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August 17, 2009

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Nick

I allowed comments and the comments I got were from spammers. If anyone want to make a comment they can - but they have to create an account, meanwhile I feel I'm doing everyone a favour locking out the spammers. Should I go back to the old system of accepting the spammers, and moderating them manually?

Nick

Hey - after all - I had to go through a Captcha to post my comment on YOUR blog so you don't practice what you preach!

Adine

Hi David,
Thanks for the tips. We would love to have more comments on our blog and this reminded me to go in and recheck that the settings are conducive to allowing this to happen.

Joe Roy

Excellent advice. There is so much friction in our world; why introduce more?

Mark Welch

Sigh. I made the mistake of choosing Joomla as my blog platform. It doesn't support comments and my attempts to install a comment plug-in failed.

Commenting on another comment: a Capcha is entirely different - it is essential to block spambots.

Elizabeth K. Barone

It also helps to encourage comments in your posts! Ever since I started ending my posts with, "Leave a comment and share what you think about blah blah blah," I've noticed an increase in comments. I'm hoping to continue this and build up a nice community on all of my blogs.

Dave Burke

I agree with you 100% in principle, David, but even with captcha I was getting a ton of comments from those SEO lamers who leave comments like 'Thanks, I didn't know that', or 'I am so enjoying yur blog.' (Mis-spellings are the first clue of SEO-driven insincerity.) It was frustrating so I required users to create a site account to comment. That still didn't block the SEO'rs, but it cut them back 98% I'd say.

If comments were more important to my blogging effort I'd probably investigate an alternative comment monitoring tool or employ moderation, but that would require more intervention on my part whereas requiring site accounts requires none.

I also feel that my friends do not mind creating a site account.

Jodi Kaplan

I find the Blogger account requirement really frustrating too.

Even worse, there's a marketing blog (of all things) that requires you to enter your name, web site, email, state, country, occupation, and title, plus fill in a captcha form before leaving your comment! Naturally, they don't get many.

If you're on Wordpress, the Aksimet plugin will catch the spam.

Geno Prussakov

Good points (both in the post, and in the comments). I'm using WordPress, and the Akismet plugin that Jodi has mentioned helps me deal with spam. I haven't seen many blogs using Captcha's, but may play around with the idea.

Jonathan Kranz

There's another advantage to allowing people to more easily leave comments: when people comment, they have skin in your post, making it more likely that they'll tweet it.

Jeff Ramos

ha! did you make this post because of the email you sent me! either way, a great way to inform other people like me who weren't aware!

Lisa Pfister

Thanks for the helpful tips!

David Meerman Scott

Thanks for the great discussions here.

Jeff -- Yes I did. Your blog reminded me that I wanted to blog about this.

Nick - A Captcha is different than requiring you to create an account. My blog is written in TypePad. I do not require people to have a TypePad account to leave a comment. But I do require people to enter a secret word.

Yes, I still get spammy comments (many from SEO firms). I manually go in and delete them. But there are a few dozen a week and I can handle that in order to facilitate the great discussions here.

Thank you all.

John Moore

Great post, thank you. I find that 1-way blogging (blogs that make it hard to leave comments) are missing the point of blogging.

In today's world you must seek engagement, 2-way communication, discussion. The conversations are happening, with or without you. You're best served being part of them. See my post from a couple of days ago on the same topic:

http://johnfmoore.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/the-one-way-blog-a-waste-of-time/

John Moore
http://twitter.com/Followers

Kelly M

Heh. I also signed up for a Blogger account without using it -- just grew tired of wanting to respond and not being able too. Doesn't exactly encourage me to blog with them either.

I also like commenter Elizabeth's note about signing off her posts with "Leave a comment." Good idea!

Nick

David,

I do appreciate the personal reply which makes you one of the good guys in my eyes. I'm just a bit ticked off by the robotic spam that my blog gets and I guess that my point comes down to:

For the same effort of filling out a Captcha, someone wanting to leave a comment on my blog could register and having registered they would never have to go through the process again, whereas in 5 seconds I am going to have to prove to you that I am human for the SECOND TIME Grrr

It's not you that I hate, it's the spammers who spoil things for everyone.

Jo Couchman

Great advice. I think changing the text above the comment form (in WordPress blogs this is in the comments.php file) to something more encouraging, appropriate to your blog and more personal can help.

Keith

Good point but I go a step further an suggest making commenting as familiar as possible by using a commenting platform like Disqus or Intense Debate.

