Disqus Introduces Sponsored Comments For Publishers, Brands

disqus sponsored comments

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.

disqus sponsored comments

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.”

Image: Disqus


Mark O'Neill Mark O'Neill is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering software and social media. He is a freelance journalist who has been writing for over 25 years, and has successfully made the leap from newspapers and radio onto the Internet. From 2007-2013, he was the Managing Editor of MakeUseOf.com.

10 Reactions
  1. Thanks for this information.

    I use Disqus…have for years.

    I’m not sure if I like this idea. Another distraction? I guess it depends how the sponsored comment aligns with my readers.

    The Franchise King®

    • Same here. Comments should be authentic. Crafted comments are like fake testimonials if you’ll ask me.

  2. Yes, but like Facebook, they have to make money. So both Facebook and Disqus are finally getting serious about their advertising strategies. Nothing is for free in life – you get what you pay for.

    • Martin Lindeskog

      Mark: I agree with you. TANSTAAFL! 😉 I wonder how this move will pan out. It could be only me, but I think that I have seen hick-ups with Disqus lately when I have seen the comment feature on several blogs lately. How is the competition holding up, e.g., Livefyre, intensedebate (WordPress / Automattic), CommentLuv? Do you think this is the opportunity for Google+ to stand out in the commenting service crowd?

      • I haven’t thought very much of the competition to be honest. I have had problems with all of them at one stage or another. The only one that works as advertised is the Facebook commenting plugin.

  3. What I don’t understand is why doesn’t Disqus simply allow ads within the comment sections of participating clients instead of having these “Sponsored comments” which I am assuming is supposed to look like actual comments. Why the deception?

    • I agree. But I guess they want to do that to increase conversions. But the ad interferes so much with user experience.

  4. Martin Lindeskog

    Mark: It will be interesting how this action by Disqus will pan out. I think that Google+’s commenting feature, will be a strong contender in the long run. Although it is a debate on who is owning the data (comments)…