Facebook comments vs Blog comments

Recently I've been toying around with Facebook comments technology and it's implementation on blogs. ~ Battle of the Windmill ~

I've already use it on several our sites with success and today I included Facebook comments on my blog as a test.

I am pretty convinced that it is at least worth checking out (if for nothing, it's very easy to setup on a WordPress blog with a plugin like this one).

Currently I like the idea so much, I might even remove the blog commenting system entirely in the future (preserving the old comments, just removing the comment form).

Here are some pros and cons in this Facebook vs Blog Comments match up.

1. With Facebook comments you don't have to worry about spam at all

This is a big deal in a world when spam commenting is such a menace.  Yes, spammers could start creating spam Facebook accounts, but Facebook will have interest to hunt them down.

2. Blog comments have better management

You can manage comments from your blog admin. Facebook comments have less management capability. But then again you need management mostly to get rid of spam anyway so Facebook comments don't really need it that much.

3. Facebook comments use profile image

Facebook comments look better as every one will have an image, while with blog comments you at best get a gravatar image (if it exists).

4. Facebook comments can be posted on the user's profile

A big thing, both for the visitor and the blog owner. The visitor can share their view on a topic with a click of the mouse, while the blog owner benefits from the increased exposure. And it's all automatic. A win-win scenario.

5. With Facebook comments somebody else manages your comments

Both a good a and a bad thing. We've seen services like Disqus which tried to do this before, but they never took off. Facebook owns your comments, you can't change them, and if there is no Facebook one day you will lose your comments as well.

6. If you don't have Facebook account you can't comment

Well you can actually if you enable anonymous comments but then you are back to the spam issues. I am not worried that much as I suppose everyone reading this blog has the Facebook account already.

7. Facebook comments can't be styled

You are stuck with what Facebook offers, which is currently two templates a light and a dark one. If that doesn't match your theme, you can't do nothing about it.

8. Facebook comments are much easier to make

If you are logged into Facebook, there is no filling of forms, annoying captchas etc. It takes seconds to write a comment which could improve the number of comments as well.

9. Easily make friends with people who comment

With one click on the link you will go to the person's Facebook profile and you can connect to them. On the other hand blog comments usually have a website link so you are able to find the person's website faster if that is what interests you.

10. Facebook comments are not indexable (yet)

This search verifies that the normal comment text is indexable and you can rank for it. All the content coming from Facebook comments is not indexable as this search verifies.

What do you think?


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46 Comments

  1. Mar 13th, 2013 10:13 PM

    Vladimir,

    I was just doing some searching on the indexing of Facebook comments and your article was returned which I was glad to see because I value your opinion on many topics.

    Noticing the date that it was written, I searched only "in the past year" and found articles that indicate that FB and Disque comments are now indexed. Here is a sample article: http://searchengineland.com/many-facebook-comments-now-being-indexed-by-google-99399

    However, to test the theory, I did a search of your comments from this article as follows:

    I first searched for the following phrase which is made above in the "traditional WP" comments section:

    "No facebook account here either. :) And I stay away from external comment systems most of the time. I think they are solutions in search of the problem that take simple comments model and turn into a inconvenient, slow and often bugged JavaScript mess."

    This WAS indexed.

    Then, I searched Google for the following phrase from a Facebook comment above:

    "Seems as excellent idea Vladimir. However, Akismet solved all my spamming issue till now. I admit, I have few not so utilized wordpress sites.

    On the other hand, I am always for more automatic control thus I love idea about Facebook comments."

    This WAS NOT indexed.

    Thinking that the "age" of this article may factor in (perhaps they are only indexing newer Facebook comments?), I searched the one Facebook comment from your article "resisting Smartphones".

    This was also NOT indexed.

    So, from this brief study, it would seem that traditional WordPress comments are still more quickly indexed by Google and that other comments (from Facebook & Disque) are either infrequently indexed or not at all.

    Of course, further due diligence would have to be done to verify all of this.

    Just to be safe though, I am making these long comments in the traditional "WP" comments form so it will be indexed for you for sure :)

    Cheers,
    Richard

  2. Mar 28th, 2012 12:59 PM

    Great article! I've been experimenting on these commenting options myself. First I only had the normal one but when I got attacked by spam I switched to FB comments. Then I noticed it's not exactly doing anything for my Page Rank so I switched back to the normal way. Now I'm trying to have both like this page. It's all so tedious.

  3. Feb 21st, 2012 12:05 PM

    am not actually a fan of facebook, but if it helps in getting a high ranking site, then why not?
    informative post, thanks.

  4. Jan 4th, 2012 10:20 PM

    I simply couldn’t go away your web site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide in your guests? Is going to be again often in order to check up on new posts.

