Friday, June 23, 2006

Yet another 'blogger' nixes comments

A couple of weeks after SethGate, Mark Cuban has apparently decided to kill comments to his blog posts. Honestly, I can't put this in the same vein as SethGate, or even Scoble deciding to monitor his comments. In this case, I think Cuban is making this move as a fan who's upset that his team lost the NBA Finals. I wouldn't be suprised if he turns comments back on shortly.

But...what I'm worried about is the bigger message that this might be sending other bloggers. Seth and Cuban are very influential bloggers, how long is it before another A-Lister, or A-Lister wannabe, decides that they don't need the 'hassle' of feedback from their communities. If Seth can get along without them, why do I need the 'hassle' of reading comments?

Here's a thought for those bloggers that are thinking of dumping comments from their readers, because they 'add no value': Start making an effort to CONNECT to your readers, and maybe they'll give you better feedback! Take the time to get to know these people that are taking time to come to YOUR blog, and maybe they'll get to know YOU a bit better, and give you better feedback.

Don't lock yourself up in an ivory tower and call down to your crowd that 'you guys just don't get me'. They don't 'get' you because you won't JOIN them.

If this trend continues of high-profile bloggers banning comments, either the readers will eventually migrate to the blogs that DO embrace their readers, or eventually readers as a whole will get tired of blogs. Which hurts everyone.

I talk a lot about the need for companies to 'join the community', but it applies to bloggers as well. And as a blog grows, the blogger should look for MORE ways to embrace their communities. I see so often, the exact opposite happening, in that many bloggers reach a certain level of traffic, and think they don't need to pay as much attention to their community anymore. The result is that some long-term readers will leave, and as new ones start to read the blog, there's little interaction with the blog owner. The end result is that the readers that understood the blogger, because he used to interact with them, they leave, while the new readers have no interaction with the blogger, and therefore don't understand him/her.

So if you aren't accepting comments because you aren't getting 'value' from your readers, that's not their fault, it's yours. I read on another blog a few weeks ago that 'a blog gets the readers they deserve'.

There's a lot of truth in that. Building bridges is almost always preferrable to burning them.


Anonymous said...

I think Mark Cuban is retrenching.
Only human, he's under fire.
Gotta retreat, protect the rear, and plot a new campaigne.
Doing that myself currently.

Anonymous said...

On adding value...I find that comments are sometimes sideways directed at others and the comments they have made; rather than at the author of the post that began the conversation.

In this way comments add value to others beyond that of the blog's owner.

And that is lost when comments are turned off.

You see this so clearly - almost looking for when the next big name blogger turns off their comments - it gets you fired up! And your postings get even more fire than usual!

Thanks for insisting on this conversation!

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping EVERY A-lister turns off their comments, so we can start a new A-list without them on it.

I'd almost bet Seth's farm that when their comments go away, so will their traffic.

A blog without comments is the same as a magazine or book. You BETTER have really good content if you want even a slim chance at pulling it off.

Kim Klaver said...

Hi Mack:

There are clearly people who are in lecture mode, like Seth G. And it's obvious that if they have things people want to say, they get readers.

What is he now, 7k on Alexa?

He hasn't had comments for a long time, and still his traffic goes up.

It might be more about the blogger. I love my comments. I enjoy interacting with my readers.

You seem to be the same type. So is Robert Scoble.

Perhaps it's just a personal choice for the blogger - and the readers can choose what they enjoy most - tips and tidbits, and/or adding their two cents.

Maybe many readers read both types of blogs.

I do.

I personally really LOVE comments. They make ME better.

But some readers just come for the tips, and they're off, running, and doing them.

So maybe not all of a community wants to interact, you know?

So I leave my options open, like you.


Mack Collier said...

Michael that's the thing I love about comments, you never know where they could go! Sure they make occasionally take a direction that the blog's owner doesn't care for, but that's why readers will come to the blog, because they know that they have the freedom to contribute.

Kim you're right, every blogger has to choice what works best for them. I guess my pro-community bias may be clouding my judgment here. It's entirely possible that some bloggers are smarter than every reader they have, and that letting them comment would be a waste of their time.

That might be true on some blogs, but it's certainly not the case here!

Kim Klaver said...

Mack -

Yep, I think Seth's comment that his readers' comments would take too much of his time and too much correction by Seth didn't sit well with some people.

Me, for one.

I go there much less often now. And stay less long.

Anonymous said...

A BLOG doesn't seem like a BLOG without having comments. If anything it even keeps users coming back, and passionate about the topic if a comment debate incurs. I think it is also a great source of content, and page updates as far as the search engines are concerned!