In the “digital will eat everything” world of today, online publishers need to double check on 3rd party technologies they use. Especially, if the said product is coming from the “biggest media company” which does not produce a cent’s worth of content. This is a critical review of Facebook Comments Plugin and I will acknowledge the elephant in the room. If you are not careful, Facebook and its plugins will suck your website visitors into the black hole of social network, never to return them back.
Facebook comments plugin lets your followers comment directly on the posts and content on your website via their Facebook account. This apparently increases “engagement” yet it is essential to analyse what happens as a net effect.
The plugin also allows the users to share their comment activity with others on Facebook wall. This may sound like it works to your advantage but does it really?
How Facebook Comments Plugin will Kill Your Online Publishing Business
Firstly, it sucks in terms of looks. The worst part is, you hardly have any control over how it looks.
Publishers have faced situations where Facebook Comment System did not show up at all on their website. And sometimes, even if it appears, it does not work. Also, there are times when it does not display the comments and replies due to which people keep resubmitting their comments assuming it did not register. But, later it will show the same comment posted “N” number of times in a row.
Now, this may not be such a bad thing for a yuppie tween on the FB page of Justin Bieber but imagine the same on New York Times’ website. Not pretty, right?
Secondly, FB plugin notification system is really awful. Unlike Facebook notifications that keep flooding your mail inbox for every silly comment or message, it does not guarantee to send you any notifications about the comments, replies, and shares of your content. Clearly, they don’t care as much about people commenting on your website as they do on their own pages. Poor notification leads to poor user engagement.
Moreover, the plugin slows down the loading of your web page to great extent. If you think that FB will invest notable resources into the servers that run the comment plugin, then you are wrong. FB comment plugin is notoriously slow to load.
Integrating with Facebook does not mean a flawless user experience. The first thing that strikes the users is login. Many users are reasonably hesitant to use Facebook for any purpose other than networking with family and friends. It instantly discourages many people from commenting. Techcrunch famously drove away most of its commenters when it tried FB comments plugin.
- It does not support Twitter and Google IDs, thereby leaving a greater half of the Web audience.
- The plugin does not offer any backups for comments unlike platforms like Vuukle. The comments get stored on Facebook servers instead of your site.
- There are numerous workplaces where Facebook is blocked, in such instances you are handicapped.
- It may be an unpleasant surprise for your friends to see their replies on your Facebook post reproduced on some other website.
- It does not even show the view counts at the top of your posts.
- You don’t get any SEO benefit because the comments chain is not visible on your site, and the Facebook comments are not visible in SERP.
Some Misconceptions About Facebook Comments Plugin
1. Creates viral trend
Though it is considered that the comments plugin is helpful in creating virality, yet if you consider the bounce rate of Facebook referral traffic then you’ll need to think twice.
2. Generates high traffic
Initially, may be, if you are a small fish. For big online publishers, however, the traffic flow is net negative. FB sucks your website visitors into its darkest underbelly, never to spit them out. This is because loyal users who form the basis of returning traffic are built by regular direct interaction on website , rather than just by random clicks on any link on FB.
3. Good communication platform
Well, when people use Facebook for commenting, you don’t gain any customer data on your website. It is not wise to use Facebook as a commenting platform for business websites as it may cause more harm to it than good. Facebook has no custom API or data points for any enterprise as well.
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