  5. Dec 23rd, 2011 10:19 PM

    Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it that you shared with us such a informative post.

  6. Dec 3rd, 2011 4:32 PM

    It is quite simple actually. I have no problem defending my comments, but Facebook for me is my personal space and blogging/commenting generally is my business space. They are separate worlds.

    Second, I clicked some of the Facebook profiles on the above and the profile provided access to info I don't necessarily want random people to have access to. I don't want to provide every site where I leave comments access to my friends and personal info that is not relevant or necessary for the conversation.c

  7. Nov 5th, 2011 4:34 PM

    Well, count me as one of the people who don't have FB. But a bigger issue, can you say that the data that is being passed through is secure?

  8. Myke McCormick
    Sep 14th, 2011 2:53 PM

    Thanks a lot for the guidance. I am in the process of launching a new Religious/Philosophical site.
    Having observed others using Facebook or Blog it seemed either one or the other was the primary media. Either the Blog is where the "Real" action is or Facebook is the primary media. In this way one or the other is used to "Feed" the primary source.
    I was thinking along those lines since that is what I saw. Since I had web sites before there even was Facebook & Blogs are simply (For me) an easier way to do web sites I thought I would just use Facebook to drive traffic to my Blog. My concern was that Facebook activity seems to be preferred over Blogs by many people.
    After reading this article my goal is to integrate the two. There are still many things a Blog can do that Facebook cannot do or cannot do as well. On the other hand what good is a well written Blog with no readers?
    Integration (for which I can find little information) seems the way to go. This offers a Facebook only option for those who will not go beyond Face book. A blog for those (usually) wanting something more in depth and a blend such that readers can decide whether they want to read more or not. Coupled with an auto-responder this yields a threefold approach with much more power than the sum of its parts.
    Are there any books or learning materials you recommend that would save me the trial & error method of figuring this out?
    Thanks for the input & insight you are so generous with.

    • Sep 15th, 2011 12:43 AM

      Sorry nothing that I can help with other then to advise searching for it online.

      • Myke McCormick
        Sep 15th, 2011 12:48 AM

        That is happening now. If I find anything I'll pass it on. If I just learn a lot we can write a book ; )

  9. Aug 27th, 2011 8:59 PM

    Just starting a new blog, and the FB comments is really appealing with the ability to spread posts socially through open graph. But there are some good points in here, including 1) Not everyone has a facebook account, 2) Not all FB users are comfortable sharing their profile with comments publicly, and 3) comments aren't indexed. Point #3 is particularly concerning since I commonly find solutions through comments indexed by Google. So, for now, it seems to me that the use of FB for comments is particularly useful for viral marketing as comments spread through the social spectrum. On that note, FB offers plenty of other tools such as "share on FB", "like" with comments optional, and the like box for "subscribing" to social posts -- all of which can be implemented easily in addition to the traditional blog comments. You seem to have integrated both successfully, however... It'll be interesting to see how FB improves comments in the near future... Indexed comments? Anonymous comments?

  10. Dan
    Jul 11th, 2011 5:28 AM

    2 problems:

    1. When people are not allowed to post anonymously, they will not be as forthcoming about what they really think, which will greatly limit the breadth and honesty of their comments.

    2. This includes when they point out malfeasance in government or business in cases where they have reason to fear for their jobs or even their physical safety.

    3. Remember that anything you say, no matter how intelligent, how well backed up, how reasonable, and how balanced, will be offensive to at least some people and might well be used against you.

    4. You'd be excluding the type of people with a deep understanding of privacy issues, who in many cases are highly intelligent, such as Richard Stallman.

    5. Finally, free speech is so sacred and so under attack that freedom-loving people must defend it vigorously.

    • Jul 11th, 2011 9:57 AM

      I agree it comes down to the type of site. On a site like this, anonymous comments are pointless (and likely to be spam).

  11. Shawn
    Jun 6th, 2011 4:15 PM

    Hi Vladimir, I've been playing around with facebook integrations (like many people) and opengraph for like buttons, comments...etc.

    Your thoughts on using opengraph meta data to fine tune facebook integrations and your sites content?

    http://developers.facebook.com/tools/lint?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prelovac.com

    http://developers.facebook.com/tools/lint?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prelovac.com%2Fvladimir%2Foptimize-your-wordpress-page-loading-times-with-a-simple-tweak

    • Jul 11th, 2011 9:55 AM

      Haven't tried it yet so I can't comment, sory

  12. Feb 4th, 2011 1:00 PM

    > 9. Easily make friends with people who comment
    This is bad! Do I want every site owner on who's site I comment to start hassling me on FB? No way!
    I generally use a one-time email address on comments anyway, so if someone starts spamming I know who to trace it back to. With FB Comments, I'd lose this.
    Finally as someone else said, I like to keep web stuff seperate from FB stuff. Not everyone is on FB, and not everyone who is on FB uses it like you (or you, or you...)

