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Why Disqus Is King Of Comments

I recently made the decision to switch from Facebook Comments and exclusively use Disqus on all of my websites. If any of you are thinking about integrating either of these products into your website, read on to see why I made my decision:

1) Disqus - Advantages:

A) Disqus is platform-agnostic. What this means is that your comments will stay intact whether you switch from WordPress to Drupal and vice versa (or anything else).

B) Disqus is URL-agnostic. What this means is that your comments will stay intact even if you change the title of your post and the URL with it.

C) Disqus is domain-agnostic. What this means is that your comments will stay intact even if you decide to change the domain name of your website, which I think is incredible.

So let's say your domain name was initially http://yourwebsite.net (because of course the .com domain is almost always taken), but later on the http://yourwebsite.com domain name became available and you were lucky enough to acquire it and want to redirect your old domain name to your new one, your comments will not disappear.

Using another example, my startup company, Mediography.by, was initially Discography.by (which now just redirects to Mediography.by), and it had a few comments before the switch to the new URL. I was surprised to find that the comments still showed up after I changed the URL to Mediography.by. The only caveat in this case though is that your Disqus account would have to remain the same. So let's say your domain name was initially http://youroldwebsite.com with http://youroldwebsite.disqus.com as your Disqus account, and you decide to rebrand your website to http://yournewwebsite.com. Your comments will still work as long as you decide not to get a new account at Disqus, which would make it http://yournewwebsite.disqus.com. Maybe this can be a new feature for Disqus to consider, so that all the comments from the old account somehow gets migrated into the new account? ;)

D) Disqus has a robust system for comment notification. This means that you'll get notified via email whenever there is a new comment. And as you can see from the screenshot below, you'll also get notified right via the comment box whenever you get a reply (along with an email):

Disqus Reply Notification

Disqus Reply Notification

What's a bit confusing is that the notification via the comment box is only for when I get a reply, not for new comments. Why? I have no idea. Maybe somebody from Disqus can enlighten me on this subject. :P

E) Disqus is excellent at sorting comments by votes. This is something to consider only if you are thinking about whether to use Disqus over the default commenting system that your CMS offers (or your own), because Facebook's version (sort by likes) works just as well.

F) Disqus is excellent at spam detection / deletion. I can't remember the last time I saw spam on this platform.

G) UPDATE (February 22, 2015): Disqus is HTTPS-agnostic. What this means is that your comments will stay intact even if you add an SSL certificate to your website, changing the URL from http://yourwebsite.com to https://yourwebsite.com. I noticed this after I installed mine.

2) Disqus - Disadvantages:

A) Not everybody's always logged into Disqus. And since Disqus is still not as ubiquitous as Facebook, it'll be this way for the time being. But since the product has gained critical mass a long time ago, I think this is becoming less and less of a problem as each day goes by.

B) Comments are not viewable by Facebook friends. Comments are however shareable after they are posted via Facebook & Twitter, but that's one more step to take and you have enable it under settings too.

I'm sure there are other disadvantages, but the above two are the main reasons why I initially used Facebook Comments over Disqus.

3) Facebook Comments - Advantages:

A) The main advantage of using Facebook Comments is that it gives the posters the option to post the comments on their profiles, which means their friends will see that they posted on your website.

B) Everybody's always logged into Facebook, so there's almost no need to log in to comment, ever.

C) Facebook Comments is excellent at sorting comments by likes. This is something to consider only if you are thinking about whether to use Facebook Comments over the default commenting system that your CMS offers (or your own), because Disqus' version (sort by votes) works just as well.

4) Facebook Comments - Disadvantages:

A) Facebook Comments is platform-specific. What this means is that if you switch from one platform to another, you will lose ALL of your comments. This is exactly what happened to me when I switched from WordPress to Drupal on this very website. I lost dozens if not hundreds of comments and wasn't too happy. Then I started thinking, what if I upgrade from Drupal 7 (which my website is currently using) to Drupal 8, which is due out circa early next year? Will I lose all of my comments again? If anyone has ever upgraded from Drupal 6 to 7 with all their comments intact, feel free to let me know. But I decided not to bet my luck anymore, as I really am not that confident with this product anymore.

B) Facebook Comments is URL-specific. What this means is that if you change the title of your post and the URL with it, you will lose all of your comments. Your comments will be ok however if you just change the title of your post and leave the initial URL intact. For example, that's what TechCrunch does when they change the title of their articles. The following screenshot is a comment from one of those articles, making fun of it:

TechCrunch URL Comment

TechCrunch URL Comment

C) Facebook Comments is domain-specific. What this means is that you will lose all of your comments if you decide to change the domain name of your website.

D) Facebook Comments has a poor system for comment notification. I don't know about WordPress, but this feature for Drupal sucks shit. What happened was that initially I did get emails every time somebody commented on my website. The problem was that slowly but surely I started to get notified for only some of the new comments, and eventually the emails completely stopped. Why? Who knows.

E) UPDATE (February 22, 2015): Facebook Comments is HTTPS-specific. What this means is that you will lose all of your comments if you add an SSL certificate to your website, changing the URL from http://yourwebsite.com to https://yourwebsite.com.

F) UPDATE (October 21, 2015): Facebook Comments has a poor system for spam detection / deletion. Here's an example:

Facebook Spam - Before

Facebook Spam - Before

UPDATE (April 9, 2016): To be fair, spam does seem to eventually get deleted from Facebook Comments (although whether Facebook detects / deletes them automatically and / or the author of the page manually deletes them is anyone's guess). Almost. Here's another screenshot of the same page taken a few months later:

Facebook Spam - After

Facebook Spam - After

I say almost, because you can clearly see that the three initial spam posts above were all eventually deleted (I honestly don't know when), but there's still another one that was posted just a day after the article was written that is still there after all these months.

G) UPDATE (April 9, 2016): Facebook Comments sometimes don't even show up at all, meaning nobody can even leave a comment for whatever page it was supposed to show up on. Here is an example: http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/08/justice-department-keeps-pushing-apple-...

I'm sure there are other disadvantages, but the above four are the main reasons why I eventually made the switch from Facebook Comments to Disqus.

To summarize, I really think that since Disqus only does comments, it does them better than anyone else on the planet. This is why I also don't think that newer competitors such as Livefyre has any chance of entering this space whatsoever, unless they pivot. In my opinion, Disqus is just that good. But if you are thinking about an alternative solution, just make sure you understand all the potential problems and especially the risks of losing all of your comments.

So there you have it. Whatever commenting platform you decide to use, think about the advantages & disadvantages of each one and hopefully you'll make the right decision all the way from the beginning. Good luck! :)

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