// what do you think?


Do You Have to Allow Commenting?

Facebook StormtrooperThere was time when not having comments on your blog was a cardinal sin. You weren’t transparent, open or social. Starting a blog today is much easier today than it was even a few years ago, especially if you count microblogging in the mix. But today everything has commenting, blogs, videos, presentations and thinks to services like Diigo and Google SideWiki (is that still around?) people can leave comments about any site on the internet on the site itself.

The ability to criticize, critique and respond to something is only a tweet away. You don’t need comments turned on to do this.

Ross Mayfield, founder of SocialText and board member for SlideShare has an interesting post responding to criticism placed on Pfizer mostly for turning off comments on the their newly launched SlideShare account.

It’s encouraging to see regulated companies like Pfizer move further and further into the social space, even if it’s baby steps.

Ross points out the additional difficulties that a regulated business has, but something he didn’t reference was that Pfizer is not the first to take a no comments allowed approach. Several big companies with corporate blogs don’t allow comments including Google and Microsoft. Apple doesn’t even have a blog to turn comments off of.

The trade off of turning comments off is the obvious lack of engagement which makes it more difficult to build readership and reach.

Regulations aside, managing comments can reach a point of diminishing returns (depending on your goals).

Seth Godin was the first person I remember to turn on comments (when they had been off), decided he didn’t like it, found it too distracting and then turned them back off. People got upset but then everything returned to normal.

Years ago the highly popular blog, Boing Boing had to disable comments because the amount of traffic they were getting was crashing their site. Once they could afford better more reliable hosting they turned them back on. Recently the major tech blog, Engadget turned off comments earlier this year because of reader unruliness and then turned them back on when they implemented a more moderated system.

When I start a YouTube account for clients, depending on the nature of the channel, I often recommend clients to default to comments off because YouTube can attract some of the worst trolls out there and YouTube’s moderating system is horrible.

If your goals are reach and awareness of your messaging, turning off comments can stunt the growth of that channel but I believe is can be an acceptable approach.

But if your goals are to build a community and engage with your readers comments are an important part of that.

Disclosure, Microsoft is a client.

Photo credit By Balakov

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://topsy.com/www.newcommbiz.com/do-you-have-to-allow-commenting/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention Do You Have to Allow Commenting? | New Comm Biz — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tac Anderson, Maddie Grant, mattwhiting, Craig M. Jamieson, Bellingham SocMed and others. Bellingham SocMed said: New post from @tacanderson, past #SMBellingham presenter: Do You Have to Allow Commenting? http://dlvr.it/3CYYF #SMBellingham [...]

  • http://www.2seo.com/ Teena

    Comments should always be turned-on and moderated this will we hear both sides and grow from there. People trust those that are transparent with how they do business and deal with people.

  • http://topsy.com/trackback?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newcommbiz.com%2Fdo-you-have-to-allow-commenting%2F%23comment-65809159&utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention Do You Have to Allow Commenting? | New Comm Biz — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by frank barry, Sue Anne Reed. Sue Anne Reed said: RE: @tacanderson I go back to the fact that there are no RULES in social media or in other Web 2.0 spaces. Seth Godin … http://disq.us/j9o9b [...]

  • http://www.sueannereed.com Sue Anne Reed

    I go back to the fact that there are no RULES in social media or in other Web 2.0 spaces. Seth Godin doesn't have comments on his blog, yet his blog is one of the most popular in that niche. I can understand why a company in a regulated industry like pharma doesn't want comments on Slideshare. They are sharing their presentation and would have to closely monitor any comments coming in. I think its better to err on the side of not having comments.

    What are your goals of your social media efforts? Is it to share information or to build community? If it's to share information, comments are optional. if it's to build community, comments are necessary.

  • http://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/ Ian Greenleigh

    No. But unless you gave a firmly-established online presence, you'll be unlikely to succeed in the social space without them.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    While not necessary it does hamper your efforts.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    I love it when there are no rules :)

  • http://twitter.com/bchesnutt Brandon Chesnutt

    I definitely agree with your comments about YouTube. It's like spring break for flamers, trolls and spammers.

    However, I do believe that enabling comments is a great catalyst for sparking meaningful conversation and creating that two-way dialogue.

    It's best to approach the strategy on a case-by-case basis.


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