Disqus is one of the most popular commenting systems out there. However, ZetaGlobal acquired Disqus in 2017 that changed its path. ZetaGlobal is a data-powered marketing technology company that “loves data”. So, they started using Disqus to collect data from millions of users around the world who visit websites that use Disqus as the commenting platform. Because of the “apparently free” pricing plan, Disqus had millions of websites using it, which made their data set the largest on the web. Disqus has lost a lot of users in recent times due to these privacy concerns, and there are plenty of reasons to remove Disqus. This blog post sums up 19 reasons why you should move away from Disqus.
Reasons to Move Away From Disqus
1. Disqus places Ads on your Website
If you are using the free plan of Disqus, they place ads on your website. This results in increased page load times, which will hurt your on-page SEO. It is also a bad experience for your users. Disqus seems to be crashing every party without any invitation.
2. Disqus places Affiliate Links on your Website automatically
Let’s say one of your commenters mention “buy a camera on Amazon” (without links). Disqus will detect this and place a link from Amazon on this anchor text. When someone clicks this link and buys a product, Disqus will receive a commission.
Disqus makes money from your content.
3. Disqus is Owned by a Data/Marketing Company
Most publishers think Disqus is a standalone company, which empowers social conversations on websites. Wrong! It is owned by a company called ZetaGlobal where your visitors become the product. Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg said in 2014, “We’re tracking everyone who visits a website with Disqus enabled and building a profile on them based on the content of the sites they visit and any comments they leave. “Deeper” than Facebook.” This just says it all, doesn’t it?
4. Disqus sells your Visitors’ Data without their Consent and has Violated GDPR
Disqus collects users’ data from millions of their client websites. Worst of all, they sell them to big companies without the user’s consent. Their data.disqus.com website says their clients include companies like Twitter. This twitter thread by Martin Gundersen reveals more information about their data selling. He calls Disqus a “Data Machine”.
5. You are already Paying Disqus even when you Use the Free Plan (Spoiler: Your visitors are the products)
As I mentioned earlier, the free plan isn’t free. You help the data company collect data. For example, assume that a.com and b.com have Disqus installed. You visit both websites on the same day. And, Disqus knows it! This is a crucial connection in the advertising field. When they sell it to another company, they will also know that you visited a.com and b.com. Advertising companies use this data to personalize the ads for you. So, there will be thousands of companies knowing what your interests are.
The same thing happens to your visitors. By using Disqus on your website, you are giving Disqus an opportunity to track them.
6. You have to Pay to Remove Ads – But, there’s no Guarantee about User Tracking
While you can subscribe to a paid plan of Disqus to remove advertisements on your website, there’s no mention of them not tracking users. Disqus seems to track you and remember your computer, so to create another account and actually be able to comment, you have to find another computer. You’re being tracked in the name of advertising every step of the way on the Internet. In fact, Disqus is using the plugin to profile your visitors to later target them with ads.
7. Disqus makes your Website extremely Slow
By injecting ads and third-party code to your website, Disqus will make your website extremely slow. Here’s a list of HTTP requests Disqus can add to your website:
The more HTTP requests you have the slower your website is. Disqus adds hundreds of spammy redirect links to your website. Additionally, it fetches a bunch of CSS and JS files to render the ads and affiliate links on your website. What’s even worst is that these links come from third-party domains, which takes even more time to load due to DNS resolving. Additionally most people don’t have the time to create an account or switch between their Disqus profiles just to comment on a blog post. The year 2020 is all about hyper-distraction and inattentiveness. People ignore things that hinder progress. No one wants to spend five seconds logging into an account just to comment.
8. Disqus discourages Commenters
Disqus has millions of user accounts. However, it’s just a little fraction compared to 4 billion active internet users. Disqus doesn’t have a guest commenting option. While those who have Disqus accounts can comment easily from their account, what about others? Creating a new account just to post a comment isn’t reasonable. Guest commenting is a powerful option to have!
9. Moderating in Disqus is Complicated
When you add a new website to Disqus, it creates a new subdomain for that website. You’ll need to switch between these subdomains every time if you moderate multiple websites. It makes moderation slower (and, it’s why Slack moved from subdomains to app.slack.com in their web version).
And, their admin panel isn’t a single page application, which makes it even slower.
10. Disqus is Old-fashioned
During 2010, Disqus’s design was innovative. However, this is 2020. There are new and better practices and tools to make web applications more user friendly. Despite its resources, the company failed to make the product user-friendly. The usability factor is a good enough reason to remove Disqus.
11. Disqus isn’t Customizable
Disqus has a similar appearance in all websites. It would be impossible to see the discussion box due to the color scheme; on certain website templates, the discussion box would be almost invisible. A visitor would not be able leave a comment because the discussion box may appear to be missing. The fact is that it is not possible to apply custom CSS to the new Disqus. The plugin will automatically apply a scheme based on the text color it inherits from a website. So depending on whether your template’s stylesheet has a light or dark color scheme, Disqus will make a selection. It cannot be as customized as you desire.
12. Disqus’s Pricing isn’t Flexible
Disqus has free, plus ($9/month), pro ($89/month), and business (Custom pricing) plans. 80% of consumers consider pricing as a major deciding factor when shopping online: This is not only applicable to e-commerce sites but even to those in the plugin market. If you’re looking for more control over how you pay for a commenting platform, then look for that one option, which offers you a great deal of flexibility and added features.
13. Disqus only has Single Sign-on in their Custom Pricing Plans
Single sign-on (SSO) is the most important feature for most companies. Disqus only provides it in their custom pricing plans, which is very expensive.
14. Disqus Admins ban Websites without any Notifications
There are some reviews saying their websites are banned by Disqus for no reason.
15. Users are banned for Political Opinions
Freedom of speech is important. There are many converstaions going on regarding Disqus banning users (not moderators of websites but Disqus admins) for just having political opinions.
16. Disqus Exports your Data into a Messy XML Format
If you ever need to import Disqus comments to your own database, you’ll need more developer resources as Disqus imports the data into a messy XML format.
17. Disqus adds “Do Not Sell My Data” Badge to your Website
Do you like to have such irritating badge on your website?
There’s one more thing to consider: Those who don’t know this badge is placed by Disqus may think you (the publisher) are selling data. Want to destroy the trust between you and your visitors? If no is the answer, you’ll definitely need to remove Disqus from your site and move to a new privacy-focused solution.
18. Disqus has a Heavy Spam Detector
Disqus’s spam detector is known to be harsh. It’s worse when non-spam comments are detected as spam. Again, destroying the trust between your users and you!
19. Disqus Support is Poor
Disqus reportedly has poor customer support. Moreover, it will be super hard to contact them if you have a problem to solve with your website. It will be impossible to do so if you are on their free plan.
Moving Away from Disqus to Hyvor Talk
Hyvor Talk, a privacy-focused Disqus alternative, is created to solve all of those problems and help publishers to build thriving communities on their websites. Check out our Disqus importing guide to import your comments from Disqus to Hyvor Talk. It only requires a few clicks. Our automated system will do everything for you.
Hundreds of publishers have moved away from Disqus to Hyvor Talk to solve the above issue and make the comments section more user-friendly. We would like to see you be the next one.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact us via our live chat.