    I would never exclude people from commenting by removing the normal comment option. Add FB by all means, there are clearly people who like it. But don't exclude the rest of your audience!

    • Jul 11th, 2011 9:55 AM

      Normally nobody can hassle you on Facebook unless you allow them to ('add them as friends').

  13. Feb 2nd, 2011 2:40 PM

    Personally I try to keep my web life separated from my facebook account as much as possible, so if a blog only has Facebook comments enabled, I will NEVER comment on it (not that it matters to the blog owner :)).

    In fact I am amazed at how freely people share stuff online though those tools... and don't even get me started on FourSquare.

    • Tesla
      Feb 19th, 2011 4:59 AM

      It can really depend on the topic. I have a site that focuses on homeowners in distress. There have been hundreds of legitimate comments from people who have asked for help, shared their experiences, etc. Few would have done that if I had required FB comments.

      There is a lot to be said for privacy, and FB is the antithesis of privacy.

      • Jul 11th, 2011 9:54 AM

        It's not suitable for anonymous comments, that's for sure

  14. Feb 1st, 2011 5:01 AM

    I don't think it's as easy to interact with your FB commentators, Vladimir - since FB doesn't offer nested comments. So if a commentator asks you a question, the only way to make sure he gets your response is by sending them a private message, but then no one else see your answer. So what then? Post it as well? Too much work.

    I also don't like the fact that the comments can't be edited; it's take it or leave it basically. I like to have more control over my comments.

    It's interesting that you concluded that FB comments are non-indexable. That's good news; otherwise, I would see a lot of link juice flowing out of your blog in favor of FB.

    However, your commentators wouldn't know it. So potentially they'll try to spam your site with all kind of links in their comments, not realizing that all their links are worthless, but still makes your blog look bad.

    Then you'd have to delete the comments with links, but then it brings you back to having to police comments.

    What do you think, Vladimir?

    Oksana Hoffman

    • Feb 1st, 2011 10:15 AM

      Hello Oksana

      Reply feature is missing, but I did not want to mention it as it is something that is going to appear soon probably.

      Comment editing - I am not sure anyone likes their comment being edited. It OK to have take it or leave situation there.

      FB Comments are not indexable but even if they would I would not expect lot of spam. FB profiles take more time to make then a spammer can spam WP comments, and once I block you you can't post and need to make another profile. If FB wants the comments to spread they would like to make sure that anti-spam stays strong point.

      • Feb 1st, 2011 6:57 PM

        I think the kind of spamming I am more concerned about, Vladimir, is by folks who don't know any better.

        They leave an intelligent comment and then, in their newbie zealousness to build links, they peppered it with some links. I'd love to keep their comment, but not their links - and that's one time when I do like to edit comments.

        By the way, I've been using FB comments on my blog for a while now, so I do believe in their social value.

        I am like you though - kindda like them , but still not convinced.

        My biggest holdback is the fact that I don't own them.

        Side question: I am surprised you are not using SEO Super Comments on your blog - any reason for that?

        Oksana

        • Feb 1st, 2011 7:03 PM

          I've forgot about 'newbie zealousness ' cases - you are right, sometimes I edit out links too.

          I am using SEO Super comments, just a more advanced version ;)

          • Feb 4th, 2011 6:45 PM

            Seems like you've got some good feedback coming your way, Vladimir!

            On a different issue, if I may: I left you a comment regarding your SEO comments plugin, but it doesn't seem you check comments on older posts.

            So I thought I'd try to get through to your via this post. :) Here's the comment I left for you:

            Hi, Vladimir - it's a bit hard to comb through the numerous comments to see if anyone asked you this.

            As I am sure you know, WP seems to noindex all dynamic pages, including the ones your plugin produces.

            I followed your directions to add remove_action('wp_head', 'rel_canonical'); to the functions.php file, but it didn't seem to work.

            Suggestions?

            Thanks!

            Oksana

            PS Thanks for your help!

  15. Jan 27th, 2011 5:50 PM

    Although it is tempting as someone suggested above, I'm inclined to prefer regular WP comment forms both when I post comments and when others comment on my sites.

  16. Jan 27th, 2011 4:45 PM

    While the idea of implementing facebook comments is tempting to help out with the spam issue, I think for some readers, they want a dis-connect from facebook when on the web.

    Sure I have a fb account, but I don't need my entire online presence to be dictated by facebook. Also, I think not everyone is in love with all that fb does.

    I like the fact that I can comment on a site and not have to tie it to my account. Maybe I'm different from others where I don't feel the need to broadcast every thing that escapes my mind to be on the web.

