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May 25, 2017

Is Facebook Free Comments Plugin really Free?

facebook comments not free

Facebook with over 1 billion active users has seen much hate and love from publishers. Facebook offers multiple services and plugins to publishers, luring them with the promise of traffic. Many of these plugins are free, including the much touted free Comments Plugin. But are these really free? Does your website benefit?

As my grandmother taught me early in life, “There is no free lunch!“. If you aren’t paying for it someone else is. Or maybe the form of currency is different. You think you are getting free food but, may be, you are the food! Click To Tweet

facebook comments not free

Facebook is not free. Neither for its users, nor for publishers.

Understanding the Free Comments Plugin

Lets dive a little deep and understand what is Facebook Comments. How does it work? Why does anyone use it, if at all? What are the risks?

Well, first and foremost users use it because it is free. Secondly, the huge number of Facebook users makes it look as a good bet. Facebook introduced the plugin for the publishing sector, targeting websites and blogs.

The hook was that the web-owners would get traffic from the Facebook users. The comments would simultaneously appear both on the blog and the Facebook post. This was expected to boost the blog authority and engagement, as now the posts had larger number of comments.

But Facebook has been known for its shoddy behavior of baiting publishers only to make fools of them later. Instead of increasing traffic and revenue all it does is suck the traffic to its own platform.

 

Let’s understand some of the risks involved under the garb of free product.

1. Login Woes:

A reader can comment on your post only if they are logged onto Facebook. Logins from Twitter and Google which is essentially the other half of the social web are not allowed. Many readers are also vary of showcasing their personal profile in public.

2. No Backup Support:

Lets assume to get the Facebook Comments Plugin on your website because its free. After a few years maybe you decide to shift to some other system. But Facebook Comments has no backup support. This is why you will have to risk losing all the comments. Click To Tweet With no support for backup and migration you are kind of trapped. If you decide otherwise all of that effort goes down the drain.

3. Facebook Blocked!

Many work places do not allow for Facebook usage. You end up losing valuable audience from this segment. They would read your article but wouldn’t be able to comment as Facebook is blocked at their workplace.

Also if you have significant readers from countries were Facebook is banned, you lose out on that audience too.

4. Gaining Traffic. Really?

Facebook Comments promised to deliver better traffic and engagement directed from the social network itself. For a short period of time it might even seem so. But in the longer term its all about Facebook usurping your traffic.

Facebook Comments Plugin not free

The real face of “Free Basics” showed yet again that nothing is free. Least of all from a company that monetizes it’s users’ attention

Facebook is designed to keep the user within its system for as long as possible. That is how it makes money.
So even if somehow the user does land up on your website, your comments system itself lays multiple baits to lure him back to Facebook.

Facebook comments plugin not free

Free Comments Plugin or a Bait?

Maybe the profile picture of someone who commented is attractive and the reader is tempted to check the profile out. He/she is back into Facebook. Maybe someone seems familiar or intriguing the reader wants to know more. He/she is again back into Facebook.

Your whole comments plugin is just a trap to lure the user back into Facebook. Click To Tweet And once the user is gone he/she is rarely coming back again.

5. User friendly?

Many report of Facebook Comments back-end to be quite complicated. Although it has improved a lot since introduction but it still is very messy. It does not provide any way to highlight the author. From manual moderation issues to usability. Lots of woes.

Is the Free Comments Plugin Really Free?

As mentioned earlier nothing is really free. Someone has to pay for it in some form.

Here in this case you are not getting free food, you are the food. Any organic traffic you have had is used by Facebook Comments Plugin to drive it back into its own platform.

The social networking platform is designed to keep the users engaged within it for as long as possible. Consider the necessity for having a Facebook login to comment, it pushes any reader who isn’t on Facebook to first register on the website.

Facebook thrives on its users. The time its users spend on the platform is what it sells to the advertisers and is the main source of its revenue. Any and every product it puts out is aimed at achieving that aim.

So Facebook Comments Plugin is not really free. It might benefit some small time blogger but for any big-time publisher its just a bait.

If you want to utilize the humongous Facebook user base there are many other ways available. This Free comments plugin is not one of those.

Santoshkumar Pandey

Engineer by qualification, content & marketing expert by profession. Meditate, blibliophile & a creative geek.