A man writing in a notebook

Losing Old Comments

I like the comments people leave on my site. They’ve led to some great discussions. The best part of comments has been that the conversation often starts there, but they lead to one-on-one discussions. I’ve received 100’s of emails based on comments from people all over the world. So, I’m sad to say that I’m losing all the old comments on this site as of today.

Why? They were all in Disqus.

Leaving Disqus

When I made a CMS switch (I do this a lot) to a CMS that handles comments natively, I decided to bring all the old comments from each article with me. No problem.

Or so I thought.

It turns out that Disqus likes you being dependent on them, and therefore they don’t make it easy for you to import them into other systems. In fact, it’s a nightmare.

As I started to dig deeper into how to make my blog comments mine again, I learned that other people where leaving Disqus as well, and for many more reasons than I initially thought.

When Our Comments Aren’t Really Ours

One aspect of having comments on my site that’s always bothered me is that they were never really mine. They were the property of Disqus.

I’m a huge proponent of off-loading web services. Video hosting is best handled by YouTube or Vimeo. Email is best handled by Google Apps. Email lists should be sent through a service like Mailchimp.

They’re all experts at what they do. These services are what they focus on every single day. They’re simply better at what they do than I am.

Not all of these services are free, of course. You pay for convenience and privacy.

In exchange for some of the free services, you give up some information to them, which can be good or bad. In the case of Vimeo or YouTube you get a lot more exposure. In the case of Disqus though, I no longer felt like that exchange was worth it.

It turns out that Disqus is tracking us and selling our information. Of course they are. It seems like a no-brainer now, but it simply never crossed my mind before. Like any other form of social media, we’re the product and the advertisers are the customer.

Disqus is basically a marketing company; they collect vast amounts of user data and sell advertising to third parties.Perl Tricks

Load Times

I’m always looking to increase page speeds. I tend to get a bit obsessive with it. After all, page speed directly effects users experience and kills conversions. An added benefit to no longer relying on Disqus is that my site has one less request to make. One less request = faster load time.

Increasing Interaction?

Something that I found interesting recently was that the simple act of moving away from Disqus can increase comment engagement from users. In the case of wpbeginner, they saw a 304% increase in comments. That’s huge. But why? User Experience. People simply have a better experience and trust a native comment system more than they do Disqus.

Our Comments Are Now Ours

If you’ve left a comment on this blog in the past, you’ll find them gone now. I tried to keep them around, but I simply don’t want your info being tracked anymore. It’s not worth it to me.

Have you ever left a comment and then sometime down the road found that you no longer wanted it public?  I can now delete it.

Going forward, I’m keeping your comments with me. No collecting info on you or selling your data.

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