Real time comments will piss off pro bloggers (at first)

Last week I sat down with Disqus CEO, Daniel Ha. Here’s that video where he explains the new real-time features (among others) that were just turned on this morning. Including on this blog. This means you can comment and “chat” with other commenters without reloading the page.

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Disqus competitor, JS-Kit, and got their view of real-time comments. We were the first site to use their real-time commenting feature, named Echo.

But now it’s clear that there’s a rift coming. See, these features keep you from refreshing the page to participate in comments. That will dramatically reduce the page views, which will reduce the amount they collect from advertisers (I don’t have those problems, cause I don’t have advertising like that on my site).

The thing is, over on building43 we saw engagement increase dramatically. On that post we saw a 10x increase in time spent on page. Overall we’ve seen the time spent on page increase about 3x.

Which shows we need a new way to get paid for advertising. No longer is refreshing the page important. That’s the old way of paying for advertising. The new way? How much engagement you have on the page.

The problem is that the advertisers won’t figure this out for some time. New companies, like Seattle’s Adometry, are coming that will help them figure this out (more later this week when I get a video up from them).

Anyway, it will be interesting to see which publishers choose not to turn on these real-time features. That will tell me who has business models to protect.


  1. First you are dead right about comments driving pageviews – I wrote about this last year and it still holds true today – it's also why some blogs love when they get any kind of comment – it drives at least 1 extra pageview and most times way more as the person returns to see if anyone replies.

    “No longer is refreshing the page important. That’s the old way of paying for advertising”

    When this changes, call me :) I've been saying we need to get away from this since at least 2002 if not earlier – and it hasn't changed. So for now, refreshing the page is important. I will continue to hope it changes.

  2. Page views are not the right metrics. We need a new model that measures engagement. Real-time comments are the ultimate sticky. Unfortunately, a new way of instantaneously banning s p a m junk needs to be robust as well.

  3. pretty sure the whole pay per click internet advertising model is slowly making its way into history .. real time plus everybody everywhere talking to everybody will make the ad game disperse to the point of near invisibility ..

  4. Robert. I vote on real-time embedded comment advertising. Just imagine that as we're reading comments, ads can pop-up in place as the conversation grows (every 5 comments). That would be a unique way and Disqus & Js-Kit could become publishers and sell ad-space, giving bloggers a cut of the profit.

  5. I don't understand this, since when do we get paid for page views on advertising? With Google adsense I only get paid per click, the impressions are tracked but they don't contribute to revenue. I thought this was the standard practice for most advertising models. Or am I understanding it wrong?

    If the concern is that the ads are at the top of the page far away from the comments. Just make your sidebar with ads in a fixed position that scrolls with the page, or something to that effect.

  6. How long before advertisers are jumping into “hot” comment conversations with marketing messages? My guess – it's already happening… bummer.

  7. I hate the page views game. People fighting over comments and Digg links and meme bait need to just go away. It's about quality conversation, content and conversation.

  8. interesting idea there robert… and i understand your logic – the average joe (like me) however, will turn these features on without a thought – and there's many many more of us than those who have page view business models

  9. I like the new Disqus look around this comment, Louis. Realtime commenting is fun. It's amazing how quickly I've come to take all of this for granted. When did FF v2 go live – March?

  10. I like this disqus theme too, but the real-time comments are too 'thick' or tall… works better on FF where you can fit a lot more comments into the same amount of space

  11. sure the solution would be realtime ads, ads that rotate once per minute. Note not flashing ads.

  12. i think commenter need to get paid for commenting on sites like this an making it better; first; i've been programing for 20 years, know more shit than the ceos interviewed; and well… everyone involved in the Web 2.0 debacle should be shot.

    anyway. good luck scoble. you've got a hard job.

  13. 2nd that… but that won't quite that very vocal minority. I wonder how spammers will adapt. They always do.

  14. i could go one step further. what if disqus created a central twitter like page where all comments from all disqus enabled blogs were displayed – allowing you to comment and reply right there. if you think about it all these disqus comments would display well as a twitter-like stream. then they enable search off that stream and visits to the blogs themselves would drop fast.

