Saturday, March 5, 2011

Facebook Comments vs. Disqus

Earlier this week, Facebook released an upgrade to their commenting system. For me, the most exciting news about the release is that comments made on are automatically synced with comments and replies made on Facebook. As a result, web sites that use Facebook Comments can finally merge the two audiences together into a single conversation. Neat, huh?

While this is pretty exciting stuff, I already use Disqus to manage my reader's comments. What happens now? Do I stay with Disqus or should I leave it all behind for Facebook's solution? In this article, I would like to examine both Facebook Comments and Disqus in hopes to unveil a winner.

For comments, I rely heavily on Disqus because of its ease of use. In this section, I'll look at its strengths and weaknesses.

Works with multiple services - One of the things I like most about Disqus is that commenters don't need to create another account. Visitors can simply log on with their Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, OpenID, or Disqus account.

Easy to share with friends - Another feature that gets plenty of use is the 'Share on Twitter and Facebook' button. When I make a great point or just want to bring attention to a particular post, I select both services and the comment gets shared across the Internet. It's quick, easy, and effective.

Respond to comments in e-mail - When I'm on the go and receive a comment, Disqus allows me to read and respond directly from my e-mail inbox.

Moderation and spam controls - Disqus provides both moderation and spam controls directly on the site. Should I come across an aggravating spammer, I can click a few buttons and both the spammer and his comments are gone. I love it!

Honestly, there is very little to complain about when it comes to Disqus. I really like the service and would recommend it to anyone. With that written, here is where Disqus falls short:

It's not a two-way street - Unlike Facebook's new commenting system, Disqus does not currently pull comments from Facebook and sync them on the site. However, it can pull reactions from Twitter, Friendfeed, Digg, and similar places. Not exactly a conversation, but it does provide some insight to what people are saying.

It syncs with comments made on Facebook - By now, you are more than aware of this particular perk. For me, I get plenty of comments and conversations on Facebook, but they never make it outside of Facebook. Today, all of that changes.

Comment with different accounts - Another benefit with Facebook Comments is the ability to comment or reply with any Facebook page account you administer. Not only can you comment with your Facebook profile, but you can also reply as a page. The advantage is that your public page(s) can potentially get more attention, which means more 'Likes.' Remember, your private account only accommodates 5,000 friends while the public page is unlimited.

Moderation and blacklisted words - Facebook Comments provides a moderation tool that enables site owners to identify moderators, blacklisted words, and correct common mistakes in grammar. All of which can be handled directly from the site.

600 million users already have a Facebook account - One of the biggest benefits of using Facebook's Commenting system is that over 600 million people already have an account. This means visitors will not have to create an account in order to reply.

Limited partnerships - As of this article, Facebook Comments only offers visitors the option of logging on under a Facebook or Yahoo! account. While Facebook has over 600 million users, there are still many that do not have an account. Until Facebook can secure more partnerships, this will be a reason some refuse to use the service.

Loss of anonymity - There has been much debate over ones loss of anonymity when commenting through Facebook's solution. The option is to respond using a Facebook profile or not. Some claim they will not comment on a site where they are forced to share their identity. While I placed this as a con, it could easily serve as a strength for those wanting to know the names of their visitors.

Final Thoughts
As you can see, there are benefits to using both services. Unfortunately, it doesn't make sense to have both on the page at the same time. So, I'm asking you, the reader, what your thoughts are on this matter.

Below, I have both Disqus and Facebook Comments available for your use. Give them both a try and let me know what you think. Should I keep Facebook or Disqus? Why?

Whatever advice or feedback you are led to share is greatly appreciated.

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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