Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bug Reports & Feedback: Disqus installation didn't work on Blogger / Discuss Disqus

My Report:

"I followed the instructions to install Disqus on a blog which I just set up on Blogger (blogspot.com). When I got to the point at which I was supposed to find this line

<b:widget id='HTML1' locked='false' title='Disqus' type='HTML'>

I ran into an immediate problem: the line in question did not exist. Your installation directions did not work. This might be because a few years ago, the team at Google redid their system in a way that hides much of the HTML for one's blog because, neener, neener, they could and wanted to show the users who was boss.

You guys are just going to need to re-work the installation directions or accept that people aren't going to be using Disqus on new Blogger blogs. Please get on this. Thank you."

A comment of mine in the discussion that followed:

"Cue the crickets, I guess. (laughs, sadly) Blogger is the second most popular blogging platform on the planet. I'm not sure who the first is. Tumblr? Here we have a report that the install directions are completely failing for blogs on that service, because of a change in coding that happened a few years ago, meaning that it has been failing for all of that time. One would think that this would be a priority, but listen to the silence from the company. It isn't.

I was going to ask if Disqus even wanted to stay in business, when I asked myself (just now) how the company was even managing to make money. Take a look at our comment pages - no ads, which seems like plain, pure foolishness, because one needn't even have a staff to get advertising revenue off of a page. Even if one has no other options, one could install AdSense and get 50% of the ad revenue, which is better than nothing and so easy to get that individual bloggers have been known to make money this way, but Disqus doesn't even do that. Yet they're paying people to be on their staff, so where was the money coming from for that?

I found this reply from Daniel Ha, identified as a co-founder of Disqus.


Quoting Mr. Ha:

"Disqus makes money through a premium service called Disqus VIP, targeted exclusively at very large networks (sites include CNN, The Telegraph, IGN, Fox).

We plan to continue with premium services and extending it to different sizes of websites in the very near future."

Get the picture? As free users, we're not seen as being customers in any sense, because Disqus doesn't want to bother to try to make money off of traffic. Disqus was pretending to serve us, only to get us to install their product on our sites in order to give them free advertising, in order to attract the attention of the people running those "very large networks." Now that they have that attention, Disqus couldn't care less about the experience the suckers who installed their product as free users are going to have.

How lovely, but not really atypical, I suppose. The attitude that content creation is not real work seems to be common throughout the Internet. Perhaps by showing that it doesn't give a damn about the individual blogger, Disqus helps to do him a favor (however unintentionally) by discouraging him from blogging in the first place. If the people to whom we'd have to entrust our data have no respect for us or what we do, how safe would our content be on any of these services, anyway?

Maybe we should just see the Internet as a promising sounding idea that was killed by corporate greed, arrogance and stupidity, and move on. Talking to people who are far better established as bloggers than I am, I hear that even successful blogs will get maybe seven hits per day for a while, and then have to move because some crank flagged them and the support staff didn't want to deal with any drama. If, on the other hand, I take something I wrote to the open mike at the Green Mill on Sunday, I can get at least a hundred people in the audience (even in mid-winter), with no censorship of any sort taking place.

Which sounds like a better deal?"

An uncomfortably good question, I'm afraid.