100 Comments or Bust

I’ve written about "social media optimization" in the past. This is the crude social media dashboard I have on the bottom of every blog post.


I wish the technorati link and the outside.in link would show how many links there are to the post and the geotags that have been applied. I wish there was a way to show how many times the post was reblogged in tumblr and commented on in friendfeed. But even as it is, it tells me a lot.

Lately, I’ve been thinking that the number of comments is the most important data point and it’s also the one that google and other web services seem to ignore the most.

About once a week, I’ll do a post that generates over 100 comments. And it’s almost always the best post of the week. I should create a page/feed called "The Best of AVC" that is limited to the posts that generate 100 comments or more. Maybe I’ll do that when I get my new domain and new design.

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#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. David Sonenberg

    I have seen a lot of talk about how blogs are a way to filter information, so it would make sense that comments are a way to filter blogs.

  2. Peter

    or you could just label them ‘Most Active’. that’s pretty common.

  3. NinoT

    For what’s it worth, I’m not sure how many of your readers care about the design of your blog. I read all my blog posts – including yours – via Google Reader. The only time I go to the actual blog is to comment.Since many of your users fall into the early adopter crowd and probably have similar browsing habits – you may want to take a quick poll before you invest too much time/effort on a blog redesign.

    1. falicon

      I read this (and most) blogs the same way…I’m wondering if Disqus has ‘most popular’ features for all of their stuff (both related to your specific blog and related to the overall world of blogs they are plugged into)…seems like they should.I know they haven’t released all of their API yet (I’m especially waiting for them to get the ‘get_user_posts’ part out so I can let people fubnub it), but once they do I’m pretty sure there are going to be a lot of really interesting things people will do with mashing up of comments and using the related data to filter, sort, and improve upon everyone’s blog experience…

      1. ceonyc

        Funny! Great minds think alike! I was just thinking that Disqus should definitely great a disqus.com/popular page full of the most commented on posts. del.icio.us used to use a recency factor as well on its popular page.Too bad people don’t rate comments more. Perhaps if the publisher responded by e-mail with “+1” that could count for a vote, and then I could Fubnub my “Comments of the Week” automatically with the ones that had gotten extra votes on.

    2. kid mercury

      c’mon now, fred’s a blog star, he can’t be rollin’ up to the game with a template design and somebody else’s domain name. that’d be like showing up to the oscars in your pajamas.

    3. fredwilson

      well here are the stats:i get about 4k visits per day on the web and about 3.2k visits to my feedso the web is slightly more popular

  4. MarkHarrison

    Clearly it would be easy to add a tag / category to your OWN posts and therefore come up with a feed that showed them.Surely, more interesting would be a blog aggregator that looked across a large number of blogs and ran what for the want of a better word would be a “CommentRank” – clearly having more “interesting” bloggers comment on your blog is better than having, well, me.I’m now wondering whether there are enough APIs that a new cloud-based service could wander out and do this quickly :-)M.

    1. Glenn Gillen

      Sounds a lot like what Ilya and the guys are doing over at AideRSS, to a certain extent. I’d be overwhelmed without it filtering the rubbish out of many of my more “noisy” feeds.

    2. dominic

      @MarkHarrisonOur application does exactly that !As an example, we’ve aggregated 4500 blogs on Food&Wine, we’ve automatically id the most influencial blogs and are also gathering compete ranking and frequency of posting along with various info like social profile (linkedn,facebook) of the blogger and ad networks the blog belongs to.We also have “workgroup” iteraction with the community so that a group of people can collectively comment and track their influence in a community.Here is a link on our blog with a short study: http://blog.ecairn.com/2008

  5. ckstevenson

    I’d love it if you could tag/flag those comments you think are the best, and that they’d then show up in the posts feed via RSS, and they would be clearly visible as “the best” on your blog. Seeing that there are 44 comments on a post is nice, but knowing that you think 8 are really good would get a lot more people to go read them (and comment on them!). 100 comments on a post causes me to not read the comments, there are too many for me to weed through.

    1. andyswan

      Agree. Smart idea.

  6. tmarman

    On the other hand, I’ve noticed a completely opposite phenomenon. Most of my “best” posts have a few, insightful comments (though I get very few comments relative to your blog).Curiously, many of my “throwaway” posts – like when I vented about how DHL sucks, wrote a quick album review, or talked about locker room etiquette – get tons of comments. My “most active” are, in many ways, not what my blog is about, and I have to think this is relatively common for those of us outside the “A List”.On a related note, I have to imagine as Mark Harrison alluded to, that many of those 44 comments are just people who are putting in a “me too”. Then there are those blog comments which you talked about that become posts in their own right. And often I stay out of the comments when there are two many simply because there’s too much noise and I feel like my response is easily lost.

  7. zburt

    i will be very upset if this post gets 100 comments

  8. gregorylent

    what odds that this post will get a hundred 🙂 … i think you are heading towards a daily average of a hundred …

  9. RacerRick

    the new blog – on Tumblr?

    1. fredwilson

      No, a new design and new url still hosted here at typepadThat assumes all my plans work outFred

  10. Martin Owen

    There are a whole bunch of ideas developed over the past 10 years from the sociable media group at MIT Media lab on visualized representation of intensity of discussion in sociable media. I recall chat circles is something that represents by intesity and size the most intense conversations in a chat room site. it is comparable to walking into a party or reception and making decision about which group to join, Sometimes the biggest and brightest is the one to join – but your voice may be small in that company. Smaller conversations might be of less general interest but may be both more salient for you and your voice would proportionately have more weight.

  11. RacerRick

    The number of blog comments is a really good measure of the quality of a post. (I get none – what does this say about me?)However, you can put up a crappy political-related post and get 3x the normal number of comments.

  12. jackson

    Comments as a meter only serves as a measure of your post’s commentability. Cerainly if you’re after discourse, as I know you are, then the number of comments is a good gauge of success. Sometimes I read great posts that don’t leave the reader with much to say besides “great post”. I wish that everybody who reads my blog would comment, but so few do. As you know, at times I’ll toss up a contentious post just to get some action.

  13. Andy Lee Graham

    I have a large Travel Blog, I believe the opposite is true, the best blog post are when you get zero comments and you feel you explained a great observation that nobody has observed or even considered. When I get a lot of comments is when I write about a topic that is trendy and really ot new information. I suppose I could write about Social Networks like Twitter, Facebook or these common themes you seem to repeat and I would get tons of comments. I skip these topics and see them as just fad, trendy, and irrelevant, I have not desire to be the King of a Social Network, seems to be the same as being the star in a Soap Opera.Many comments just means everyone can relate, understand and knows a lot about the post, this is not cutting edge thinking, it is not novel and is not new observations, just a lot of people who can agree…Andy of HoboTraveler.com in Thailand in transit to Africa

  14. Dan Weinreb

    I agree. Having a lot of comments is a moderately useful proxy for how interesting the post is, and how many people are going to be interested in following a link to it. Perhaps you can persuade technorati to list the number of comments, if there’s a technical way for them to determine it efficiently.

  15. Antman

    ABSOLUTLEY FRED!!!!!! With out a doubt comments are the greatest measure of a posts value. At cre8Buzz we heavily weight comments when creating buzzrank.Comments are consideration for good content.. The more valuable the content, the more comments it earns. Good content compells people to express themselves. Creating content that does this is not easy.It’s not about whether a post is good or a post is bad, but rather a measure of how much a post impacts people enought to express themselves. In a world where people have little time to do anything, getting them to stop and leave a comment clearly is an impressive feat.