Disgusted with Disqus Discovery?

In Blogging by Emerson Jane Browne77 Comments

I like Disqus.  If you leave a comment on this post you will see that I am using Disqus comment system on this blog. Disqus (pronounced “Discuss”) is an online discussion and commenting service for websites and blogs that uses a networked platform.

53061ac6a4549faa0a334bdec6dabcc0If you set up a profile on Disqus then all your posts – across any site using Disqus – are linked together and to your profile.  Pretty nifty!

However, Disqus recently came out with Disqus Promoted Discovery as part of their new Disqus 2012.

I am disgusted by it!  (Or is that disqusted?)

Sorry Disqus, but I am.  I turned it off within seconds of discovering it!  (It is automatically turned on in Disqus 2012 and it appears that Disqus also automatically updates to Disqus 2012.)

Why did I immediately turn it off?

  1. It was recommending garbage. 
  2. Why would I want to send people away from my site?

From Disqus Promo Material:

The Discovery box presents highly relevant and personalized content recommendations. We base these recommendations on a few things:

  • The current story and discussion that’s on the page.
  • Other content on the site and content that others wish to promote.
  • What we think would be most interesting to the specific reader.

We have a deep and wide perspective on trending topics and engagement across the millions of websites that use Disqus. …

Disqus Discovery recommended garbage.

I did not stick around long enough to take a screen shot of what they were showing on the post from Christmas day, but I sure wish I had!  Two of the “Recommended” links were each about a celebrity with alcohol or drug problems.  One was a paid ad from some investment site.  And then there was one other link that I do not remember.

None of them have anything whatsoever to do with the content of this blog or the beautiful poem I posted on Christmas day.

In fact, they are the antithesis of what I write about here!  I write about productivity.  I do not encourage readers to go waste time following this or that celebrity’s every move and misdeed.  What a waste of precious time and brain energy!!

And they listed those links as “RECOMMENDED FOR YOU” (you, the reader) as if I am recommending that sort of dross.

Monetize your Comments?

That is the carrot they are offering to bloggers.  They will pay the blog owner for click-throughs. Interestingly (and not surprisingly) they are being quite vague about how much a person would earn per click-through.

Publishers who participate in Promoted Discovery earn money on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. For each click on a Promoted Discovery link on your site, you will earn a percentage of the revenue.

There is no standard revenue share percentage as these percentages vary depending on costs, content and performance. We will continue to ensure publishers get optimal revenue and traffic benefit.

Why would you want to send people away from your site?

My site is about offering information and tools to readers.  I don’t want you to go anywhere!  I want you to stay here and poke around the site, read what interests you, utilize what is useful to you.  Yes, when I have my ebook ready for you to download, I will have a call to action button.  But the ebook is still a ways away.  So for now, please explore and enjoy this blog.  I am happy that you are reading this.

Am I alone in dumping Disqus Promoted Discovery?

Frankly, I doubt it.  But I think Disqus has done a fantastic job of flooding the web so effectively that posts like this are hard to find.

What would make me want to use Disqus Discovery?

Notice that I left out the word “Promoted” in that question. Disqus is a great company. And I understand the need for them to make money; which is what this new program is really about. “Promoted” means paid advertising.

What I think Disqus needs to do is work on the “Discovery” aspect first and then add in the “Promoted” links.

They need to vastly improve their algorithm for determining appropriate links for a site. The factors for determining appropriate links are size and readership of the blog, the content, and especially the content of comments because that says a great deal about the readers. For a blog like this one, appropriate links would go to sites and articles that have to do with productivity, brain injury and rehab, life and time management.

It may well be that no one with content like that has purchased ads yet. Fine, then wait. Under RECOMMENDED FOR YOU list other blogs using Disqus; ones that have similar or related topics. Allow for true discovery and Disqus will strengthen bloggers and commenters trust in them. Disqus is not doing themselves or anyone else any favors by alienating their bloggers and commenters, especially their small bloggers and our readers. Just like drops of water add up to make an ocean, we add up to a very, very large number of content creators and readers.

