I’m not really sure if this is a trend or just coincidence, but over the past week I’ve noticed quite a few of the blogs that I stumble upon require you to setup an account before you can leave a comment.  Anyone know what is up with that?

This is obviously a very useful WordPress feature for blogs that have a strong community built around their website, but I think most people should consider the consequences before they require you to register to comment.  A choice like this could keep truly hinder a new blogs growth or discourage a blogger who isn’t seeing the reader interaction they were hoping for.

As with pretty much everything, there are some positives and some negatives to doing this.  Off the top of my head, here are a few positives and negatives of requiring registration to leave a comment on a blog:

Positives of Registration

  • Spam Prevention – Requiring registration should stop spam completely.
  • More Options – Requiring registration opens up some interesting opportunities to customize comment appearance, allow you to create profiles, etc.   I’ve seen a few high profile websites do this, but the registration usually is optional instead of being required.

Negatives of Registration

  • Less Comments – Some people value comments more than others, but I think most bloggers would find less comments to be a negative as the whole concept of blogging was formed around the concept of reader interaction with the writer.

I personally do not leave comments on blogs that require registration because it just isn’t worth it to me.  I have enough accounts to manage without trying to remember my account information.   I also think things like spam can easily be avoided for WordPress users using tools like Akismet and Bad Behavior, Spam Karma 2, or Math Comment Spam Protection (which we use here).

I’d like to hear what you think in the comments below.   How do you feel about blogs that require registration to comment?   Do you take the time to register or do you just decide not to comment at all?

Kyle Eslick is WordPress enthusiast who took his passion for WordPress to the next level in 2007 by launching WPHacks.com as a place to share hacks, tutorials, etc. Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleEslick!

  1. Derek says:

    I agree with Seven here. If i’m going to go out of the way to not only read your blog, but also leave a comment, it should be as easy and accessible as possible.

    Now, granted if you are pulling 50k uniques a day and were trying to force users into an email list or some other opt-in it might be worth it…otherwise I think you just hinder the growth of young sites / communities.

  2. SE7EN says:

    register to comment is a big no-no to me. I’m too lazy busy to register 😛

  3. Hoodgrown Magazine says:

    I’ll almost never register to comment on a blog, unless it’s something that has absolutely outraged me and I feel the need to comment on. Lol

    I use Akismet and Bad Behaviour and it’s done a great job of catching and/or deflecting all of the spam that my sites receives.

  4. Katy Castro says:

    I will not register anywhere for comments. While in some cases I understand the practice, I feel like the blog owner doesn’t value my time to force registration. Instead, I chalk it up to their loss and leave, usually to never return.

    Should I happen upon a blog that I’ve already subscribed to and they require registration, I’m out of there. Not only have they lost a comment but a subscriber as well. This doesn’t happen to me often but does indeed happen from time to time.

  5. jbj says:

    I should register on a few blogs, but mostly, when I need to set up an account to comment, I do not comment. So in my opinions, unless your blog is very very popular, open comments are better.

  6. redwall_hp says:

    Normally I just leave if comment registration is required. Even if I have an account, it’s a pain to have to log in to leave a comment.

  7. Bengt says:

    Requiring registration for comments gives less comments. I for one leave those blogs without commenting.

    If the blogger wants to build community there are better ways. And there are other tools for spam protection than forcing people to register and log in.

  8. Kevin Boss says:

    I cringe when I want to comment and see a “you must register to comment” message. I’ve never registered to comment on a blog.

  9. shawal says:

    I will not leave any comment on blog that need me to register to comment..

    There is lots of simple plugins on wordpress to use to avoid spam comment, why should we make our blog commenter a hard way to leave a comment….

  10. Jimbo says:

    Yeah I guess it stops SPAM kinda…and not that much of a problem if you use firefox plugin BugMeNot

  11. I pretty much agree with everyone else above. When I see “Sign Up” I turn and run. I can see the advantages of building a strong community through it and you could offer specials for those who sign up, but in the end I figure the only reason why they want me to “sign up” is so they can eventually sell me something.

  12. Thomas says:

    Sometimes rude or offensive comments can be a problem for the website owner if the authority blames the website owner (like in Germany).

  13. Taryn Merrick says:

    I will be releasing my new blogsite next week and was going to make commenters register. I am so glad I caught this post, I am changing my options now so they will *not* have to register! Thanks so much.

  14. Teri says:

    So everyone here who said they would not register to leave a comment, had to register to make their comment, right? Or am I missing something?

  15. Universal Indie Records says:

    “So everyone here who said they would not register to leave a comment, had to register to make their comment, right? Or am I missing something?”

    Yes you’re missing something… We did not have to REGISTER to leave a comment. We filled out the form to leave a comment yes.. but that is not REGISTERING, where you fill out the form, wait to have your password and username emailed to you, and then come back to that site to enter the information and then finally leave a comment.

  16. Preston says:

    I’m so glad you asked this question. B/c most of the time i just want to comment on a SUBJECT, and i could care less where. Without the hassle of ‘giving’ my email and remembering another password.. What’s the dam point? Isn’t there records of IP addresses?… It’s just pure, annoying NOSEYNESS.

  17. McCain says:

    But are there legal reasons why a publisher might want to require commenters to register? Does it not, thru terms of use agreements, somewhat insulate the publisher from commenters doing stupid things, like violating copyright law or defaming people?

  18. Steve Magruder says:

    It’s not black or white to me… it’s more a shade of gray.

    If you’re trying to build a community, where there’s an expectation of continuity, and commenters standing behind their words, then registration can make sense. I think it’s up to the publisher in this case to ask themselves the question of whether it’s worth it in the long run to ward off casual/fly-by commenters. It depends on many factors.

    It can be reasonable in some circumstances to think “Well, I don’t want casual comments anyway — I’d rather have none if that’s all who would comment.” An author can also think that it’s their post (not the comments) that are essentially the content.

    None of this is right or wrong.

    But I would agree that as a default, before considering the essence of your site, don’t make registration a requirement.

  19. Skizzle says:

    It makes perfect sense that you should require people to register. I know from personal experience, and I’ve seen research to substantiate this, that anonymous posts are more often offensive, uninformed and hyperbolic.
    Requiring people to regster before they respond helps to hold them accountable.

  20. Zuter says:

    Great article!

  21. Wilfredo Parkison says:

    Yeah, there are certain pros and cons associated with both the ways. But, I think if you will allow anonymous commenting, then surely you will end up with your website full of spam comments. Some other option would be to integrate social media commenting system to your website. In this way you will get more comments as well. Just visit yoctotemplates.com and find required plugins for that.