If you have a company blog, you may also have the Disqus commenting platform powering it. But now the company is testing a new feature – Disqus sponsored comments. And it is getting a very mixed response from users.
Disqus Sponsored comments – both text and graphic based – will be a way of introducing advertising not to the main part of a page or post, but instead next to a comment hosted on Disqus. According to the company, ads won’t be placed next to just any comment. Instead, they will be placed in the same area as what Disqus calls a “featured” comment – pinned to the top of the thread.
A featured comment is one which the publisher feels is good, insightful, well written, adds to the conversation, whatever. The publisher pins it to the top of the thread to give it more exposure.
The sponsored comment can be upvoted or downvoted, just like any other Disqus comment. The brand behind the comment will initially be able to target sites in their particular market. So Nike can target sports sites or shoe sites. Vodafone can target cellphone sites, that sort of thing.
However, according to Digiday, one troubling aspect of the whole idea is that the brand will be able to moderate the feedback on their sponsored comment. So any critical ones will naturally be hidden from view.
Disqus says it feels running ads alongside the featured comment does not disturb the conversation, and puts the ad at the beginning “like movie previews.” In other words, it’s not what you are there to see, but it’s something extra to benefit from.
The new ad feature is being portrayed as both a way for brands to engage in conversations they want to be a part of. It’s also a way for publishers to make money off of their social engagement.
Techcrunch says that Disqus will have a dedicated team to moderate all sponsored comments, to ensure quality. Publishers can also set up their own filters. And those who really don’t want to participate can turn the ads off on their site.
However, this has not placated some rather annoyed users who have taken to the Disqus comment thread to voice their displeasure. As one commenter sarcastically pointed out, “I can’t WAIT to read more about that cousin that makes 2000 dollars a week on the internet.”