    To put it simply, I think there are many of us who love the Internet, but also like to be "off the grid" on our own terms.

    • Jan 27th, 2011 4:49 PM

      If you want to post anonymously then FB is not for you. Otherwise leaving a comment the normal way will expose your opinion more as these comments get crawled by search engines unlike Facebook comments. Also when you make a comment with FB it does not have to go to your profile, this is optional.

      Not defending, just debating.

      • Jan 27th, 2011 5:29 PM

        Of course I understand and appreciate all the exposure one single comment on facebook could deliver.

        I think the people who really love fb would have no issue at all using the fb system for comments.

        For those of us old enough to remember, Facebook is *seemingly* very close to AOL where they want you to do everything from their platform. I still remember the look on my Mom's face when I showed her Internet Explorer and what the Web looked like outside of the AOL shell...

        I feel like the exact same thing is happening with fb users, (and there's nothing wrong with that) and in time, it is how they will learn to use the web.

        I guess I just like the idea of keeping some aspects of my life offline. Am I an old fart for thinking that way?

        • Jan 27th, 2011 5:55 PM

          Normally I have strong opposition to big corporations that try to 'own' us. One day they might use these comments for something 'evil' but it is most likely they won't.

          We still use and take Gmail for granted despite the fact that we expose to Google more in our emails then we do to FB with a comment on a website.

  17. Jan 27th, 2011 4:38 PM

    I have a Facebook account, that that doesn't mean I want all of my blog comments to be on it. I think one of the biggest draw backs is "you don't own it". If Facebook goes down or who knows what you lose that content. At least when you are hosting it, you keep control.

    I think Facebooks is already becoming to big for its britches. Now you want to let them have your comments, too.

    I'm also not sure I want my profile to be so accessible. So I don't like it. Another blogger friend of mine tried this and I think after his comments almost dropped to 0, he went back to normal comments.

    cd :O)

    • Jan 27th, 2011 4:51 PM

      I do not perceive FB as evil at this point, maybe too naively.

      If you do not want to stand behind the opinion you express in the comment (you 'do not want your profile to be accessible') what is the purpose of commenting then in the first place?

      • Jan 27th, 2011 5:16 PM

        It is quite simple actually. I have no problem defending my comments, but Facebook for me is my personal space and blogging/commenting generally is my business space. They are separate worlds.

        Second, I clicked some of the Facebook profiles on the above and the profile provided access to info I don't necessarily want random people to have access to. I don't want to provide every site where I leave comments access to my friends and personal info that is not relevant or necessary for the conversation.

        • Jan 27th, 2011 5:24 PM

          You can limit what is seen on your profile by people who are not friends (even show nothing).

      • Tesla
        Feb 19th, 2011 5:03 AM

        To ask advice, share an experience, get feedback, etc. There are countless situations where anonymity/privacy is not a bad thing for either site owner or visitor.

  18. Jan 27th, 2011 4:32 PM

    re #7: You *can* style facebook comments. Simply supply your own css file (which is slightly modified, cached and served by fbcdn). You should version it anyway you see fit, so you can control the cache busting easily from your end.

    Just add a css="{path_to_css_file_on_your_server}" attribute to the fb:comments xfbml (or the corresponding iframe element). More info here: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/fbml/comments_%28xfbml%29/

    Adding the css attribute to the code generated by the comments plugin ( http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/comments) "just works" :)

    • Jan 28th, 2011 10:17 AM

      Good tip thanks.

  19. Jan 27th, 2011 7:51 AM

    No facebook account here either. :) And I stay away from external comment systems most of the time. I think they are solutions in search of the problem that take simple comments model and turn into a inconvenient, slow and often bugged JavaScript mess.

  20. Jan 27th, 2011 2:32 AM

    Plugin that combines Facebook comments with Blog comments woud be solution. Can you make one? ;)

    • Jan 27th, 2011 11:56 AM

      I think I made enough plugins already :)

  21. Jan 27th, 2011 1:12 AM

    I suppose everyone reading this blog has the Facebook account already.

    You have a very wrong assumption ;)

    • Jan 27th, 2011 1:13 AM

      That's why I still have the normal comment form :)

  22. Jan 27th, 2011 1:01 AM

    Well, count me as one of the people who don't have FB. But a bigger issue, can you say that the data that is being passed through is secure?

    • Jan 27th, 2011 1:03 AM

      How do you manage it? :)

      There is no data passed through other than your comment text. You are already logged to FB or log in normally to it if needed.

  23. Jan 27th, 2011 12:59 AM

    But does this mean you need a FB account to post a comment?

    • Jan 27th, 2011 1:01 AM

      It does and it doesn't, see point #6