How do I disable Disqus Promoted Discovery?

Disqus recently did an update to Disqus 2012. Now under Settings there is a tab for the Discovery options. If you select to entirely turn off Promoted Discovery you will see an orange warning and a request to fill out a two question survey. The survey is simple and includes a comment box. I encourage people to comment. They need to hear from all of us.

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Emerson Jane Browne
I am Emerson Jane Browne. I write about Brains, Apps, & Productivity, and many other aspects of Life. I speak to TBI support groups, speak and teach workshops at tech, music, and writer conferences. I consult with organizations on strategic planning and building a strong community.
  • For a blog like this one, appropriate links would go to sites and articles that have to do with productivity, brain injury and rehab, life and time management.

    • Yes! Those would be very appropriate links. Sadly, that is not the way the Disqus Promotion works though. They have now named it something other than Disqus Discovery but it is still not much better.

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  • I am not seeing discovery on my tab, what can i do? Jamaica

    • Kevar, I am not a Disqus employee so you may want to contact them. However, here is what I see – which may help you:

      It looks like Disqus has changed its Settings. Instead of “Discovery” the tab is now called “Revenue”. Uncheck the boxes under “Sponsored Links” and “Video & Direct Response Ads”. Then in the next section below, check the box at “Highly Filtered”. Be sure to save your changes.

  • Glad I found this post.

    I’m a little disappointed with Disqus. Well, actually disgusted. Enough to switch to FB comments. I don’t appreciate the bait-and-switch on Promoted Discovery.

    I chose no ads, and yet I notice if I hit my sites on a clean browser, not logged in and with no Disqus cookies BAM!!! Huge ads at the top of my comments. It’s a 4-up of 289×200 banners that aren’t even relevant to my site.

    If I login though, presto magico those ads disappear.

    That’s kind of a scumbag tactic, IMO.

  • Now Outbrain is directing people away from my site. I’m a teacher, and students are being directed to unsupervised sites to it’s irresponsible for me to use it. Anyone know of any alternatives?

    • Paige, if you want to keep your students on your site why not just use a Related Post plugin? If you have a WordPress site there are many good plugins to choose from.

  • Michael

    Unfortunately Disqus is sliding down the slippery slope, probably in anticipation of shutting down soon if they can’t get their hands on some revenue. Any business that operates such large data will have overheads and that’s why they keep their staff numbers to a minimum, to stay afloat I guess. The discovery box is uber, uber annoying and an embarrassment to Disqus, I wonder what the CEO was thinking.

    If Disqus claim to have in depth knowledge of current trends and are also tracking their users internet surfing habits via comments, then why do they put up such horrible, horrible sponsored ads in the discovery box? I guess it’s desperation for some revenue of any kind, otherwise they wouldn’t be isolating their user base like that. Maybe the accountants and financiers are calling in their capital, coz I don’t see a smart group of people releasing such a dumb product that annoys the hell out of most people and redirects visitors away from blogs, unless they were desperate for cash.

    I don’t want my visitors going anywhere other than my site when it cost me dollars to get them in the first place, are disqus paying me for that loss of traffic? Disqus CEO, here is a better better solution for you, please allow publishers to pick and choose from a list of sponsored sites and at least we could vett sites before you send our visitors there! Very simple to implement and you can even split websites into different tiers, to help spread the traffic. Everyone is happy and disqus continues. I’m sure if publishers knew where their visitors would be sent they would cooperate and even volunteer for discovery.

    It’s now up to disqus what their next move will be, self-destruction or survival?

    • @Michael, I hope you are wrong. I like Disqus a lot and certainly do not want to see it go under. They provide the comment system for many large companies. Going from memory here but I think they include the New York Times and Washington Post.

