Reader Comments: Quality vs Quantity

Allowing readers to comment on your articles is a great way to gauge interest and reactions, and many publishers find that their most popular stories also have the most comments. However, a growing trend in the digital publishing world is to restrict comment sections to registered users or paid subscribers. recently touched on the subject in an article titled, “‘Growing the number isn’t always the key’: How publishers approach comment strategies.”

“After five months of researching the behaviors of people who comment, The Wall Street Journal has switched its strategy, restricting commenting to paying members only and tightening the number of articles people can comment on. This change has improved the quality and frequency of conversation, sparked editorial ideas, and attracted younger people to join in.” –, 5/29/19

In a world where anybody can be anybody on the internet, it is helpful to know that the people you’re conversing with online have identified themselves and are paying customers. Not only does the change help provide more of a community-feel to the discussions taking place on articles, but it also helps to drive reader retention by providing incentive to own an account.

“Growing the number [of comments] isn’t always the key,” said Gustav Hjärn, founder and CEO, Ifrågasätt, which provides commenting services to 29 newspapers in Sweden and Finland. It’s a case of value over volume. “You have to understand the value for the customer; it’s not always the people who write the comments but the value the readers have in reading it.” –, 5/29/19


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