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February 23, 2017

Vuukle vs Disqus: The Fight for Better User Engagement

Vuukle vs Disqus User Engagement Plugins Comparison

It is no secret that I work for Vuukle. I get paid to do a job. But when my job is to compare Vuukle vs Disqus :: the small guy vs the leader of commenting platforms, it becomes hard. I cannot outright bash Disqus because it was a clever product when it arrived. And, we have to admit that we have taken an occasional inspiration from them and worked hard to improve upon that. That disclaimer aside, I will do an honest comparison and, to underscore that, will henceforth refer to Vuukle in third person.

Case for Disqus: Hat tip to the Big Daddy

Disqus is the market leader. They power the commenting widget on more than a million websites. For most of the internet, they are still the best way to build an audience. If you have ever run the native comments on WordPress or others, you will quickly drown under a torrent of spam comments trying to sell you everything from Viagra to fat loss to SEO. Marking them as spam accomplishes nothing. Disqus, when it first arrived, offered a 3rd party comments system to host your comments for you and protect you against spam.

Community

Over the years, Disqus evolved into a collection of tools to engage your users. The most important of their innovations was powering a community of readers with shared interests. However, one could argue that this is not of any benefit to you cause the community link takes them to Disqus site, probably to never come back.

Analytics

Disqus Pro dashboard has interesting analytics features to capture and understand how readers are interacting with your articles. This is well-designed with a clean UI. But the Pro plan comes at a customized cost depending on how big you are.

Data Ownership

Disqus is fairly transparent that you own your comments data. You can easily export your comments out of Disqus whenever you want. This is something that is not well documented at Vuukle (if you email their support they will do it, of course)

Ad Monetization

Disqus has a native Ad network where they invite advertisers to join. They also source cheap Ads from various other Ad networks. This could translate to money for you but understand your readers first. Disqus does not give any tool to monitor if you are pissing off your readers.

The Bad and the Ugly in Disqus

Overall, Disqus is a good product and most people I know will gladly pay a small fee even for their free tools.

Things are not all hunky dory, though. Many readers hate Disqus with a passion. Some of them will never bother with Disqus. The main complaints against Disqus are all related to signing in and social login. The sign-in is a huge hassle. Compared to that, Vuukle sign is a breeze. Several people have privacy issues with social login and are unable to manage multiple identities as Disqus ends up merging them all.

Case for Vuukle: Can the small guy deliver?

Vuukle may be the David in this battle but it does enter the ring with an impressive resume. Big names in the digital media industry like NBC-2, KEYC, Khaleej Times, First Post, The Hindu, India Today are powered by Vuukle. With 1+ billion monthly pageviews and 100+ million monthly uniques, Vuukle is not that small. Not surprisingly, Vuukle did punch above its weight class in 2016.

Vuukle is smaller than Disqus in size but what they lack in size, they more than make up in speed and power.

Where does Vuukle fall short?

Keeping my promise to remain unbiased, here is my beef with Vuukle as a product. I have installed Vuukle on various clients’ websites. As the owner of a marketplace for bloggers and a small online news aggregator website I have come to appreciate a few issues with Vuukle. All these issues don’t matter to medium-sized or big publishers. But for the small blog, they could be critical.

1. Google does not crawl Vuukle comments. In an earlier version, they posted the comments on their website with a canonical tag and dofollow link to your website, but, sadly, that is not in place anymore. It should not matter if you are big publisher with plenty of SEO going on for you. But for a small guy, every drop counts.

2. Vuukle made a platform for the big guy, publishers who absolutely hate the smell of spam. To prevent that Vuukle went a little overboard and quietly removes all links in the comments. No country for genuine links.
Edit: I am told this is being made an option in the settings panel.

3. Vuukle does not email the site owner when a new comment is posted. It does email the commenter when the comment goes live or gets a reply. However, you can email Vuukle if you want this default behavior changed and they will be happy to oblige.

The Final Showdown: Vuukle vs Disqus

Time to Load Widget: Speed Comparison

We compared Vuukle vs Disqus widgets on the top 18 browsers and operating systems. We set up a test bench on Browser Stack and measured the time to load down to a millisecond. Vuukle won this round hands down. Their widgets loaded, on an average, 55% faster. They don’t lie when they claim that their widgets are some of the fastest in the world.

Usability Comparison

Vuukle vs Disqus 250% growth in comments

Over 250% growth in comments per month

Vuukle user interface is frictionless and has increased commenting immediately by around 35-40% on publishers that have migrated from Disqus. Over time, thanks to engagement features in Vuukle platform, this increase could climb as high as over 250%

Recommendation Engine

If you have been seeing random “stories recommended for you” at the end of a page without even the slightest semblance to what you are interested in, that is an example of a recommendation engine gone wrong.

Vuukls vs Disqus Over 300% growth in page views

Over 300% growth in monthly page views

Vuukle recommendation engine, dubbed “Talk of the Town”, uses machine intelligence algorithms to analyze billions of user interactions. These include clicks, scrolls, pauses, comments, votes, reactions, both personal and global. Using this, it is able to deliver the precise set of stories that a reader likes most. Consequently, Vuukle delivered a 300% increase in the average user session time for 2 of the biggest online news publishers in India.

So who wins in Vuukle vs Disqus?

In conclusion, Disqus is an old and mature product that serves bloggers and small-time publishers rather well. Their analytics is top-notch, UI design is okay and spam protection is rock solid. However, if you are serious about advertising revenue then Vuukle is the new kid on the block who will help you score a home-run. Websites that have millions of monthly page views (where every millisecond of extra load time adds up) simply cannot afford to ignore Vuukle. Finally, Vuukle employs cutting-edge big data and AI technologies to increase your average user session time which translates to direct dollar.