      It completely befuddles me that Disqus has not improved the Promoted Discovery by now. This post should not be getting as many hits as it still does two years after I wrote it! This was not meant to be an “evergreen topic”.

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  • jlongoriap

    Today I actually activated the promoted discovery. My site is about health and wellbeing in spanish… The content that is appearing is about making money with the bible (something like that) and in english.. I will wait a couple of weeks to see if the promoted content changes. If not will deactivated it.

    • It is so sad and also very surprising that this remains a problem. This has been going on for close to a year.

      Daniel Ha, the CEO of Disqus was one of the first to comment here and at that time – 11 months ago – he said:

      We’d rather release something early and get your feedback (just like what you wrote here) because it helps us improve quicker.

      I like many of the recent changes that Disqus has made but this Promoted Discovery remains a glaring issue!

  • The comments are almost impossible to read with the colour scheme.

    • Thando, thank you for catching that! I lightened the background. I am about to do a trade with a friend for some work on this site so soon it should look much better.

      It is very frustrating to me that Disqus does not have more selections for comment fonts and colors. It is not something we can code with CSS on the theme. If I use their option for dark backgrounds it is white font and it is bolded and hard to read (because they are using a font that does not bold well).

  • I actually deactivated the “Discovery Option” for Disqus immediately after i installed it, LOL. It’s very surprising that they cannot find away to even let us recommend appropriate links, or maybe just recommend on their own the content that is related to our articles. What disappointed me was after reading one of my posts, an update on Apple’s iPhone 5S/iOS7, Disqus was recommending a Weight Loss article at the bottom of the page. And second from it was a promoted article regarding a certain disease and ways to treat it. I was so disappointed i just shut-down the option. That is despite the fact that my website is purely technology news, updates and reviews.

    However, Disqus itself is a good comment management system, and their payment terms are also way down on the low. One of my fellow bloggers has a blogging website, for 80 clicks, he got $0.48 which is very low if you ask me. I bet Google Adsense offers something much better. I wouldn’t recommend their revenue services nor the discovery option at all. but overall, Disqus puts together an awesome community and a cool commenting system.

  • I’m relatively new to Disqus but so far I love it. I get that you don’t want people leaving your site to go to another recommended site, but the flip-side of that is, are my links showing up on other Disqus users’ sites so that others can click on my link and have traffic funneled in to me. Now, if that is in fact the case, then I have no problem with Disqus at all because it should basically all even out in the end and I’m okay with that. Hopefully, someone can answer that question for me. Unless I missed it, Disquss does not really explain the whole Discovery process very well and leaves too much to interpretation. I assume that my links show up on other peoples sites but I have no way of verifying that. Someone please enlighten me!

  • I hate the fact that not only does Disqus discovery not work with blogger unless you agree to their revenue option, even then it doesn’t display your own articles on your site. I’ve been posting multiple articles daily, and the only link Disqus provided to my readers was an article I posted 3 months ago that’s no longer active. Soo annoying. ugh.

    • Wow! There is no way to turn it off? Did you log into your Disqus account and try to turn it off from your admin panel like I show above? Note: I do not work for Disqus and also do not use Blogger so I am just offering a suggestion of where to look. It just seems surprising that there is no way to turn it off.

      Regarding recommending your own posts, if you look in “Add a Gadget” under “Layout” in Blogger, I bet there is a widget (or as they call them Gadget) that shows recent posts or “Recommended Posts”. I use self-hosted WordPress and have a widget/plugin installed that recommends posts at the end of the post you just read.

      • Yes, but it doesn’t work at all unless you tick the traffic + revenue option.

        As for recommended posts, thanks for the tip. I’m going to see if there is a widget like that there. Would still be nice to use the Disqus one, though. Sigh…

  • We turned off Promoted Discovery because we and our readers were offended by some of the ads. The so-called blacklist feature has no effect whatsoever. It doesn’t block the domains we would like to block. It’s disappointing that Disqus just released a ballyhooed update to the service without fixing its known defects.

