March 27th, 2012 / Blogging

The Problem With Third-Party Commenting Systems

There’s been some talk lately about Google implementing a third party commenting system. But are there problems that might come attached to that?

If you remember Google Connect, then you are also likely aware that it doesn’t exist any more. One of the reasons why is the growing popularity of Google+. But the problem with Google Connect is now all the comments that people made through the service are gone. If you’re a webmaster, that represents comments on your website that simply disappeared overnight.

And there’s the problem.

It’s not that third party commenting systems are bad in and of themselves. Facebook has one. Disqus has one. And there are a few others. I’d say Facebook and Disqus are the most popular ones. They likely won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

Of course, if Google implements a third party commenting system, then that could drive Disqus out of the market. I’d feel sorry for all those bloggers and webmasters who are using it now.

Third party commenting systems can be a powerful addition to a blog or web property, so I don’t want to discount them completely. But I do like Bill Slawski’s recommendation to provide some way for commenters to choose whether to use the third party system or to allow webmasters to integrate it into their existing commenting systems.

In my mind, that would increase the value of a third party commenting system whether owned by Google or someone else. Then, if you get tired of the system and want to discontinue it you can export any comments to your blog posts inside WordPress (or whatever platform you are using) where they belong.

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