A couple of friends and I started a new online venture right after the first of the year, and one of the features we implemented was to use Google Plus Comments. At the time, it seemed like a decent way to increase our reach. And to be fair, it might accomplish that.
But at what price?
Between the three of us, we had already tried both Disqus and Livefyre commenting and didn’t like the fact that they hijack much of the benefit of on-site engagement. G+, we thought, would be different.
A WTF Moment
So, a couple of hectic weeks later, we finally got a breather and noticed something interesting… and disturbing.
A colleague mentioned that she had left a comment on a post on our site. I happened to be in our backend at the time, and I noticed that her comment didn’t appear in our Comments section. At first, I thought that perhaps she had left her comment on G+, but she assured me that no, it was definitely on our site that she had commented.
So I went to the post itself and things got even more interesting. There were 11 comments displayed on the post, yet in the backend, not a single comment appeared for that post. WTF? I mentioned it to my mates and we decided that some testing was in order, but that if Google Plus Comments was acting just like Disqus and Livefyre, we’d go with the core commenting within WordPress.
As it turns out, it’s even worse! G+ doesn’t just hijack the comment, they pack it up and take it away with them! Laughing all the way, no doubt.
Time for Some Testing
So I left a comment directly on our site, as seen here:
Note that even though this comment was left on our site, next to my name, it says Shared publicly. That seemed odd, so naturally, I clicked on the 3 hours ago and it took me over to Google+, where my comment appeared as a share.
So my first thought was, if I didn’t consciously share it on G+, that must have been done automatically. So there’s probably a configuration option to enable/disable that, right? Wrong! The only meaningful configuration setting is for the comment display width.
Then, I returned to my original line of thought… if people are leaving comments on our site, why the hell aren’t those comments visible in our backend? Why can’t we approve/disapprove them or delete them? Why can’t we edit out foul language or trashy links?
At this point, since my mates are sound asleep in the UK, I decided to go ahead and pull the plug on the Google Plus Comments and revert to the native WP comments. So I deactivated the G+ Comments plugin. and POOF! Every comment on the site disappeared. Whether entered on G+ or on our site, they were GONE!
Reactivating the plugin restores the comments, but NOT my blood pressure! and in the 3 short weeks since we launched, we’ve got over 200 comments that will all be lost by turning off Google Plus Comments! In whose warped, rabid, Mountain View mind was this a great way to promote interaction between sites and G+?
So be warned, my friends… before you decide to use Google Plus Comments on your site, be aware that if someone decides to do some trash-talking, or drop a link to some sites you’d rather not be associated with, you will have absolutely ZERO control over it!
And guess what, Google? Not only will we be eliminating G+ comments from our site, we’ll also be advising everybody we see to do the same. With every update, every new “feature”, you folks are becoming more dangerous to site owners. What ever happened to the “do no evil” mantra?