  • Thanks for the tip. It helped me figure out how to turn off Promoted Discovery.

  • Personia

    In your article, are you saying that there should be or not be paid “discovery”? You’re also saying that there shouldn’t be links that pull reader’s away from your site – so do you also hate advertising?

    • Did you actually read the article? Sorry, but your comment makes me wonder. It looks like you may have only read the title. I make it very clear that if the “Discovery” aspect of Promoted Discovery was pointing my readers to sites and products that are related to the content of this site that would be fine. And if you read all the 40+ comments you will see that that is the same thing most of the other users are saying.

      • Personia

        Yes I did:

        “My site is about offering information and tools to readers. I don’t want you to go anywhere! I want you to stay here and poke around the site, read what interests you, utilize what is useful to you. Yes, when I have my ebook ready for you to download, I will have a call to action button. But the ebook is still a ways away. So for now, please explore and enjoy this blog. I am happy that you are reading this.”

        You did vaguely mention starting to agree with the Discovery system which got me wondering:

        “For a blog like this one, appropriate links would go to sites and articles that have to do with productivity, brain injury and rehab, life and time management.” <– Looks like you're started to agree.

        "It may well be that no one with content like that has purchased ads yet. Fine, then wait. Under RECOMMENDED FOR YOU list other blogs using Disqus; ones that have similar or related topics. Allow for true discovery and Disqus will strengthen bloggers and commenters trust in them." <– and your agreement strengthens.

        So from the first quote to the next two there appears to be a progressive of your view from not liking it to being OK with it and understanding their need to make a profit.

        I'm not trying to disagree nor agree yet see how you were trying to conclude. Please don't get offended.

        • Thanks for your reply.

          I am not opposed to advertising that makes sense and is in keeping with the purpose of a blog. Those are two separate measuring sticks.

          By “makes sense” a writer needs to assess his/her purpose for the blog. If the top purpose is to make money then the content’s purpose is to draw people to the site and get them to either buy what she offers there or get the reader to click advertising and affiliate links.

          If instead, the purpose is to develop a following, a community of readers (which is this blog’s purpose) then it does not make sense to want to lead my readers away. I would rather that they stick around and find useful information on my site.

          • Personia

            You’re welcome. Thanks for taking the time to converse.

            I agree that advertising should be purposeful, directed and ethical.

            So your saying that it depends on the purpose of the blog whether to use advertising, Discovery network in this case? You feel that it is not useful for your blog, hence you don’t want it; yet for others, you would deem it alright?

            I have realised there aren’t any ads on your site, which seems to strengthen this view.

  • Vico Prima

    Nice article, thanks for the information.

    @ sewa mobil

  • I have joined with Disqus, but I am not yet able to use these services on my blog. the reason is, this blog makes a heavy loading. While a bad connection at my place.

  • Stephanus Sonata

    Very nice, thanks for the information.

  • Savas Vedova

    I gave it a try today. I will let you know my observations soon 🙂 Good article. Thanks.

  • i like disqus, too. thanks to your article.

  • Katz

    I like to see only tech-related posts on my technical blog. Strangely, Disqus doesn’t do that.

  • DavidCrowell

    Thanks I can turn it off now thanks to your article

  • 2nd 2 None

    I don’t blame you. I am trying to get mine turned off right now. Thanks

  • I removed disqus entirely from my sites because of this “feature” too. Anyone know of a better comment option that keeps the spam-bots away?

  • Thanks for the post. I use the 2nd option for Increased Traffic and Revenue in my blog. My own blog posts and the promoted content appears side by side. I really see a surge in traffic within my blog from the links discovered by Disquss. I think most bloggers will agree to me that it is going to change the way content is promoted with more traffic and an opportunity to earn from promoted content.

