Regular readers will know I love copyblogger. Indeed, I even wrote a whole post about my adoration for the zen masters of content marketing.
When today’s email popped into my inbox I nearly choked on my starbucks grande latte as I doubletaked at the title: –
Then I relaxed as I thought…
‘ah, this will be some clever clickbaiting title. They won’t be actually removing comments from the site. You guys!’
And then I clicked…
This was no clever clickbait. Comments were going from the site. For good.
So why are they doing this?
They (specifically Sonia Simone, although I believe she is speaking on behalf of the team) have given 3 reasons: –
- Discussion tends to continue on other platforms (facebook, twitter etc)
- People would be better off spending their time writing their thoughts on their own site (copyblogger comments can be pretty epic)
- Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam….
I suspect that this list could probably be reversed in order of priority…
Of course it’s difficult to disagree with the above and at first it may seem that their arguments for arriving at this decision are compelling.
In my opinion however, this decision is the wrong one and here is why…
Social Media Is Fleeting
Twitter is great for a quick discussion on a topic (and clearly amazing for generating buzz), but in a few hours those tweets have vanished down the timeline and are lost in the ether.
A comment is there for good.
An Alternative Point Of View / The Word Of God
While copyblogger is right most of the time, it is always good to have a balanced view and providing readers with the platform to present their alternative viewpoints in the same place is (in my opinion) healthy.
This is particularly important when the subject matter is a topic which is not clear cut (for example anything to do with author rank).
Turning off this facility gives copyblogger an air of godlike infallibility, which is (again in my opinion) unbecoming.
Comments Are Where It Gets Interesting
I don’t want to go into this too much as it has been discussed to death, but comments are often where a blog post comes to life.
Losing them on a site with a comment section as vibrant as copyblogger makes me a sad panda…
While the argument about readers being better served spending time focusing on content for their own site/interests as opposed to writing up lengthy comments for copyblogger may seem a strong one, it is a little flawed.
Adding insightful, well written comments on other blogs has long been an excellent (and white hat) way of introducing yourself to a new audience and can generate strong referral traffic/new subscribers.
I read a great quote earlier today (annoyingly I can’t remember where!) which said that successful content marketing was 20% content creation and 80% marketing of that content.
I would agree with these figures and taking the time to comment on other blogs is a big part of that 80%.
Trends have to start somewhere and when a site as authoritative and universally respected as copyblogger turns off comments, there are sure to be those wondering whether they should do the same.
Sonia made a good point on twitter: –
— Sonia Simone (@soniasimone) March 24, 2014
I take Sonia’s point and certainly the post advises other bloggers not to follow their example, but how about 6 months down the line?
Anyone starting out in blogging/content marketing and looking for advice will surely gravitate towards copyblogger and will no doubt see that they don’t accept comments.
Without context (i.e. today’s post) it may well be considered that this is now best practice.
Not Letting The Spammers Win
As I hinted at above, I believe that the driving force behind this decision may well be the sheer volume of spam comments the site is receiving and the time taken to administer same.
Turning off comments seems a little like waving the white flag to the spammers.
So, what do you think?
Probably the words most oft used at the end of blog posts and today perhaps more pertinent than ever.
In my opinion turning off comments is a bad move by copyblogger (for the reasons I set out above), but what do you think?
Leave a comment below and let me know!