Should You Use a Third-Party Commenting System on Your Blog?

dukeo.com

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.

Stéphane Kerwer
Article written by Stéphane Kerwer (1995 Posts)
Bonjour from a french guy. My name is Stéphane Kerwer and Dukeo is my blog. I do most of the heavy lifting in here but from time to time, you may see some guest posts. To receive updates from Dukeo, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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11 Comments (Add one)

  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Scrap those 3rd party bad boys Ste. Well not you of course ;)

    But using FB or G Plus for you commenting system robs you and your readers of strong blog backlinks.

    If you are a G Plus or FB expert, you can go this route but most of us are bloggers first and foremost, and appreciate link juice.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Well, I make no secret about not being a big fan of these 3rd party blog comments systems ;)

      As with everything, some people may find value in them, but I just don’t want to give away the control over some parts of my blog to another company.

  2. Nick Cicero

    Hey all, I may be biased, as I work for Livefyre as the Lead Strategist, but I wanted to clear up a few partially incorrect points in your article that might confuse readers:

    1. To your point about comments left on your blog appearing in Facebook or Twitter streams automatically, on Livefyre this is an option that you as a user have to deliberately choose to share, it’s not automatic by default. People choose to share their comments to social networks to bring other people into the conversation.

    2. While Social Login might popular, on Livefyre (and even other commenting systems like Disqus) you’re not required to create a profile exclusively with a social network. You can sign up with a unique email and username comment just as you are here.

    3. While I can’t speak for other commenting systems, Livefyre is fully customizable with CSS, and many of our free customers take advantage of this quite often.

    I totally agree with your points about moderation/commenting systems posing issues around change and certainly can come with frustration, but this can be managed with communication.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Hey Nick, thanks for stopping by to comment.

      “may be biased” is an understatement, right? ;)

      Another reason that I didn’t mention in the blog post that will always prevent me from using services like Livefyre or Disqus is that, if you wan’t the upside of a better moderating system, you need to force your commenters to create an account with said service.

      Which means, that you’re putting yet another roadblock between your readers and your blog. Moreover, it gives companies like Livefyre and Disqus the ability to market to these people over and over again through email marketing.

      To sum it up, the pros are not consequent enough for me to help you grow your own email database ;)

  3. Jenn

    I’m not a fan of using the third party comment systems. They’re not always user friendly. I’ve had issues logging in to comment on other blogs, and don’t always want my comment shared on social media. So, I’m sticking with the WP system.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Completely agree with you Jenn. I don’t see the point of having to login into yet-another-service just to be able to post a comment on one of your favorite blogs. It sounds completely counter-productive to me.

  4. Brian Hawkins

    Hi Sté, I’m seriously considering going to the G+ commenting system. Commenting is down and spam is out of control. I just wish there was a little more flexibility, like moderating and deleting comments. Another issue is not everyone has a Google account. I can still leave the WordPress system active but that would defeat the purpose.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Brian, I don’t understand when you say that spam is out of control… My blog receives barely 5 spam comments per day. And I don’t use any kind of “advanced” tools to prevent spam.

      You’re going to force people to signup to Google+ to be able to post a comment on your blog… It means that you’re making it even harder that it already is for them…

  5. Glenn Shepherd

    Hi there Sté,

    I agree with this entirely! While it may be convenient for some and come with its own benefits, I really don’t see that it’s at all necessary to have a third-party comment system in place.

    I’m a strong advocate for not doing anything that will alienate a section of your market. To force someone to sign up for or use a third-party system to just leave a comment on your blog is going to do exactly that.

    Everyone, no matter what platforms they use, can leave a comment on a normal comment-enabled blog. But as soon as you introduce another factor in the equation then there are those who can’t/won’t, therefore you’re going to lose out on vital relationship building with them.

    I certainly find it annoying when I come across a blog where I’d like to contribute a comment but have to use an additional commenting system. More often than not I end up just not bothering and, in fact, I find that I even visit those blogs considerably less than those upon which I can get involved.

    Thanks for the great post, Sté :-)

    Kind regards,
    Glenn

  6. nina young

    Hi

    This article has been very interesting!We are in process of developing blog and was advised by site developer to leave it open to comments (no registration) but then approve all comments? Not sure?

  7. Eli@coachdaddy

    I love it when I find a blog like this that reinforces what I was doing anyway. I want to make it easy as pie for commenters to do their thing on my blog.

    Askimet has snagged 35 million spam comments from my blog so far, and by adjusting my settings, I get the right to approve messages before they go live anyway.