  • I do not work for Disqus! If the directions above have changed or do not work then contact Disqus help. You may hate the company, but the people are very nice. http://help.disqus.com/

  • I’ve tried several times to DEACTIVATE my Disqus account per instructions, but all in vain. I want nothing to do with Disqus ever again! What is the best and most reliable way to permanently cancel my account with Disqus? Please help, I hate it!!

  • Disqus is pure unmitigated GARBAGE and I want to opt out of it entirely and never again receive any notifications or email messages from Disqus!!!

  • Tony1942

    I totally HATE Disqus and want to opt out of that ridiculous program entirely!! I never want to receive any more notifications or email messages from Disqus!!

  • Crawford

    The problem is how unrelated and possibly damaging the ads are. I used disqus on a Christian Missions site and you can imagine the issue when ads popped up about women in red mini-dresses and ways to know your wife is cheating on you etc. Not to mention there was no warning that it was going to start. That’s just very poor customer service and a lack of respect for the end users.

  • At some point every company has to face the question of its long term survival. You can’t run an operation like disqus without finding a profit model and there are only two ways – publishers pay or they monetize the content. The latter is a very sensitive endeavor – we publishers of all people should know that.

    Every time I emailed disqus I received a response within hours. Perhaps it is because I’m a long term user and one of the first blogs to implement disqus. Seems to me they are running a tight ship and are taking the concerns/input of their users (i.e. us) very serious. But as entrepreneurs they are also under pressure to satisfy whoever funds their operation – it is a fine line seamed by a chasm on both sides.

    Personally I’m not a fan of Discovery – needs a lot more work. Plus it competes with the advertising relationship I have with another firm. Technically speaking I am probably not even permitted to activate it, as competing ad content is not allowed under the contract I signed with them.

    Even if I was to allow Discovery – until I see it deliver better targeted links I unfortunately will have to give it a miss.

  • Martin

    This is also only a test comment. Disqus looks very good for me 🙂

  • ambermcginty

    @danielha:disqus @EmersonJane:disqus I found this blog by searching for “How can I get rid of the Disqus
    recommended for you section?”. Unfortunately, my clients are not fond of
    the ads, and the content isn’t related almost 100% of the time. I’m not
    a fan of this change, and now that I know how to turn it off, I’ll be
    disabling it on about 30 websites that we’re using it on. I do love
    Disqus and sing it’s praises constantly, so I’ll disable it
    and enjoy everything else I love about Disqus. I do think the idea has potential if the site owner has the ability to at least provide keywords or some other information to influence what is being recommended. It’s just too spammy as it is today.

  • Good to see that Daniel Ha takes part in the discussion here! I found this blog when looking for pros and cons regarding Discovery. Enabled the “full” version and thought my god these links all look like spam without the least relevance to what my site is all about (photography).

    Then I thought, well, maybe users appreciate different perspectives. That notion lasted for about ten minutes and I just had to go back to Increased Traffic, which is pretty neat.

    I will be more than happy to enable “Maximum increased traffic and revenue” again. But please link to relevant quality material.

    And less is more.

    And I’m also left at a loss, after reading the Q&A again and again, whether my Amazon affiliate income would be affected or not…

    The product is just not yet there. Promising, but I’d be surprised if it’s more success than headache for Disqus at this stage.

  • I cant turn the damn thing off (discovery) … clicking the comments does nothing at all, its still there advertising its garbage at the bottom of my pages. The left side that gives links from recent posts on my site, has recent posts from another site with a similar name … what a joke, pity I really wanted to use disqus 🙁

    • @andy_leighton:disqus Look at the image above and then these directions will make sense. Go to your Disqus dashboard. Click the Settings Tab. Then down below the set of tabs where Settings is you will see another set. It opens to General. Click on the next tab over which is Discovery. That is what is shown in the image above. Then you can select to turn discovery off.

