For those of you who read my rather recent post entitled 10 Reasons I Have Switched To Livefyre, you might consider me rather impulsive. But the fact of the matter is, after having considered my options, I honestly believe that the standard WordPress comments system is the best solution for my blog.
There is no doubting the quality of what Livefyre has to offer. And their customer service is astonishing (almost good enough to make me keep using their system as a matter of principle). But it just doesn’t quite click with me.
I am going to start this post by addressing each of the 10 reasons I originally switched, and explaining the individual reasonings behind my change of heart. Then I’m going to give you an overview as to why I am delighted to be moving back to the standard WordPress comments system.
10 Reasons Livefyre Isn’t For Me
I should make something clear up front – this post isn’t intended to be a damning indictment of Livefyre. Quite the opposite in fact – I would recommend it to people with complimentary requirements, and will happily rave all day about how awesome the guys at Livefyre are. This is just an overview of why it doesn’t suit my needs.
If you haven’t yet read my original Livefyre post, you may want to do so before you proceed, in order to give the following some context.
1. Comments Consolidation
Livefyre has a feature that sounds pretty badass in principle – it can pull related content from your Facebook and Twitter accounts directly into the comments stream. In reality, it wasn’t quite as awesome as I thought.
The algorithm that chooses what tweets and Facebook comments should be included seems rather faulty to me. Check out this comment stream from a recent post:
Not exactly a fascinating exchange, is it?
To be honest, I think this feature is overly ambitious – it would take near-human levels of reasoning to determine what items should and shouldn’t be included, and even then, it would be a subjective decision. Livefyre themselves admitted that integrating only the “correct” items is “a tough nut to crack”. That nut is yet to be cracked, in my opinion.
This is a great feature, but not one that I will miss. In fact, I haven’t actually used it. You can achieve the same result by simply tweeting someone a link to the post or specific comment location, so it’s not like this feature is performing miracles.
3. Real Time Commenting
Again, I consider this a great feature, but just not something that encourages me to stay with Livefyre. It belongs in the “nice to have, but not game-changing” category.
In my conversation with Jeremy, who works for Livefyre, he was quick to point out that the real time commenting system is not for all blogs:
We think it adds another dimension to conversation that, at any point you could have a static conversation turn into a live chat. Or, you can host live discussions for a second screen experience from everything from award shows to sports events. If you’re using Livefyre as purely a comment catcher, and that’s it, you may not appreciate the real-time nature of it as much as…sites who are always hosting live discussions. It’s vital to their community dynamic.
Fair points, but whilst real time commenting may be vital for some bloggers, it certainly isn’t for me.
I miss the Comment Reply Notification plugin, and am looking forward to being reunited with it. It just worked, and I didn’t have to second-guess whether or not commenters were being informed of replies. I am still not entirely sure how the notification system works across different login types and so on – it’s all just a bit too complicated.
5. Multiple Sign In Options
I actually see this feature as a big detractor. With the standard WordPress comments system, you enter your name and an email address and you’re on your way. You know exactly what information you are sharing with the blog.
With Livefyre, they want you to hand over access to a social media account, or create a whole new Livefyre account if you are unwilling. I am pretty sure this is considered too onerous by some. I want commenting on my blog to be as easy and straightforward as possible, and I think that the WordPress system is just that.
6. Post Promotion
This is an easy one – you can replicate this feature with a plugin such as Comment Luv. It is not a selling point that is unique to Livefyre, and therefore doesn’t compel me to stay.
7. Comments Sharing
Meh. Just meh.
I am still very doubtful as to whether Livefyre’s method of allowing comments to be crawled by search engines is in any way beneficial to rankings, and such a feature is not going to convince me to stay.
9. Spam Protection
Since I implemented Livefyre, a couple of spammy comments have got through, but none have been held back. So whilst this has perhaps been an improvement, it is not compelling enough to convince me to stay.
10. “Awesome” Moderation Features
Well, I was just plain wrong about this. Replying to comments with Livefyre is an absolute nightmare. I made a point of how easy WordPress’ backend comments management feature is to use in a recent ManageWP post - Livefyre by contrast is extremely testing. I can’t wait to get back to my old ways.
In Livefyre’s defense, they are working towards building a better system for full integration with WordPress’ comments management feature, but my understanding is that it is something that is distant on the horizon, rather than just around the corner.
The Grass Is Greener…
As soon as I have hit “Publish” on this post, I am going to get the standard WordPress comments system set up again. Here is what I am looking forward to:
- Easy commenting (no logging in required)
- Backlinks are back! You’ll all get your SEO juice
- Hopefully, the botch formatting job Livefyre did of old comments will be reversed
- Emoticons are back! (Guilty pleasure)
- Notifications are made simple again – you leave a comment, someone responds to it, you get an email.
- Freedom to customize the design. I may not actually do anything, but at least the choice is there.
- Extensibility. There are 101 plugins that can make your comments system do clever things – I will be installing a few of my favorites.
What Do YOU Think?
I’d love to get your feedback on this. If you are a blogger, which comments system do you use? Do you think I am right to leave Livefyre and go back to my commenting roots? Let me know in the comments section!