E-Mail Comment Option for Blogs?

Filed as General on April 19, 2006 11:47 am

Barry Bell asks if allowing your readers to subscribe to comments via email is a good idea or not?

One one hand, it’s convenient for your readers. They don’t need to keep checking back at your blog to see if anyone’s replied to the comment they just left, or to see whether anyone else has had anything insightful to say.

But hang on. With a blog like Chartreuse, some of the best stuff happens in the comments, and if I’m taking part in a discussion over there, I’m checking the page every 15 minutes to see if anyone’s snaking me. And I doubt that I’m the only one. But is that because there’s no subscribe by email button? Probably.

Plus, if everyone’s doing it, then Char (and a bunch of similar blogs) are racking up a pile of extra pageviews that are tasty advertiser-fodder.

Clever.

The subscribe via email option for The Blog Herald was in place when we acquired the blog from Duncan earlier this year. I can’t say I ever thought about disabling the option.

On the flip side, I’m an avid reader of Chartreuse and often subscrbe to his comments so that I can keep up with what’s happening there during the day. And as Char will tell you, “the action is in the comments”.

I am out and about alot during the day and keep in touch using a Treo 650 Smartphone. I can’t really run a decent feedreader on it or browse webpages at anything resembling what I’m used to from the office, so the email subscription helps keep me in touch.

But the email interaction leaves alot to be desired. It’s easier to read comments the way that God intended – on the webpage, as a part of a conversation, with the response mechanism right there so that the conversation can continue.

But in the middle of a hot comment thread that you want to keep up with – you can’t beat the email notification.

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  1. By Gordon posted on April 20, 2006 at 2:43 am
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    As you say, to be kept up-to-date on certain posts comment threads is great thing… however the flipside is that some sites have the email notifications set ON as default. All of a sudden my email fills with notifications when I didn’t choose them.

    Maybe a better use would be some sort of RSS notification system (or just a ping). There seems to be a move to try and closely couple email and the web, yet they are different for good reasons.

    P.S. Your comments have two options “Subscribe to comments via email” and “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”… consistent of English aside, which do YOU guys prefer? I’m presuming the subscribe option sends copies of comments, where as the notify option requires you to revisit the site?

  2. By Manuel Viloria posted on April 20, 2006 at 3:38 am
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    Just curious… Have you ever received spam complaints because of these e-mailed notifications?

  3. By Matt posted on April 20, 2006 at 5:14 am
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    Hi,

    No, we haven’t received any spam complaints. Which is suprising, since most people hit that report spam button on services like hotmail and aol way too frequently.

    Matt