Are you a fan of Mashable and the Huffington Post? If so perhaps you have noticed the DISQUS comment system they use on their blogs. These are pretty high profile blogs so maybe you have asked yourself the question “should I use the DISQUS system on my blog?” Here are some details about this system to help you make your decision.
Here is what I like about the system. First you have the ability to do threaded replies in the comments. This encourages commentators to interact with each other not just with the blog owner. The indexing makes it easy to track discussions and sub-discussions. This is probably the most valuable feature of DISQUS in my opinion.
It also displays the Gravatar pictues linked to the email addresses that commentators leave. This adds a more personal and visually appealing effect to your blog. However, the ability to pull Gravatar images is included in most wordpress comment systems so this is not that unique a feature.
DISQUS also integrates with most social media as well. Here are some examples.
Commentators can log in with their Twitter credentials, with their Facebook ID, they can leave a video response and they can track the social media responses as well. You will need a Seesmic account for the video response and a UberVU account to track the social media responses.
You also have great flexibility with your design of your comments area.
You can place comments at the top or bottom, sort comments by age, select fonts, gravatar sizes and much more. You can also assign multiple moderators.
Here is what I do not like about DISQUS. It overrides all your other comment plugins. Even the Askimet spam control system gets nuked. One of my favorites, subscribe to comments is gone. You have to do everything through DISQUS.
There are no hotlinks on names unless the person commenting sets up an account with DISQUS. I like to give the opportunity for people who take the time to post an intelligent comment on my blog to get a link back. It encourages them to keep coming back and interacting. Why make things difficult?
Theres seems to be a problem with names when a user does not register with DISQUS. You need to pick an id. The ID often replaces the name. This can be corrected on the site but most people do not bother so you get list of commentators with nicknames instead of real names.
Now here is the biggest drawback. All the comments are on their servers on yours. If DISQUS changes in anyway they have control not you. I hate having my data controlled by someone else. They could decide to change their business model and all your comments would be gone. Not good! I prefer to control my own destiny.
The social media comments do not work either. Lots of glitches. Subscribe to comments is not obvious either. Plus users have to double opt in every time they comment on a different blog. Hassle!
Comment moderation is a bit strange as well. You get an email to approve comments which is easy to overlook. When you log into the control panel it is not obvious how to moderate comments either. When DISQUS is down the comments default to wordpress. But you cannot get these comments back into DISQUS once they are in wordpress.
Bottom line DISQUS makes is more cumbersome for your visitors to comment and comments are the life blood of your blog. Also not controlling the data is a real deal breaker for me. One of the great aspects about having your own blog is that YOU own the real estate. It is not a Facebook, YouTube or Twitter account which can be deleted with a click of a button. I will stick with wordpress comments and my own plugins thank you.
I am somewhat mystified as to why some of the most popular blogs in the world use this system. I would love it if somebody could enlighten me. I must be missing something here. They are very savvy people running those blogs. Of course, your comments are appreciated!