Why I Am Removing the “Subscribe To Comments” Plugin

By Daniel Scocco

I believe I installed the Subscribe to Comments plugin around three years ago. If you are not familiar with the plugin, it basically allows people posting comments on your site to subscribe to new comments via email. In order words, if they do choose to subscribe (by clicking on a check-box) they will receive an email every time a new comment is made on that particular post.

As you can see using this plugin has some advantages. First of all it encourages community participation and increases the number of comments your posts will get, because readers who post one comment become engaged in the conversation. It might also increase your traffic slightly, because readers will be coming back to your site more often.

That being said the plugin also has some drawbacks. The first one is the volume of emails that your readers might inadvertently get from your site. Suppose one of your posts become viral and comments start piling up. This means that for each new comment one email will be sent to the readers who subscribed to that post.

Second, some readers forget that they subscribed to the comments of a particular post on your blog, and once your emails start arriving he might flag them as spam. One reader doing this wouldn’t be a problem, but dozens of them certainly would.

The drawbacks I mentioned are particularly important if you have email subscribers, an email list, or plan to do email marketing on your site. That is because the spam complaints might affect the overall credibility of your domain name.

Weighting the pros and cons I concluded that the cons were winning on my case, and today I decided to remove the plugin. I visited some other popular blogs to see whether or not they were still using the plugin, and most weren’t either.

What about you, do you use the plugin? Have you ever received complaints from readers about it?



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43 Responses to “Why I Am Removing the “Subscribe To Comments” Plugin”

  • Atish

    I too removed this plugin.

  • Gina

    I like being able to subscribe to thread of comments. I get too busy and forget, so I appreciate when I can be alerted to more responses in a thread.

  • jvdheuvel

    Our site was taken down for half a day by the hosting provider because of this plugin. It happened after we had a couple of posts with about 200 comments. The hosting provider didn’t like it and said it was “spam”. Only after removing the plugin (the hard way via plesk) and some screaming at the hosting provider we were allowed back online again.

    So I would suggest to use it wisely 😉

  • George Tee

    I don’t use the plugin. I think people are coming to a site because they love the site itself, the content, the web design. If people want to participate in a discussion, there is no need to remind them, they just do.

  • Steve

    I always thought subscribing to the comments through the RSS feed was a better ideal than through an email client.

  • Kathy

    Someone emailed me that they wanted me to close comments on older posts so they wouldn’t keep getting spam comments slipping through (Akismet does a great job, but not a perfect one). I’m thinking of removing the subscribe to comments plug-in as a result. Not sure how many people actually use it. I think there’s a way to tell who does, but I’m too lazy to look it up.

  • Matty

    I don’t use the plug-in, and I don’t subscribe to it on other blogs. I accidentally and without realizing it subscribed on a very popular blog, and the next day I had a go-zillion emails. It’s a shame that there isn’t a plug-in that allows you to subscribe to only those replies that are in relation to my specific comment only.

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