Allowing comments on corporate blogs
27 May 2008 in General | Comments enabled
This has been a post I’ve been meaning to make for some time and Rod’s recent blog post mentioning that Xero have finally enabled commenting reminded me to get it out.
As an aside, good move on the shift to WordPress Xero people – your integration appears seamless and the styling on the comments is superb.
I’ve always been confused by company blogs that don’t allow comments – it almost makes me wonder if I should trust them as it seems to me they’re trying to reduce transparency. What are they afraid of? People writing harsh (true?) comments? Spam? Not enough activity?
My thoughts on these points:
If your excuse is spam then you’re clearly living in a pre-Akismet world. Akismet is the best anti-spam implementation I have ever come across. Developed by the guys behind WordPress it has proved to be invaluable in blocking the flood of spam that blogs attract. It’s blocked more than 330,000 spam comments on this blog alone. The API for Akismet has been ported to nearly every modern programming language so there is absolutely no reason to use spam as the excuse.
If you seriously have to worry about people posting negative comments then change your business and stop sucking. Don’t give people a reason to hate you or your products – leverage the communication medium as you would any other and turn it to your advantage. Occasionally you get trolls, for sure, but they are easy enough to spot and removing those comments is acceptable.
Not enough activity
Sometimes it can be embarrassing to have a long list of blog posts that have a big fat total of zero comments. This is a learning exercise – are you providing content people want to consume? Does it incite questions in the reader or have a call to action? I’ve seen some blogs that I know have a lot of readers but the content is never written in a manner that provokes feedback.
Blogs take effort to keep alive and fresh so why on earth would you invest that effort to then shut down readers opportunities to provide feedback? Some of the best feedback that Mindscape has received has been through our blog – the low barriers to providing feedback as well as the informal medium means people speak more freely about what they think.
Some of the larger examples of corporate blogs that don’t allow comments include web-savvy companies like Google. I’m pleased to see that they’re beginning to change their ways and recently allowed comments on the Adsense blog.
So, if your company has a blog (and it should have one!) and you don’t allow comments ask yourself again if it really is a good idea.