The Bivings Report is built in WordPress, which comes with a robust commenting system out of the box. Due to this, I’ve very rarely looked at third party commenting systems like Haloscan. I haven’t really had a comment problem so there was no need to experiment with these third party tools.

But I recently set up a personal blog on Tumblr, which does not have commenting built in due to its reliance on reblogging instead (which is cool). I wanted people to be able to comment on my blog so I spent the ten minutes it takes to integrate Tumblr with the third-party tool Disqus. (Check out Fred Wilson (A VC) or Dave Winer’s blog for good examples of the tool in action).

Here is a quick breakdown of what I see as the pros and cons of Disqus after playing with it for a few months:


  1. Disqus is a great tool for those who want a robust commenting tool but aren’t using Content Management Systems with good internal tools built in (so folks who have flat HTML sites, homegrown CMS products, etc.).
  2. Disqus has full featured tools like threaded discussions and comment rating out of the box. These tools can certainly be added to systems like WordPress, but it takes a bit of work.
  3. It is great for commenters. I probably leave a comment or two a day on various blogs. These comments are spread out all over the Internet and aren’t tied together in one place – so in other words they aren’t read very much. Disqus allows me, as a commenter, to create a profile on the site and aggregate all the comments I make using Disqus in one place. You can check out Fred Wilson’s profile here for an example of how this works.
  4. For publishers, Disqus creates a central, message board style page, where people can view all the discussions taking place about your various blog posts. Here is the page for the A VC blog.
  5. This is a bit speculative, but it makes sense that Disqus could help in battling comment spam. As a centralized, hosted service it seems like it might be able to fight spam better than WordPress or Drupal. Akismet does a good job for WordPress, but here on The Bivings Report we are fighting an ongoing battle against comment spam. Once again though, this is speculation and I don’t know if it is true. Anyone had any experience?
  6. Disqus allows you to export you comment data as an XML file if you decide to stop using the service.


  1. There is no way currently to import comments from systems like WordPress. This is a complete deal breaker for us in using Disqus on The Bivings Report, as we don’t want to lose all our historical WordPress comments and end discussions that are taking place already.
  2. The Bivings Group hosts all our site on our own hosting infrastructure, so we have backups and direct access to the database tables where all our comment data is stored. I’d be nervous to rely on a third party tool for this critical functionality on a mission critical website (which we consider The Bivings Report to be).
  3. I don’t think there is currently a compelling reason for publishers using the commenting tools on CMS systems like WordPress or Typepad to switch. I don’t see enough benefits yet. I think most publishers will only switch once Disqus reaches critical mass where the commenter profile really adds value because so many sites are using the tool. Currently, I only come across Disqus occasionally on sites using Tumblr and a few tech blogs. I think most publishers are going to take a wait and see approach to it.

In summary, I really like Disqus. I think right now it is a great tool for personal bloggers and those predisposed to using a third party tool. It has the potential to become ubiquitous (like Feedburner is for RSS at this point). But in order to achieve widespread use I think Disqus is going to have to provide publishers with more compelling reasons to make the switch than they are now.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.