  15. Robert, another thing i've just been noticing since using the 'new' diqus today is that the comments don't seem to come into my email in the order that they were posted.. maybe i'm wrong here, but it's not nearly as smooth as friendfeed's email notifications.

  16. Page views is the old old way of getting paid for advertising. Google ads have always been click thru driven, though I am guessing that they still drive a lot of metrics from the number of page views.

  17. This seems like the obvious way to continue the old model. Whether we like it or not I expect this to start showing up in “real time” commenting systems soon.

  18. How many people read blogs by going to the web page anyway? How many people go there, comment then continue refreshing the page to read new comments in order to simulate real time type comments? Is this really an issue

  19. No what upsets me off about Disqus is that it breaks the ability to leave trackbacks, the original and most respected form of comment an add on post. It's breaking the blogosphere's most fundamental functionality when there is no need for this if they respected the blog mediums traditions.

    Discus must fix this simple and fundamental shortcoming.

  20. Seems to me that if you want the real-time comments to encourage a “chat like” environment, you'd want the most recent comments to be at the top, so I could see both the comment box and the most recent comments at once. Too much scrolling as is.

  21. I'm glad about the realtime comments and no page re-loading. I just started really looking closer at Disqus yesterday and this is a nice development. I like the idea behind Disqus because I can (kind of) own my comments, or at least have them all in one place. The following features are interesting as well.

    One thing I've noticed with the changes is I can't find the rss feeds for my comments or anyone I'm following.

  22. If you reframe that just a bit and change the word “ad” for “brand (or merchant) interaction” within the activity stream, I think you are unto something (we are building this right now).

  23. As technologies like AJAX get more widespread the “issue” of no more page loads will become more of a problem. Our site (iTrackmine), for example, can't use a metric like pageviews because a user can do nearly everything they need to do from a single page, and spend hours on that one page and never refresh it. So, places like Alexa or Compete think we have no users because we can few pageviews. They are wrong.

    Not only will this “new fangled” AJAX stuff mess with CPM, but also valuations based on pageviews, and assumptions so many investors, bloggers, and outsiders come up with by using an Alexa or Compete-style tools.

  24. As technologies like AJAX get more widespread the “issue” of no more page loads will become more of a problem. Our site (iTrackmine), for example, can't use a metric like pageviews because a user can do nearly everything they need to do from a single page, and spend hours on that one page and never refresh it. So, places like Alexa or Compete think we have no users because we can few pageviews. They are wrong.

    Not only will this “new fangled” AJAX stuff mess with CPM, but also valuations based on pageviews, and assumptions so many investors, bloggers, and outsiders come up with by using an Alexa or Compete-style tools.

  25. I see this issue you mention about AJAX VS. Page Views as an issue that has been going on for a while. It probably is and has been holding the web back, but there is no obvious solution to me yet.

    The overall issue is that while an AJAX interface is much better overall for the user experience, the older, page by page style, is better for advertisers/page views and search engines. For instance, one could make a great snappy AJAX UI that gets and loads data on the fly without page loads (like Disqus now) but the search engines probably wouldn't see much of that data/content. So I think some are holding back on it and what Robert wrote about is an instance of this issue.

  26. @Robert Do you have your social media reactions turned on? If not, then I no longer feel like the only person who has to wait an extremely extended period of time for them to show up in my Disqus stream.

    However, something tells me that YOU DO have them turned off. Hmmmm….

  27. I'm saying this, not as a statement from Disqus, but as a wholly personal opinion:

    There's something traditionally original or respected about trackbacks. People used it before and its value as plummeted in recent years. I can't speak for you, but I don't check out trackback links very often because they're usually just regurgitating that post or a spam repost.

    That said, Disqus supports trackbacks.

  28. another idea, for example on this comment list is to have banner ads to follow the scrolling of the page as viewers like myself read the comments on the site, i get top of mind recall of the banners beside it (right side of the comment thread)… would that work?

  29. If the ads are good enough you should be able to put in a next button in the ad and let your viewer click through the inventory..