(As a matter of fact Typekey is a perfect example because it's easy to mistake the text above the comment box as asking you to sign into your typepad account to comment.)

I made my argument in "Comments the Missing Link in your Social Media Toolkit" http://knowthenetwork.com/blog/2009/08/comments-the-missing-link-in-your-social-media-toolset/

Omar Halabieh

I believe that blogs are meant as an engagement forum, and having a blog without an accessible way of leaving comments makes it more informative less interactive, which in my opinion defeats most of the purpose. I think David, what you are referring to here is a slight "Nudge" in the choice architecture to make leaving comments easier and thus more likely. The biggest proof: all of the above comments!

Regards,
Omar

Andrew Webber

The timing of this post (RT'd,thankfully, by Jenfrahm)could not have come at a more perfect time.

Although I will refrain from putting the full-sized-rant-hat on.

I am an Australian living in the Middle East and am a new blogger who is still juuuust outside the small but apparently elite group of ex-pat bloggers here.

Yesterday I happened upon an article written by a blogger from Dubai:

http://some-like-it-not.blogspot.com/2009/08/myth-dispelled.html

Highlighting the frustration about red tape when trying to do anything in the UAE - like open a business for instance (the red tape is not exclusive to business, but is an experience we all share over here in the great sandy climes).

I glanced, as I habitually do, at the blogspot engine. It looked to be post friendly so I launched into a rant-o-rama - as I have had similar troubles down here in Abu Dhabi.

When I had got to the end of the post, after a couple of edits to wipe at least some of the vitriol from its paragraphs, I realised that I was far too exuberant in the writing bit rather than the: REALLY-make-sure-you-can-independantly-post-comments bit.

In short, the "Post without account" aspect of blogspot had been disabled. I toyed with the idea of opening an account and then redirecting to my own blog.

But then simply deleted my post.

And made coffee.

People like to be involved, particularly in small blog communities like the Middle East, where we all face the same hurdles every day...

...a situation that any niche blog would do well to remember, because what is a blog, really, if connection is a chore?


Thanks for your post - I hope people take heed.

Amelia Vargo

Your last comment (Andrew Webber) describes something I've been through myself many a time. I agree blog comments should be encouraged, it creates a connection between you and your readers which is a great thing to have. We manually approve blog comments one by one, and although its a chore (why do people bother commenting in Russian when the site is all in English?) it keeps the trash out. A well worded, and considered comment will always get through.

David Meerman Scott

Great discussions here.

Andrew - your frustrations are exactly the things that a blog should try to eliminate.

I think that there is a continuum at work here.

1. You (the blogger) can do all the work to eliminate spam by allowing comments with just a name. But you'll be deleting a lot of spam.

2. You can make your readers do all the work by registering for the blog software. But as Andrew proves, not everyone will do this.

3. You can have a compromise. Your readers need to enter some text as a challenge to make sure they are human, but you need to delete a few spam comments each day. This is what I think is the best way to go.

Justin Locke

well everyone else has said my responses already except 2 little things, sometimes i post a comment and think i'm all done and 2 hours later i will realize the blog is waiting for me to type the letters in the box. and second, how clever are these spambots that they can read those letters when *I* can barely make them out?? :-) - jl

Panayiotis Pete Karabetis | The Tango Notebook

Aside from writing, comments are my favorite part about spending so much time blogging. I had a reader write me a comment through e-mail and I wondered why she didnt' just post it on the site?!

It's a lot easier to moderate comments when they're waiting on the dashboard for you, and besides, it's exciting to know that what you write stirs up conversations! I know you know this feeling all too well; it never gets old.

In fact, I just made the background on my comments alternate so they are easier to read. Promote your comments, people! Your readers are all you have! If you don't think so, go back to writing in a journal :)

Pete
The Tango Notebook

Denise Wakeman

Wow, you hit a nerve here, David. Thanks for this post. Your position is one I share and am adamant about when I work with clients on their new blogs. Commenting is about creating the engagement with the reader. It brings them one step closer to you when they make the conscious decision to click the link and type in their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, suggestions, etc.

I simply don't comment on sites that require a log in. My feeling is that the author isn't interested in what I have to say or hasn't bothered to figure out how their blogging software works.

Blog on!

Luanna

I just watch the spammers. My program has me approve comments so I can keep an eye on spammers. Great article!

