logged in and leave a comment.
Change: Some of your readers are just going to be resistant to change no matter what you do.
Frustration: And some of your readers are going to be frustrated. Believe it or not, not everyone has a Facebook and/or Twitter account. Many people don’t want one and wouldn’t know how to start one if they wanted to. Now, you’ll be shutting them out of commenting on your blog unless they get an account.
I think most bloggers opt for a third-party commenting system for two reasons: To help control spam and to increase their exposure in the social networks. You can achieve both without inconveniencing your readers with that third-party system. Simply install a good spam protection plug-in or use Akismet to take care of comment spam. And use a strong call to action and prominently displayed sharing buttons to get that additional exposure.