Facebook Comment Widget: Quick Review

do you have a facebook yet?

do you have a facebook yet?

Last night Facebook launched their Comment Box which at first glance doesn’t look too amazing. But, there are some hidden nuggets (both gold and fools gold) that need to be dug out and examined a little. I’m not going to go in depth here, but I did want to skim the surface and say why I almost – but inevitably couldn’t – switch over to the new Facebook Comment Box for comments on my sites.

Why did they create a comments box?

Let’s be honest here. It’s because they want your content. Their recent fit of insanity which compelled them to release a TOS which uniformly gave them all rights to your content forever. They did recant from that heresy pretty quickly, but still. It’s like saying “you’re ugly…. just kidding, no offense.” They showed their hand and it’s indicative of something else going on.

What’s great about using the Facebook comments box?

Obviously, I already have comments enabled here, so it’s not about that. But, there is one huge benefit to using the Facebook comments box. It’s obviously not the comments themselves. It’s marketing. We all want to have our content spread into more places. The more pervasive our content is, the more we’ll gain in influence. Influence begets influence.

Why I won’t be using the Facebook comments box (yet)

I won’t be using it (yet) because the comments on a blog help with SEO positioning and I have a thing about relational data. When someone comments on a post of mine, I want to keep those comments for myself. It’s the same reason I didn’t use Disqus or the other comment widget providers out there.

I would love to use it for the marketing purposes, so if there were a way to sync the data (and for my blog to keep ownership of my copy of the comment), then I’d be all over it. I love the marketing power, expanded influence into one of the largest social networks in the world, and potentially the SEO (if somehow the link shows up in an SE indexed page). But, right now, the con outweighs the pros. I just can’t give away the content.

Uh oh…

One last note on this development is my belief that Facebook has effectively surpassed Disqus and others. I’m sure by usage they haven’t yet as it hasn’t even been 24 hours since the release. But, mark my ASCII, they will.

I’m not a believer in the “[x] killer”. There can definitely be many services that do similar things in the same space. I just think Disqus has proven that people like to have one login and web property owners are ok with giving up those comments to others under the right conditions. With those two items, Facebook just poised itself to trash Disqus growth considerably. The only thing Disqus has on Facebook right now is that they actually do allow for synchronization of comments. So, to each their own.

What do you think?

So, that’s my review. But, I’m curious what you think about all this? I know I didn’t hit on everything, so feel free to add points and counter points in the comments below.


Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

11 Comments on "Facebook Comment Widget: Quick Review"

  1. Chris Saad says:

    Nate regarding your desire to maintain SEO credit for your comments while still using a 3rd party commenting service is addressed by JS-Kit here: http://wiki.js-kit.com/Admin-Guide#SearchEngineOptimizationSEOSupport

    The short version is that JS-Kit allows you to set things up so you get all the SEO juice for your site.

    Also, While FB’s comment widget is interesting, I think it falls far short of stepping on Disqus or JS-Kit’s toes.

    You can read more about my thoughts on it here on the JS-Kit blog: http://blog.dataportability.org/index.php/2009/01/forget-open-standards/

  2. Nice job Nate, you showed up 2nd when I searched “facebook comment widget”

  3. nate says:

    Chris, I appreciate the talk about JS-Kit, but honestly, why? I read through the FAQ and I talked with Disqus and others early on in their development about this kind of widget (commenting systems specifically). On sites that don’t have them, I get it. But on blogs and other systems that have them baked in already, there’s really no point. The added features don’t really convince me that I need to switch to another commenting system.

    Mike, thanks for letting me know. That’s kinda cool. :)

  4. Chris Saad says:

    @Nate no problems Nate, sometimes it takes a little explanation.

    The advantage for commenting systems these days (on sites that have comment systems already) is multi-facited.

    For example our system has Threaded conversation, multiple logins (FB Connect, OpenID and more on the way), email notification (you can actually reply to the email and it ends up on the thread!) advanced moderation features, picture attachments etc.

    More importantly, though, as users leave comments around the web, they are populating their user profile. This profile follows them around our 600,000 registered sites leaving links back to your posts everywhere they go. This means more traffic for you.

    Hope this helps to clarify some of the value props of a system like JS-Kit comments.

  5. nate says:


    I’m not that concerned with (and I haven’t heard much of a rumble about) logging in, threaded conversations being that much better (if they are at all) than flat, attachments, avatars, etc. The email reply feature is nice though.

    What I am interested in, though, is how a person leaves a comment on my site, that leaves links back to my post everywhere they go. Could you explain that a bit more?

    (I suppose if I had attachments available you could post a diagram… but I suppose you’re probably also savvy enough to use HTML too. :) )

    Thanks for making this conversation better.

  6. Chris Saad says:

    Haha – yes if only I could add attachments.

    Instead, I have uploaded a slideshow to slideshare that might help explain: http://www.slideshare.net/ChrisSaad/js-kit-network-effects

    Would love your ideas/feedback about this from a publisher perspective.

  7. nate says:

    Yea, that slide deck doesn’t really explain anything more in depth. It’s 9 slides and doesn’t help.

  8. Chris Saad says:

    Doh haha.

    Which part is unclear :)

    Check out http://www.js-kit.com/comments and click on the avatars in the demo comments. You will see the visitor profile.

    Each one has comment history in it. So as people comment on your blog, and then others, your links appear across our 600,000 registered sites. We will also soon start pushing the comments into Facebook, Google and other social networks for you!


    • nate says:

      I see. But since the search engines don’t index JS-created content, it doesn’t really help with the SEO.

  9. I looked into using both JS-kit and Facebook and I think they are both great ideas.

    In addition to the SEO issues, The major problem that I have with both is that I want to control my own data and not be at their mercy.

    That being the case,I ultimately decided to roll my own. Not as quick and easy, but I will be the one in control.

  10. mmm says:

    That being the case,I ultimately decided to roll my own. Not as quick and easy, but I will be the one in controlmmmm

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