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Calling Out Bourne Media Group
I was reading Scott Bourne's Podcasting Tricks today. I frequently read Scott's stuff and I think I've even linked to a few of this entries on Biz Podcasting now and again.

So what's my problem? I noticed today that comments are closed on Podcasting Tricks. Scott is the head of Bourne Media Group which claims that blogs and podcasts are "[the] client-centered communications that your clients request."

My question is: How can communication exist if you won't let people talk to you, Scott?

Scott knows his stuff so I'm ready to believe that he shut off comments in an attempt to curb trackback spam or something. I hope I'm right. Scott?

5 Comments/Trackbacks

Hi Jon. Well it's been a long time since I have been "called out."

In answer to your question, it's simple. PodcastingTricks.com got buried in comment spam long before the site was even popular. I can't imagine what it would be like now that we have some traffic. I simply don't have the time to combat that.

I do allow trackbacks because I have developed a proprietary system to deal with trackback spam. But policing comments is too time consuming for me now. I write for seven blogs and host or produce three podcasts of my own. That's all in addition to the things I do for clients.

Also, I note that other popular bloggers like marketing guru Seth Godin have decided not to allow comments.

Like Seth, if I allow comments, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning. It’s time consuming and takes away from the time I have to research and write new posts. And comments change the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters, carefully choosing each phrase knowing someone will parse every word to infinity. That robs me of my voice and it robs my audience of my true opinions and feelings so because of spam and these other issues, I have decided to eliminate the problem.

I am working on a new system to filter comment spam. If I am successful, I will reconsider my position.

So I have many reasons for my decision. When working with clients, I advise them to use comments or not, based on their goals, their situation and their needs. About half my clients end up accepting comments. The other half have good business reasons for not accepting comments. Ina ny event, I always advise them that "blog nazis" shouldn't be allowed to dictate their policy. Each blogger has to decide how to interact with their audience in a way that's best for them.

In all cases I do think that bloggers should make some contact information available on their blogs. Accordingly, I publish my telephone number, address, and e-mail address in plain site for all to see. As stated earlier, I accept trackbacks/pings. It's hardly difficult to reach me or let me know what you think.

But thanks for your concern. And thanks for reading. Sorry for the long post but being "called out" and all, I decided I should fully defend my position.

Hi Scott,

I knew you'd make it by here sooner or later.

I'm of the school that a blog isn't a blog if it doesn't allow comments. I believe the entire purpose of the blogosphere is to ignite and maintain conversations. Not allowing comments creates a one-way conversation which is a situation that is at odds with new media. Main Steam Media has been having one-way conversations with us since day one.

I consider the time spent responding to comments part of the whole reason I blog and podcast. I enjoy the two-way conversation as it's the only way to gauge how I'm doing in the eyes and ears of my readers and viewers. I too have my telephone number and other contact information clearly indicated on my site. I field an average of 3-5 phone calls per week related to my blogging or podcasting yet I receive 50 or more comments per week. People are far more likely to comment than to call.

Having said that, I have a very acute understanding of the pain involved with comment spam. I use Bad Behaviour on my personal blog to curb comment spam (OK, it actually eliminates it almost completely) but before finding such a great solution I would have to manage 30 or more spam comments per day. I agree that is unproductive time and on occasion I have also had to shut off comments and trackbacks for periods of time. I share your pain in that regard.

I'm glad to know that the reason you shut off comments originally was to curb spam. I'm saddened, however, to learn that you're keeping them off for other reasons.

Oops...I forgot to mention that there are several excellent anti-spam plugins for Wordpress (which is what you're using on Podcasting Tricks). There's probably no need to develop your own solution. Akismet to the rescue!

Thanks for your thoughts Jon. Spam is the main reason I don't accept comments. As for the rest, I am afraid we must have to agree to disagree on the a blog isn't a blog without comments thing.

If your position is that the reason to start a blog is to "ignite and maintain conversations" you'll be glad to know I get 2,000 emails a week, and sometimes more. We get lots of trackbacks. Our toll-free telephone number gets 300 calls a week. For several of our podcasts like the iLifeZone, we have a user forum at MacBreak.com. It's open to anyone. But not having comments sit on top of our blog protects us from spam and from snarky comments that would waste our time.

The bottom line is, we're having plenty of two-way conversations, just not by way of comments.

I have been trying to use Akismet to block spam, but I must have missed something because someone or something found a way around it big time. I have had a programmer working on a custom solution for so long now that I might as well stick with it. I will share the results of that effort if I ever get it to work.

By the way, I have you linked in the PodcastingTricks.com blogroll. And I didn't remove the link, even when you called me out :)

Yup, I realize there are at least two camps on the blog/comment thing. No problem, there.

Strange that you've had issues with Akismet. I no longer use it as I use Drupal for my personal site now, but I still maintain or administer 10 or so Wordpress blogs and I haven't seen much (or maybe even any) spam get through. Did you have your API key in place? It won't function without it...

I noticed that you were linking to Biz Podcasting. I've recently become aware that I can create my own blog roll here on Biz Podcasting, but I've been remiss in doing so. When I do, I'll be sure to put you in there. I like your stuff - we just have slightly different styles :)

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