Copyblogger’s decision to stop blog comments

Recently copyblogger.com, a big player in the online marketing world, announced that they would be stopping all comments on their blog going forward and moving all discussions to online platforms such as Google+ (see article here). As expected, there are those who are upset by this and those who support it.

I have never allowed blog comments on my main business site, since I did not want to deal with the spam comments that come fast and furious when you allow commenting. And this is the key reason that copyblogger is stopping the comments on their blog. The manual review of comments that made it through the filters they have in place was just too much work. They said that only 4% of their comments were actually legit. My experience suggests that 4% is high – almost every comment I saw on my blogger.com site was spam.

Some commenters have said that it will be a pain to read the post on the copyblogger site, then go to their Google+ page to add a comment. They think it will lead to less comments because it is more difficult. They also would like to see any comments below the article, since other people’s perspectives are valuable when considering what the article said.

This decision and discussion got me thinking. Isn’t there a way to add Google+ comments at the bottom of an article so that you get the best of both worlds? You get easier commenting because the comments can be added right from your website, you get the search ranking benefit of having discussions on Google+, and you get the reduction in spam comments because one has to be logged in to Google+ to add a comment.

I figured someone must have already figured this out. And I think I found one solution that looks like it would work. In WordPress, install the Comments Evolved for WordPress plugin (requires PHP v5.3 or higher). Set the tab order in the settings of the plugin to only list gplus. Turn comments on for the site (you can turn commenting off for any post or page individually).

After you publish a post on your site, log in to Google+ and add the link to your website post in sharing a link on your Google+ page. This connects the post on your site to the post on your Google+ page. Now when you load that post on your website, you should see the Google+ comments at the bottom of the post. This allows anyone to sign in with their Google account and leave a comment right from the website. They can also leave a comment via Google+. All the comments show up in both places.

I have tested this approach on this site (a new site I am developing) and it seems to work well (forgive the appearance and lack of content here, the site is very early in development). I’d be interested to hear if others have already tried this sort of approach and whether it really works or not. If it does work, it allows smaller sites to use a similar approach to what copyblogger is doing and still get the benefits of comments on the site and the better protection and search boost from Google+.

I would love to hear from others who have investigated similar solutions. If this approach works, you should be able to add your comments below using Google+.