I talk about this a bit on my home page, but a lot of people still ask me where the comment forms are on my posts.
I don’t have any. I won’t have any.
When I first decided to redesign my site, I installed the open source version of my old CMS Crowd Fusion. Very few sites still run on Crowd Fusion and the CMS itself isn’t available any more since we merged with Ceros and launched a brand publishing platform. MySpace was sold and killed off MySpace Topics, which was powered by Crowd Fusion. The Daily was shut down. Best Buy’s Tecca also folded. That’s not to say that no one is using Crowd Fusion. It’s still the software that TMZ, Ellen DeGeneres and a bunch of other Warner Bros sites run on. So millions of people interact with Crowd Fusion every day. The software just isn’t offered to new customers.
While I had a blast working in Crowd Fusion’s template language and data model — both of which don’t require coding, I had no interest in dealing with the comments plugin and things like spam control or banning.
So that was my first reason for leaving them off.
My second reason was that I don’t need the pageviews. My site isn’t ad-supported and one of the biggest reasons that publishers have comments is not that they value two-way communication or open discussion. It is because each comment form submission means another pageview and if the site emails commenters to tell them there is a reply, then that means even more traffic and overall stickiness.
But why not use Facebook comments? Or Disqus? Or Livefyre?
I decided that I like having different kinds of conversations about the topics in my posts. On my Twitter, I get replies from friends in the industry — often people I’ve worked with in the past, but also people I’ve met speaking at conferences or being on a show. On my Facebook, I’ll hear from family members and friends — people I would share pictures of my kids with. On my LinkedIn, I get industry-only feedback.
Let me know what you think about that.