      • thanks for that Jane, but that’s exactly what I have done at least ten times and it has no effect at all. (even though the yellow box comes up and say’s “saving settings successful”) I will try an email to Disqus, but I just think the whole idea is bad to be defaulting to this ‘trash’. I have a travel photography website and the relevent links are about loosing weight, bikini news etc… and why would anyone want links away from their site! as noted in your post (very good read, thanks)

        • Just an update on my inability to remove discus discovery from my website.
          I emailed discus and received a reply that my discus shortname (andy) was “owned” by another users shortname and was causing a conflict when trying to turn my discus discovery off. That’s great that discus replied and has raised my opinion of them from deep frustration, but one must think that this would be a relatively common problem that need sorting out …

  • ohyaba

    A brilliant post you got here especially the fact that they need to concentrate more on “Discovery” before they go into “Promoted Discovery”. I also think that they should introduce more payment gateways for publishers like (Cheque, International Tranfers, Western Union) such as Google, Yahoo and Clicksor if they want more people because there are some countries that are not approved by Paypal.

  • This is a test comment, I still think Disqus has a totally sleep look!! But my concern is for my guests, I don’t want them scared away. Anyways, thank you for this post!!!

  • adultat17

    HEY this site is USELESS,,I spent precious time to REGISTER or Join whatever in order to COMMENT on a proposal Hill made regarding 17 yr olds NOT being treated as adults pure crap BUT I cannot even post cos AFTER all the work registering giving MY information I was NOT re directed to the Original site I wanted to comment on..I am gedding RID of THIS Disqus crap ASAP..STUPIDITY!

  • “They need to vastly improve their algorithm for determining appropriate links for a site.” Pretty much sums it up. they really need to work on the algorithm or at least give the us (the website owners) some sort of options when it comes to what links will be displayed there.

  • Michael, your reply landed in Spam and I just caught that and fixed it.

    However, I don’t think Daniel Ha is reading this. My hunch is he is just a PR guy. I am sad about that because his response is appears to be all hype and air. When I asked him to really clarify and put some meat and meaning into his words, Poof! he was gone. As I said in the post – “Disqus has done a fantastic job of flooding the web so effectively that posts like this are hard to find.” His replying here is part of that flooding.

    I do not think this bodes well for Disqus.

    • Disqus is one of the greatest companies I’ve come to know, but I don’t know anymore. They are more concerned with making money right now, which does not look good to them.

      Daniel Ha is indeed a cofounder of Disqus; that’s not a lie. However if anyone ever mentions CSS support he’ll never answer. It’s like they are trying to be different but it doesn’t help.

      You could even use JavaScript to inject CSS into the iframe, but they even went out of their way to block that. Now how does that look to them?

      I keep and continue to support them until they cross the line, and then I’ll take to my website and completely trash them. Turning one of their most loyal users against them is quite stupid.

      Oh yeah, and that stupid thing about spam is that my comments get falsely marked as spam. If you have akismet please turn it off; it really just creates more problems.

    • What sort of meat are you looking for? I felt that I was candid and honest in what I said. Happy to clarify otherwise.

      I don’t know anything about PR, so that’s not my job.

      • Daniel, I am thrilled to hear that you are not a PR person! The “meat” that I am asking for is what I asked in my reply to you below. I asked you for clarification of phrases you were using.

        I asked: “Interesting” by whose standards? I would like to see Disqus’ definition of the phrase “most interesting content” in regards to your Promoted Discovery.

        Your comment was ” while we use content context as a strong guardrail, at the end of the day we’re attempting to deliver the most interesting content to the reader”.

        When you are writing to two bloggers who have each experienced Disqus providing links on our blogs to weight loss schemes and celebrity gossip your words seemed like broad and vague PR phrases. And then you did not reply to the questions about definitions . . . so that is why I thought you were in PR.

        • Interestingness is subjective, of course, and we look at a few different inputs when qualifying what’s interesting. The first measure is what people are clicking on. Without that data, the stuff that we’re delivering is going to be pretty broad. As the system matures, the right content will be placed in front of the right people.