Jamie Mordaunt

Good post David.
My blog is new this year but I'm already attracting a certain amount of spam (mostly from Eastern Europe it seems).
I have moderation in effect in Wordpress, and at the moment I can handle the approval and spam rejection process.
I'm not a big fan of captchas because I often find them very hard to actually read, but I guess that's the point of them.
I use the BBC website a lot and it annoys me that they require you to sign in to comment on any of the dozens (hundreds?) of BBC blogs. As a result I just don't bother with BBC blogs...
Jamie

J Stdy Rockn

note to self...
use this in my blog, great advise thanks Dave.

Anthony Mora

Great advice. I didn't realize that people had to log in to comment on my blog, until someone shot me an email about it. So, hopefully that is no longer an issue.

Sean

Yep, I know what you mean. I've done a bit of blogging before and usually I have to spend a little bit of time each week deleting comments with spam in them (like massive lists of spammy sounding keywords) and I can't be bothered with that. The captcha thing is a great idea, I'm going to check that out this week.

I don't ever comment blogs that require me to sign up. Just takes too long and unless I really have something to say it's not worth my time.

Cheers,
Sean

Ted

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Keith

Nice Post

www.ticketskey.com

Michael Benidt

Why don't I just read your blog all the time?! You've probably already written about all the things that tick me off - and then I don't have to write about them.

The worst offenders are the traditional, somewhat traditional and "sure the heck wish I was traditional - is there such a thing as the open Internet?!" media. I don't know how many newspapers, magazines (especially tech magazines) and local business resources have driven me crazy by telling me "you must register to comment."

And, yes, you are weird to sign up for a Blogger account just to comment. And, isn't Blogger Google? And, isn't Google the smartest company ever invented - or God, as Google's Marketing VP, Jeff Jarvis, suggests? Then, how can a company so smart have such a weird blogging platform?

OK, off the soapbox.

Really, David, you didn't mention the main mistake bloggers make about comments. They don't thank and interact with those who take the time to comment on their blog. You do. So readers of your blog get "hands-on" "lead-by-example" direction from you in this area. Tons of bloggers don't, though.

There is a cool tool called Backtype.com (we have no financial connection to them) - go to the "People" section of Backtype and enter your favorite social media expert's name. We call it "the baloney detector" because that's where you'll find that certain Twitter authors and other social media experts NEVER comment on other people's blogs - or EVEN their own blogs (to answer questions or thank folks).

I read your blog because your stuff is always interesting, you actually practice what you preach, you act like a real person - and it's pretty easy to comment. Thanks.

David Meerman Scott

Michael - an excellent rant. Better than coffee to wake up to in the morning.

Priscila Borges

I'm brazilian, PR and a teacher at college. Sorry about my english. I would like to thank you. I read your book: The news rules and it help me at class. I made a blog yesterday and I learnig every day about it.

David Meerman Scott

Thank you Priscilla. Did you read my book in Brazilian Portuguese? Or in English?

Jamie Favreau

I think the best part is the comments. I have a really young blog (30 posts) and wish people would comment more. I love blogger relations and building friendships with the people who I comment on.

Kelly Rusk

Great advice as always. I also like when blog comments have the option to subscribe, so past commenters can come back and see what further comments have been posted.

It helps keep a conversation going, and also as a frequent commenter I love going back and see what others said after me.

Kelly

 blog commenting

I glanced at the blogspot engine. It looked to be post friendly so I launched into a stage as I have had similar troubles down here in India.Your readers need to enter some text as a challenge to make sure they are human, but you need to delete a few spam comments each day.

 blog commenting

Your readers need to enter some text as a challenge to make sure they are human, but you need to delete a few spam comments each day.It helps keep a conversation going, and also as a frequent commenter I love going back and see what others said after me.

Ricardo Bueno

Agreed! I'm so not a fan of required registrations in order to leave a blog comment. You can't make people jump thru hoops. You can try I suppose, but they won't do it!

Typepad has a feature called Typepad Connect (if I'm not mistaken). It allows for threaded comments. The reason I don't like it is because it requires folks to register for a Typekey Profile in order for their avatar to appear. A lot of my readers are wordpress users. They're soooo not going to register for a Typekey profile just to see their customized avatar and I don't like the idea of having a ton of random, static, images with my one personal avatar. But that's just me...

If a site requires me to register, I'm not leaving a comment. I make it as easy as blatantly possible for people to leave comments on my site (I went so far as to turn the captcha code off). Fortunately for me, I haven't had a run of spam on the site... :-P

Chris MacNaughton

David, I love the post, I've made two different changes to my comment format on my blog after reading the post and comments here, the perfect proof of your point.

