Megablog, Gizmodo, has decided to allow comments at last. It’s been a pretty long time coming and something that many have complained about – but the time has arrived (they’ve done the same thing on Gawker and Lifehacker blogs also).
Interestingly they’ve decided that only invited guests will have commenting privileges at this point – something I’ve not seen on any other blogs before.
They explain this on their Comments FAQ page by writing:
Anyone who has been invited, either by us or by a friend. The invite system works like Gmail. We’ve invited a bunch of our favorite gearheads, bloggers, and frequent tipsters to comment, then given them invitations to share with their friends and colleagues. That way, the burden of inclusion, and exclusion, is shared.
Why are comments by invitation only?
Most online communities are like Apple Stores and hip bars—they quickly get overrun with tourists, thus lowering the overall quality of the experience. The same thing will happen to us eventually too. But we’re going to try to put off that moment for as long as possible.
I can hear the critiques of this move already – there will be some who say its elitist – but I wonder if this could be a smart move. Commenting rights could become hot property on their blogs – this could limit comments to more manageable numbers (I don’t bother with comments in blogs like Slashdot these days due to the numbers) – in the short term this will help limit comment spam (although it will get harder as more are invited) and if they are choosey about who comments they could end up with some really knowledgeable and high profile people featuring on their blogs.
Of course it could all go horribly wrong if the masses don’t like the fact that they are being locked out and/or if the competition starts playing it up that they have a completely free commenting system.
It’s definitely something to watch.