Popular Blogs Remove Their Comment Section

Randy Milanovic
Randy Milanovic Principal & Author, Kayak Online Marketing

Posted on February 17th 2012

Popular Blogs Remove Their Comment Section

minimalists blog seagulsNo Comments, No Cry

Why are blogs removing their comment section, and is it right for you?

I recently read an article on a favourite blog of mine, The Minimalists, about why they have joined the likes of Seth Godin, and Leo Babauata of Zen Habits, and removed the comment section from all of their respective blogs. All three of those blogs are in my reading rotation, along with a few million other people. So why are they shutting us off from commenting?

When we work with clients, we've preached enabling commenting. Blogs are an anchor in social media and by allowing comments you are making it inherently more social. We always hope that our articles incite enough of a reaction that people want to share it or comment, so it seems counter-intuitive to remove a reader's option to comment.

The reason these three extremely successful social media brands have removed commenting is simple. They found themselves playing too much to the crowd. Their readers' comments were altering the course of their content. All three felt obligated to respond and react to those comments. They felt it didn't allow them to produce their best content.

So should your business remove the commenting section? I'm not on board with that idea just yet. Most comments are positive and/or add to the conversation. There are few "seagulls," which The Minimalists describe as a person "who flies by your site, [expletive] on it, and flies away," but those are few and far between.

Those blogs had reached a critical mass of sorts. They were receiving so much interaction that they felt it was detrimental to their success. Trust me, this is a great problem to have! If you reach this stage, you're doing a lot right.

So, unless you're getting bombarded with comments and having to moderate spam and seagulls regularly, I'd say keep the comment box open. Plus, I want it to be really easy for you to let me know how great (or not) my "No Comments, No Cry" title is. :)

If you like our blog, please share it with your collegues or anyone you think might like it. You can always use the easy sharing buttons at the top of this post. We'd love to get their comments too!

Interested in learning more about blogs and social media? Take a look at our 20-step social media training program.

 

Randy Milanovic

Randy Milanovic

Principal & Author, Kayak Online Marketing

Randy is author of 2 books: Findability: Why Search Engine Optimization is Dying + 21 New Rules of Content Marketing, and Building a Better Business Website. He is the Prinicipal of Kayak Online Marketing.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Randy,

You make a good point in your post, “Those blogs had reached a critical mass of sorts. They were receiving so much interaction that they felt it was detrimental to their success.”

It has been preached  that the point of social media and social networking is to engage followers in a mutual dialogue.  Not only is content king, but dialogue is important as well.  For those blogs that get to the point where managing their site is an overwhelming chore, it becomes counter-productive to offer a comment section.  However, in the meantime, they are still engaging with their audience via other social media outlets.  These other outlets, like Twitter, allow authors to build relationships rather than persuade their audience.  Some scholars advocate that dialogue, as a more desirable type of communication behavior, should be substituted for persuasion (Johannesen et al, p63). This scenario becomes a win-win; the audience feels valued and the authors still enjoy what they do and feel like they can create good content that educates, informs, and entertains.

Moderating comments can be a daunting task for any size blog these days as it is.  Considering security, privacy, bots, and spam, it would be a great day for a blog owner to reach the level of interaction that requires them to turn off comments!

Johannesen, R. L., Valde, K. S., & Whedbee, K. E. (2007). Ethics in human communication (6th
ed.). Prospect Heights: Waveland Press


Carie Benton
Graduate Student
Drury University