Photo: CBS 60 Minutes
More than 17,000 sites have implemented the new Facebook Comments plug-in in the two weeks since it launched.The system requires users to log in with Facebook, which prevents them from commenting anonymously. This created some debate. Was Facebook stifling the authentic voice of the Internet, or helping sites improve the quality of their comments? If sites switched , would their comments section suddenly become a well-maintained garden free of trolls, or a desert wasteland with no action at all?
All this debate over comment quality obscured the bigger reason for sites to use Facebook Comments: it drives referral traffic from one of the most popular and fastest-growing Web sites in the world.
As Facebook points out in a blog post about Comments today, sports blog network SB Nation saw Facebook referrals increase 4x after switching. Examiner.com saw Facebook referrals double. Townsquare Media, which operates sites for radio stations, also got a lot of Facebook referrals, and nearly half of them were new visitors.
It’s hard to see how other comment systems like Disqus can compete with that.