  30. Robert, I think that this 'real time' is now the thing that most want to be able to do, don't you? If I set up a WordPress Blog, how do you get these Disqus real time comments to work? (note I am not clever enough to use the downloadable WordPress version, it would just be the Website version

  31. People don't. Bloggers do stay and stare at the new pages, however. ;) It's their addiction.
    What I love most about Disqus is the fact it allows you to comment via email. That's how people who won't ever bother visit your page again might continue being part of the conversation. I'd love to see Disqus implement even IM notifications in v4.

  32. The economics of employing those 'qualified' (meaning sanctioned by the corporation) to address Real Time comments currently does not stack up. You would need Call Centers full of 'press-trained' PR folks ready to give legally watertight responses to sometime ill-thought-out and potentially libelllous comments. This is NOT the way the world is going, look at the recent Wikipedia moves to edit content. For this reason, I think there are some big questions on Real Time Comments as the Next Big Thing (for business, consumer-feedback is another matter..)

  33. Woohoo real time disqus, I feel less worried about being reliant on external social sites, we can chat on each others blog pages. Will update and turn on real time as soon as I'm able. Thanks for the heads up Robert.

  34. Amen to that Louis (I use far too many spiritual statements for a pro faith, no religion sorta guy). It comes down to value derived from a site experience. I want information, entertainment, thought provoking discourse and those activities aren't directly supported by modern web monetization models.

    Sharing, linking, and explaining are natural activities to bloggers, why shouldn't there be ways for them to capitalize on this incredible value given. Most folks I follow don't have ads because it doesn't fit into their vision of their virtual home, “hey come on in for a beer and pretzels but first look at this Pepsi tapestry”.

    Everytime you share something or writeup great documentation on a product or technology I should be able to say thanks, here's a shiny quarter.
    Some potential methods:
    micro payments
    monthly mini subscriptions ($.99 even an option to say hey Louis good job giving us the skinny on things) or
    you put out an ebook every 3months based on your posts & greatest finds

    Anyone who buys in could be afforded greater access or maybe even suggest topics, or just a shiny star next to their names in your comment section to show they support your work.

  35. “Which shows we need a new way to get paid for advertising” – exactly !! The old advertising model is truly dead, for so many reasons. Take a look at what we do as an alternative, maybe even for Building43

  36. Firstly – it really is a shame that publishers have to design the websites around impressions.
    Those fortune magazine style slide shows are not fun from a user perspective.

    Some strange comments: old model of advertising dead? PPC in on it way into history? ???

    I am sure we will see some new ad serving technology to level the playing field.

  37. It is quite possible to channel your emails to IM but that'd be manual work
    on the suer's side which Disqus could eleviate easily (many other services
    provide complex IM bots like the best Yahoo Answers wannabe

  38. Well it will reduce PI but not necessarily visits. And I kept telling my customers that it is the visits that are im portant and noit the PI (and that number iof RSS subscribers is a purely fictional value ;) )

  39. Well, isn't it more about who clicks on the ad and goes to that ad placer's page, not how many times the page gets refreshed? It's the clickthrough, no? I'm not getting this.

  40. Technogran, there are a number of “push button” WordPress hosts out there, which makes things easy.

    Whether Disqus would be your best choice for a commenting system is another thing. I use Disqus, and there is one or two things which erk me about it.

  41. Actually Windows live messenger use this technology. ButIt is a program. I didn't know how work on web pages.
    I have a question.
    Is it a plugin or a script?

  42. Well, so nice post, haah! Your mind helps me so much! I'm not sure if you mind the thing I'll do here. Im an online seller for the Timberland shoes, Gucci shoes, Prada shoes and Gucci bags, Coach bags, Prada bags, and the pretty Adidas sunglassess, D&G sunglasses , Dior sunglasses are my products also. Alright, seems I have to make the apology for my MLB jerseys, NFL jerseys, NBA jerseys, NHL jerseys, they are the most hot items on my sites, are u interest in them?

  43. Disqus comments system is very convenient, I think it will be become the first comments system in the netwaork, more good than others…:) do you think it ,Scobleizer ??

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