          I agree that some of the content hasn’t been great (or interesting). That’s where we need improvement. When I say that our goal is to deliver interesting content to readers, I’m not saying that we’re successful yet. This is the start of what I know to be a long term investment for us.

          We don’t have PR people. I’m happy to talk through what we’re doing. I’m one of the founders of Disqus and I work across the product and the business end, so ask away.

          • Thank you Daniel. I am glad to hear all of that.

            It seems that Disqus is at an important crossroads with this product, because how it is implemented, what you choose to allow in to be clickable, is a statement about Disqus and who you are choosing to be as a company.

            To me, you have always stood for quality content. That is why I was so alarmed at the content of the “Recommended For You” links.

            You can’t be everything for everybody. You have to choose what level you want your company to operate at.

            Beware of the “lowest common denominator” factor. That only works in mathematics. When you apply it to humans the truth is that you end up with ONLY the lowest denominator. The higher denominators do not stick around when you try to bring them down to the lowest common denominator.

            I think Jason Fried of 37 Signals speaks to that concept and the importance of choosing to maintain high quality even if it is different from the masses, fairly eloquently in his book Rework. But I am going from memory here so it is possible it was a different book.

      • Mike Thack

        NecroRead – I think it is disingenuous for “Daniel Ha” (co-founder and CEO of Disqus) to intimate no relationship to PR.

        Among the principle roles of a chief executive is public relations — to include shaping perceptions, establishing guidance, and managing “the message”.

        I believe that Daniel is trying to do all these things and I believe he believes in the virtues of the mission and end-state product/service delivery.

        Regardless, there is still the reality that there is a rift between the values of investor stakeholders, producer stakeholders, and consumer stakeholders.

        Disqus (Daniel Ha, as CEO) has made a decision to sacrifice the values of producers and consumers in an attempt to maximize benefit for investors.

        It’s that simple.

        • It’s a bit less simple than that, Mike. It’s true that there are many things in balance — not the least is balancing how people, publishers, and advertisers get the most value from Disqus. We’re a product company; that’s in our DNA. That’s why we make the decisions that we do.

          As we roll out new options — like Promoted Discovery — I realize that it’s not for everyone and it’s made optional. Then we’re focused on making it super valuable for everyone who wants to participate.

    • daniel founded disqus in 2007 with his cofounder jason and he has been the CEO of disqus ever since. you are dealing with the owner and operator of the business, not some PR hack

  • Thanks for the reply Daniel.

    One idea to consider would be to have a way for bloggers (publishers) to either submit keywords for their site or for you to provide a big list that we could choose keywords from. For instance, if there was an easy way for me to choose neuroscience, brain injury, rehabilitation, time management, productivity, research, medical news, smart phone apps (to name only a few) that could help channel more appropriate recommendations to my site.

    What would make it even more effective would be to also have a way for us to choose specific topics that we want to exclude. Like in my case, shallow news about celebrities would top that list. This one is especially important for you because the minute you start posting things that are in opposition of the blog and comment content a blogger is going to shut off Disqus Promoted Discovery entirely.

    Hope this is helpful. I like Disqus a great deal and want to see the company do well.

    • Thanks Emerson!

      One unique aspect about Promoted Discovery is that while we use content context as a strong guardrail, at the end of the day we’re attempting to deliver the most interesting content to the reader — even if it’s not quite more of the same.

      We’re not where we want to be just yet but the improvements are coming at a great pace.

      • “Interesting” by whose standards? I would like to see Disqus’ definition of the phrase “most interesting content” in regards to your Promoted Discovery.

        Michael is right about the weight loss one. That was the fourth “most interesting” link you had on this site; specifically on the Christmas poem entry. (As I said in the post above, I was so upset at seeing those four that I did not check any other post! I just googled how to turn the awful thing off!!)

        Daniel, claiming that “at the end of the day we’re attempting to deliver the most interesting content to the reader” when you are delivering links to celebrity gossip and weight loss schemes means that you must consider those topics the “most interesting content to the reader”.

