The online media industry continues to face readership and revenue challenges. The online media are burdened with the task of not only providing the content but gaining more user interaction in the form of reader comments. Comments by readers are beneficial to sites because they show created readership and mean more eyeballs to that particular page or article. More eyeballs means greater opportunity to sell ads and the more ads that are sold, the more revenue that site makes from the content it generates.
When you want to be relevant to readers and advertisers, you want to offer relevant content that is on topic. You want meaningful comments and conversation where possible. What you don’t want is comments that are crude, insensitive and not relevant to the content created, you don’t want spam as comments.
The Industry Standard is a news and analysis site that covers enterprise-grade software technologies ranging from collaboration tools to social networking. Based in San Francisco, the Industry Standard is popular with online readers all over the country.
The Industry Standard had site re-launch in 2008 with the goal of engaging with new readers and encouraging them to contribute comments and content. The Standard also wanted to allow readers to comment anonymously, something that most news sites do not do. The Industry Standard felt that anonymity gave readers more freedom to express their comments, and would encourage more frequent and detailed commentary while expanding traffic and tying the publication into the many other online conversations taking place around technology.
Ian Lamont, The Industry Standard’s managing editor, had prior experience managing online communities, and knew that the relaunched publication would need a comment filter that could encourage quality comments while sifting out spam and trolls.
According to Lamont, having anonymous comments is hugely important to The Industry Standard. “We really believe that most people don’t want to deal with the hassle of registration. Because we are relatively small, if we only had registered comments, there would be far less reader engagement on the site. As it is now, we can have dialogues with unregistered users, which is really important to building voice and an online identity.”
The Industry Standard turned to Mollom to help them remove the barrier to visitor participation, allowing readers to comment anonymously and eliminate spam vandalism. Since the re-launch in 2008, Mollom has blocked 800k spam messages in 539 days and blocked more than a thousand attempts a day with peaks up to several thousands a day.
“Our user engagement immediately went up after anonymous comments were enabled with Mollom,” said Lamont. “We were able to have many great discussion threads that otherwise would not have been possible.” To illustrate, here is an example of a discussion thread with anonymous comments: http://www.thestandard.com/news/2008/12/18/beginning-end-apple-imac
Mollom offers its services in tiers, with products targeted at small blogs, mid-sized sites, and large enterprise-level Web properties. Mollom Free, designed for small blogs and sites with small posting volumes, is provided free of charge to the Web community, while Mollom Plus and Mollom Premium are commercial services designed for sites with higher volumes and reliability requirements. More information about its service plans is available on Mollom's website.