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.
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
Andrew Girdwood January 26, 2017 um 12:12 pm
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.
Nate Hoffelder January 26, 2017 um 12:46 pm
I didn’t catch that, thanks.
Paul January 27, 2017 um 3:35 pm
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.
Nate Hoffelder January 27, 2017 um 4:58 pm
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.
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S. J. Pajonas January 29, 2017 um 11:16 am
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?
Nate Hoffelder January 29, 2017 um 5:11 pm
Perhaps they’re going after commercial sites first?
Sad State of Affairs February 10, 2017 um 11:41 am
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!
Matt Davis March 1, 2017 um 12:01 pm
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.
Nate Hoffelder March 1, 2017 um 12:02 pm
Jetpack comments are an unnecessary nuisance and burden. Regular WP comments work just fine.
Moriah Jovan March 1, 2017 um 3:11 pm
I agree with Nate. Jetpack’s a PITA.