        If that is true, you have chosen to cheapen Disqus. Whoopee! Disqus has decided to descend to the same level of “most interesting content” that Yahoo pushes in their sidebar. If that is what Disqus has decided is “most interesting” then I am very, very sad about that choice.

        Up until now, Disqus had been providing a place where real discussions (disqussions) could occur, where good content and ideas were being exchanged. So sad if you are in the midst of changing that.

  • Hi, I’m with Disqus. Lots of fair thoughts in your post. Promoted Discovery is still new and there are big areas that need improvement, but we’re seeing some amazing results so far with the content that’s being promoted, how much traffic are being driven for websites, and how relevant it is for users. It’s not always the case, and that’s why we have our work cut out for us.

    We’d rather release something early and get your feedback (just like what you wrote here) because it helps us improve quicker. You can dial down Promoted Discovery today and choose to dial it up in the future.

    Thanks again!

    • Well first off, improve the algorithm. I wrote about this before on my website but I guess you didn’t see it. I won’t bother writing it again, or looking for it. You guys probably don’t see my website as much, and every time I send a support request it is ignored. Twitter is hit and miss.

      But anyways…back to this. You guys need to open up some more business aspects of promoted discovery. Until you release some kind of average of revenue a publisher earns per click, I won’t even look at this. The other thing you guys don’t do is any type of impression model. Everything is pay per click, and I hate that method of advertising.

      I know this isn’t a good comparison, but lets take a look at AdSense. There is plenty of numbers to look at in terms of how much money you can get per click or impression, and they show that you can earn though clicks and/or impressions. And beyond that, Google is extremely smart at targeting advertisements. They are in the business of ads anyways, so not surprise there.

      I think Discovery could be more accurate if you would just add categories to the admin panel. So for example, Techman’s World is a tech site so if there was a category for technology based links it would work better than some garbage about weight loss, or some crap about a actor or actress or model or whatever.

      Discovery isn’t there yet, but I can’t endorse it or even think of using it until the points in bold are taken care of.

      • The targeting challenges are part of our current mission. A performance model (cost per click) is the way this works because it keeps the right content showing. The media that’s being promoted will be evaluated based on how interesting it is for others.

        • How does cost per click keep content showing? Advertisers can also use per impression, which can work. I just don’t see how users can turn Promoted Discovery on knowing that no one will probably click the links, and you don’t get paid for the ads displaying in the first place. In fact, you guys probably get paid just to act as the ad network, and I don’t think it’s fair for us publishers.

          And the promoted discovery box still looks ugly. Instead of just bolded (I think) links, why not have a comment or something to go along with it? Make it look like the organic discovery box, because it looks better.

          Oh, and can you please add CSS support already! For crying out loud, I can make that box look better. And, like AdSense, you can customize the way the ads look, to better fit with your site. Why do you guys try to be different when it only hurts you? Just add it already.

        • Robert

          I don’t mind the Disqus Promoted Discovery but all the recommended links
          should be in the same language – otherwise they cause a lot of
          confusion, e.g. english links between german content and german
          comments is not very good

          • Promoted Discovery should all be in English at the moment. The rest of the surfaced links in the Discovery box may display other languages if you’re on a website with non-English content. If I’m mistaken here, it might just be a bug!

            • rimpy

              Hello Daniel Ha. Maybe you saw my comments to you last night. The savage barbarians stalked me with over a hundred assaults from a few different

              identities- I cannot say if one person or multiples.

              I openly complained to some mods at the “new profiles for everyone” page of yours. So, vance lane replied to me, and I went to reply to him just now, and find that I am blocked. Hey great- punish the victim of incessant stalker troll spoofers. “real excellent”{sarcasm ~OFF~}

    • theedenniss

      Plus, in the FAQ it’s not stated whether or not it costs money to use, which is one of the reasons I disabled it.