The blogosphere collective is still reeling after “new marketing” pop guru Seth Godin pulled his comments section. The marketing whizz defended his action with this statement:
"First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning. Second, it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them. And finally, and most important for you, it permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters."
The majority of the community has slated Godin, calling into question his authority as a supposed marketing expert after he has gone back on his original position regarding comments. Joseph Jaffe (aka JaffeJuice) went so far as to call on the rest of the digerati to remove him from their blog roll. Others have taken a more philosophical approach to explore the broader issue: is a blog without comments still a blog? The essence of blogging is its ability to inspire dialogue. A blog with no comments is more like a traditional media vehicle: a one-way authoritative monologue.
On the other hand, comments are a lot of work, and if they are not managed they could reflect poorly on a brand – whether it be a company or a pop idol. Comments are not the only way to open up conversations and interactivity. There’s also trackbacks, pings, tagging, linking and aggregators.
My feeling is that comments are great for the novice or casual web surfer, but as the medium grows more sophisticated early adopter bloggers will embrace other ways to interact. There are no hard rules, as long as there is still a conversation and an interaction, it’s social media.
Interestingly, Godin has left trackback turned on, so it’s possible to monitor the reaction from his readers. So far I’ve counted more than five bloggers that are happy to take on Seth’s comments from him – piggybacking on his celebrity status to raise their own profile. What do you think? Has Godin really irreparably damaged his brand by hitting the mute button? One thing is for sure, he’s certainly had a huge spike in traffic as a result, as Max Kalehoff points out.