It was once accepted wisdom that blogs should allow and encourage comments. But a lot has changed, and blog comments can create some reputation management issues that are worth staying aware of.
Comments can get nasty. Really nasty.
You’d think that a nasty comment would mostly reflect on the person leaving the comment, especially if you don’t choose to feed the troll by replying.
Unfortunately, comments can impact how your blog post is perceived. And that can ultimately impact how readers view you and your company.
The New York Times reported on this so-called “nasty effect” earlier this year.
Comments from some readers…can significantly distort what other readers think was reported in the first place.
In a study published online last month in The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, we and three colleagues report on an experiment designed to measure what one might call “the nasty effect.”
…Simply including an ad hominum attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.
There’s also an SEO risk. Blog comments appear in search results. Depending on the search term they may rank higher than the actual post. If that comment is a “nasty” one, another user may develop an opinion about your company simply by reading the rich snippet, even though the comment may not even be aimed at you.
If you do decide to keep comments, consider exercising some tight and judicious moderation. Create a commenting policy, and ruthlessly eliminate any comment that violates the policy.
After all, a blog visitor is a guest on your property. And you don’t have to put up with guests who act badly if you don’t want to!
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