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Disqus is Bringing Spam to Comment Sections Everywhere

Disqus.Helper.1.1Earlier this week Disqus revealed its answer to the problem that all free platforms face.

The problem is revenue, but rather than charging for the service they provide, Disqus has decided to go the way of sponsored comments. They’re going to start inserting adverts into the comment threads of sites which rely on Disqus to provide comment moderation.

They’ve been working with ad agencies since April to develop a way to add targeted adverts in relevant comment threads while also making sure that the ads won’t appear in a spot which would be detrimental to the brand image (think car insurance ad placed in the comment section following a traffic accident story).

The adverts will look something like this:

You can click on it to see an expanded view.

AdWeek reports that Disqus is working with Xaxis, an automated ad platform, to sell ad space to brands. The ads will be shown at the top of the discussion threads and marked sponsored. The ads will reportedly be optional (AdWeek says they’re choosing not to exercise the option). There’s also mention that publishers could share in the revenue.

While I don’t like the idea of sponsored comments and see them as basically spam, I also know that this is not the first attempt Disqus has made at a business model. Disqus launched a premium VIP service in 2009, and I see mentions of it in 2010 but it seems to have been dropped some time in 2013.

I don’t think there were enough sites willing to pay for the service. This is a problem faced by many startups that try to offer a freemium model, including Disqus’s competitors like LiveFyre.


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puzzled November 5, 2014 um 3:35 am

Hmmm… I’m feeling like some Sweet 'n Low right now …

Nate Hoffelder November 5, 2014 um 8:15 am

Did you know you can earn $5,000 a week working from home?

Andrew November 5, 2014 um 11:49 am

That’s only legal in some states, and frankly, I’m not that good-looking.

Nate Hoffelder November 5, 2014 um 12:16 pm


jimberkas November 5, 2014 um 12:35 pm

god, how I hate Disqus.
only thing worse are those sites that require you to sign in with your facebook account to comment! WTH! I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter or Google+ account or any other social networking account. and I’m certainly joining up just be able comment. Seriously, has the whole damn world gone mad?!

Nate Hoffelder November 5, 2014 um 12:39 pm

There are worse things than sites which require a FB account. Some sites use Disqus but require that you log in with a social account and still give them your email. I hate that.

nathan November 6, 2014 um 2:01 am

I agree. Most commenting systems are complete garbage now.
I’ve been using an extension called LightRaft for a while and it’s pretty sweet. It fixes pretty much all the nonsense you mentioned by adding it’s own commenting to every website you visit. You don’t have to register for anything if you don’t want, because it allows anonymous posting. So I pretty much just stick with that now.

Also, why would Disqus even bother putting the upvote/downvote counter on sponsored comments? It’s obviously going to be bogus if not now, then certainly in the future. Nobody in their right mind would ever pay for an ad that could potentially display tons of downvotes next to their brand.

The Rodent November 7, 2014 um 1:23 pm

Ugh. Yes, the whole damn world has gone mad. 😉 Here, have some Cole Porter:

Elisabetta December 19, 2014 um 6:44 am

Well I was wondering whether to use Disqus. Now I know I am not. I’ll just stick to WordPress comments and spam plugins.

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