Disqus Now Requires Either Ads or Paid Subscription for its Commenting Platform

When it comes to managing comments on a website, the free options include WordPress (and other native comment systems), Facebook comments,  and Livefyre (now owned by Adobe).

You also used to be able to use Disqus for free, but that changed this past week when the company started telling websites that use Disqus that they had to either sign up for the paid service or turn on the Disqus ads.

From Liliputing:

This site has used the Disqus comment system since we first launched in April, 2008. At the time, Disqus offered clear benefits over the default WordPress comment system, including support for threaded comments, upvotes, spam detection (which clearly doesn’t always work), comment moderation tools.

At the time Disqus was also completely free for most publishers. Over the years Disqus has rolled out a few different monetization options. Larger publishers can pay for premium features, and all sites can opt-in to Disqus ads, which can appear above or in the middle of the comments sections.

Starting later this week, all publishers using Disqus will have to either enable ads or pay for a subscription.

I have also heard a similar announcement from the webcomic Looking for Group, which has responded to the new policy by switching to Facebook comments.

LfG had previously tried the Disqus ads option and reached the same conclusion as Liliputing and other sites: the adverts are crappy clickbait which don’t pay enough to make it a nuisance.

Aside from a brief flirtation with the Jetpack comments plugin, this blog has always used the native WordPress comments.  It is easiest, allows for anonymous comments, and doesn’t require extra code (which can break).

But I can see the value of an alternative comment platform. I would not go with LiveFyre (they auto-tweet your comment) but I have been tempted from time to time by Disqus or FB comments.

Edit: As a reader pointed out, I can’t go with LiveFyre; Adobe shut down the comment plugin last October. Thanks, Andrew!

The latter two comment platforms give websites a way to tap into the larger web community. FB comments, for example, enable websites to attract a larger audience from Facebook.

Sure, FB has serious privacy issues, and their comment platform requires a FB account, but with over a billion FB users there is still a clear benefit for websites.

Disqus had similar advantages – or at least it did until they started charging websites for using it.

image by HowardLake

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Andrew Girdwood26 January, 2017

    Livefyre’s comment platform is dead. Adobe has discontinued it and while it’s been running on sunset time I think it official withdraws next month.

    1. Nate Hoffelder26 January, 2017

      I didn’t catch that, thanks.

  2. Paul27 January, 2017

    You can also add Disqus to more or less anything. For example, XML files. Hence its attractive to journal publishers who don’t want to muck around with developing their own commenting system on their journal platform.

    1. Nate Hoffelder27 January, 2017

      Ah, so that is why I see it on Tumblr blogs, even though it is not a listed feature. Someone inserted a few lines of code.


  3. […] Disqus Now Requires Either Ads or Paid Subscription for its Commenting Platform [iophk: “disqus is a common way to block comments in general while at the same time pretending to allow them”] […]

  4. S. J. Pajonas29 January, 2017

    Hmmm, I use Disqus on my website and I haven’t heard anything about this yet. I wonder if they’re rolling it out in chunks?

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 January, 2017

      Perhaps they’re going after commercial sites first?

  5. Sad State of Affairs10 February, 2017

    Disqus is the cause of all commenting Trolls.
    ALL comment methods should require verifiable addresses
    and force the user to login…NO anonymous troll
    crap like this!

  6. Matt Davis1 March, 2017

    It’s unfortunate that it’s gotten to this point, because many users will abandon Disqus over this, which then makes blogs have to reconsider using Disqus. I personally would recommend checking out Jetpack Comments as a replacement if you can’t live with or won’t pay to remove the ads.

    1. Nate Hoffelder1 March, 2017

      Jetpack comments are an unnecessary nuisance and burden. Regular WP comments work just fine.

    2. Moriah Jovan1 March, 2017

      I agree with Nate. Jetpack’s a PITA.

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