Geno's solution for WordPress about using Akismet is brilliant, don't make your users do anything special, reduce spam by comparing the comment to known spam formats? Brilliant!

I also loved Pete's suggestion about alternating the background colors of the comments to make seperating them out and reading them easier on the eyes.

nextbrett

Hi David,
Great post - it frustrates me when people don't provide info to understand a little bit more about them, and make it nigh impossible to comment on.

One of the things you mentioned at the Social Media Masterclass in Melbourne was providing an accurate and detailed “about me” page... and how blogger does a terrible job at it.

Some simple instructions for any blogger users out there (on top of opening up comments to readers):
1. Create an “about me” post (do it before launching the blog to prevent any RSS subscribers receiving it)
2. Refer to the Web Ink Now “about me” instructions
3. Add an html / java widget to your blog
4. Include a link in the html widget directly to your “about me page” – I actually use it as my navigation (www.digitaloz.com.au)
5. Update your profile at anytime you want just by editing the original post.

Most people rule out Blogger because of its limitations on some basic features (like about me, seo plug-ins etc) but with a little creativity Blogger can be a seriously useful hosted option for budding young bloggers. If you have any questions more than happy to provide more details.

Cheers, Brett.

David Meerman Scott

Brett, this is great information for those who use Blogger. Many thanks for this!

Karl Foxley

I'm in total agreement. There are some great tools for reducing spam comments so having a blog that is open to commenting shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I agree with Denise when she says 'I simply don't comment on sites that require a log in'... I have to absolutely be a die-hard fan of a site before I will take the steps of looking in just to leave a comment.

Comments are a way to build and engage with your blog community, and having a little feedback from time to time can be a great source of inspiration.

Thanks for posting,

Karl

RobShaver

I've often had to try two or three times to get the captia correct. There are other methods to reduce spambots.
1. As mentioned in some of the comments is moderation. There's two ways to do this. A) Don't post the comment until the moderator approves it or B) post it first and then the moderator can delete it later if it's inappropriate.

2. Put a common field on the comment form with a name like "email", then hide it using CSS. The spam bot will see it and fill in a bogus email address. A human won't see it so won't fill it in. The server will reject any comments with a value in the "email" file.

3. Setting up an account can be as simple as asking for the commentator's email address. On the first comment, send a validation message to the email address. When the commenter clicks on the validation link, post the comment. Any future comments are pre-approved. If the commenter is a spammer then ban that address.

Yes, spammers have ruined many things for many people.

Peace,

Rob:-]

RobShaver

Kind of funny after what you said in your article that you required my email address and captia. It's kind of the worst case scenario.

David Meerman Scott

Rob - As I have said, this method works best for me and for my readers.

Sorry you don't like it. But thanks for the comments anyway.

David

Shortcuts to Internet Millions

Internet marketing is indeed very different from traditional marketing. In the field of internet marketing the webmaster uses all possible means for promotion just from the comfort of his small office or his bedroom.

web designing

I agree with you that you should make a blog where people can comment easily and also you have to put useful stuff in it!

cheers mate!

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000272723650

Great post - and I tried out the fConnect here - that seems like a really good option too ;)

SubmitYOURArticle.com

This is certainly an uncommon post encouraging people to comment to them. Most blogposts don't encourage people to comment on them(maybe because they get alot of spam). I bet we all get spam but that shouldn't discourage us to stop blogging right? Anyways, I too feel the same sentiment as you do, having to register to a blog before you could comment to them. I respect them though, it's their prerogative to require login because it's their blog right? I appreciate you though for encouraging others to interact in this post! More power dude!

Web Design Firm

Now a days spaming is not only done by computer, in India and Pakistan human beings are used as spammer, due to cheap labor, companies outsourced this job to them.

Magento Themes

A great post for sure, will be agreeing with you as if some one wants to go in creating a blog, what all he must be doing is to create such a blog that can help people to go in to discussions as with the result of blog commenting.....

Nitin Mistry

Nice post...
Totally agree - restricting comments only to registered users will reduce the number of comments.... and remember content is king in Google's eyes and will result in more traffic to your site.

Computer Repair Suzy

I agree with you 100%. I would rather shift through piles of spam than wonder where all my readers went. I love reading comments and it would be horrible to make them go through a bunch of weird roadblocks to be able to allow them to comment on my posts.

Phen375 Review

You are right. But the problem nowadays is that people are just spamming the blog comments by commenting with a lot of links to their sites. I prefer that there should be moderation in blog comments so that it does not look spammy. What do you think?

Michael from Phen375

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