News site readers don’t care about comments

This month’s Ad Age/Ipsos Observer American Consumer Survey looked into the impact of comments and other engagement tools for news website. Sixty-three percent of the 1,003 households that took part in the online survey said that adding more tools for engagement would have zero impact on the likelihood that they would visit a news site. Another 13 percent said they would be less likely to visit —meaning nearly two thirds of site visitors are uninterested in having comments, photos and videos from their peers mixed in with the news content from the staff reporters and editors. See survey.

Blogger Anil Dash is very blunt about the impact of comments: “If you run a website, you need to follow these steps. if you don’t, you’re making the web, and the world, a worse place. And it’s your fault. Put another way, take some goddamn responsibility for what you unleash on the world.”

AdAge Blogger Matt Carmichael believes the survey points out how irrelevant anonymous comments are to websites like the Pensacola News Journal and other newspaper sites whose website comments are all-too-often an “ill-informed, venomous echo chamber populated by the same handful of trolls.”

We began moderating comments on this blog three years ago and asked commentators to use their names over 18 months ago. Our website traffic has doubled every year since them and is on track to do it again in 2011. On, we don’t allow any comments on the articles.