Registering to make comments, why it won’t work for you

Duncan Riley> I just went to post on a blog (Zoli’s Blog) in relation to some commentary in relation to another one of my posts and I was disappointed to find that the only way to post a comment was to register to do so. Now, this is not having a go at Zoli Erdos, because firstly I respect his opinions on the matter (even if we do disagree…and I just added his feed to Bloglines!), but its probably more to do with BlogHarbor, the host of the blog, who also hosts another blog I read, Thinking Home Business from Des Walsh. But what does it all mean? it means that for both blogs I won’t be leaving comments, and neither will a whole lot of other readers who visit the blog, particularly if they are not regular readers. In the age of comment spam you may well ask: well who cares? well I tell you what a lot of people do care. There’s been a lot said in the past that a blog isn’t a blog without the ability to comment, and there is some credence in this theory, but a blog that allows comments only with registration is saying “listen to me but don’t provide me with feedback”. It literally breaks the 2 way conversation that makes blogs so special and stand out from the crowd in the first place. If you are thinking about a starting a blog or even dropping open comments from your blog I’d urge you not to do so. Sure, we all suffer from comment spam, but a little pain results in a lot more long term gain as you build your readership and interact with other bloggers.

Food for thought.

View Comments (12)
  • Duncan, I would certainly welcome your comments. The registration may appear a painful step, but you only need it once, than it’s valid not just on Blogharbor, but on all blogs supported by the Blogware (Tucows) platform. It’s just like Typekey for the Typepad accounts … a small step towards authentication, please don’t tell me this is what stops you from leaving a comment.

    Btw, I am not entirely happy with the way blogware implemented commenting, see this thread on their BizDev manager’s blog.

  • I disagree. I’m registered to comment on several blogs, and I know of several highly commented blogs that require registration to leave comments. Not to mention that 99% of message boards require registration and people still use those quite heavily.

    People who really want to participate in the dialogue will take a few seconds to register. I’ve I’ve got something to say, 2 or 3 forum fields aren’t going to stop me from saying it. What registration cuts down on, in addition to spam, is pointless drive-by comments, and comment trolls. I’m all for it.

  • I don’t mind the registration when it sticks as it does on blogharbor, I’ll do it once. But not twice, especially if I have to find my way back through a mire of screen to get to what I wanted to comment on. I’m old and by that time I do that I’ve forgotten what it is I wanted to say. The pain is that after registration I still have to do the darn word verification anyway. Can’t they just ask for my first born child? His college bills could be theirs and I would have less haslles. :)

  • I am about 80% less likely to leave a comment if I have to register. Usually I’ll only do it if the post is really good and/or I feel very strongly about what was written

  • I’m not sure everyone realizes what “registration” means here. It’s a one time action per blogging platform, and there really are only 4-5 major hosted platforms.

    Typepad has Typekey
    Blogware has reader accounts
    etc …

    Once you create your id on those systems, you are authenticated for ALL blogs created on the platform.

  • Just curious– why limit the discussion to universal logins like Typekey or Blogware? What about individual blogs that require you to register for their particular site? Lots of those out there too.

  • I’m with you Duncan, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s Type Key, Tucows or a tornado, I am not interested in registering just to leave a comment.

    It’s been proven that you can accept comments without a registration process, so as the customer, I’ll take my business somewhere else until the blog ownwers make it simple ( my favorite word ) for me to interact with them.

    It ain’t that hard folks, to have a real blog on a real blogging platform with a real domain name.

    Need help ? Call me and I’ll have my staff set it up and host it for you.

  • I’m with you Duncan, usually when I see that I have to register to leave comments I just skip it. I think with the tools that we have to filter out spam and prevent spam in the first place it makes sense to offer as little resistance as possible to interaction.

  • You make some good points, Duncan. FYI, the commenting system on our platform will see enhancements in the near future which will allow our publishers more flexibility when it comes to commenting, and “signed but non-authenticated” commenting will be an option. So we’ve already been listening to our customers on some of these points and will be working on enhancements accordingly.

    But as Zoli points out, we’re talking about a registration system which allows you to comment on thousands of Blogware-based blogs, not just a single blog. You yourself wrote about why you’re all for TypeKey. How do you see this as being different than TypeKey? How could you be all for TypeKey but be against another vendors implementation of a similiar concept? And for the record, our system was in place long before TypeKey was released… ;-)

  • The initial design of the reader account wasn’t only for spam prevention. If you’ve ever signed up for an account you may have noticed you can login at the Reader Account URL to access a cool little set of social networking features such as the ability to manage friends lists, review information on all of the powers you have in Blogware such as what blogs you own, which ones you have sub author rights to or the ability to view restricted content in, as well as design a profile page where you can upload a picture and set permissions on who may view it.

    In all actuality, reader account authentication as a way to prevent comment spam when implemented roughly three years ago was almost an afterthought so we’d have the ability to globally delete comments when an offender was identified. Being in the email spam business already, we knew this would be a big issue someday and although it hasn’t worked out as the ideal implementation that John mentions is being improved on, it’s definitely worked out for a lot of users compared to leaving them to figure it all out on their own.

  • I don’t care what platform a blog is on or care to determine it. If the site is not one I will be visiting VERY frequently and participating in often, I won’t bother to register to comment. I feel registration is a huge barrier to user feedback. Sure, you’ll get some feedback, but don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re getting any portion of the people who even want to comment if it weren’t for that barrier. It’s not worth my time to set up another account and try to remember what it is (especially since I may surf from multiple computers). Case in point, if this site required registration, I would not have commented…

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