I'm finding the heat that Seth Godin, well known author and marketing SME, is taking is fascinating. You on the other hand may not, so I'll keep this short.
On June 3rd, Seth wrote a blog that was part tongue and cheek and part serious about how to increase traffic on your blog (BTW - I was going to write a similar one) and opened up the blog to comments. In this rare openness on his blog he received 43 comments as of this writing which is awesome. However, following up that post he added a second one that explains his rationale for not allowing posts on his site. This set off a firestorm in the blog world. Here's the expert from his site:
Not for me, though. First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning. Second, it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them. And finally, and most important for you, it permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters. I'm already itching to rewrite my traffic post below. So, given a choice between a blog with comments or no blog at all, I think I'd have to choose the latter.
A person I respect and fellow Marketing Profs Daily Fix blogger Mack Collier has written 2 posts, one over at his The Viral Garden blog and one over at Beyond Madison Avenue on why that seems contradictory especially for a blog. I have to agree with Mack's view for the most part, but if Seth doesn't want to let comments in for whatever reason or because he is too busy, than that's fine. Readers know you can't go to his blog for an open conversation. I started thinking, well what's got everyone so fired up? Arrogance? Maybe, but that can't be the whole story can it? He obviously doesn't need or care about the traffic.
You know what I think is driving this backlash? By Seth not allowing comments on his blog he is thumbing his nose at conversational marketing or social marketing. He seems to be breaking an unwritten rule that you MUST have comments if you run a blog and if you don't go back and forth in the comments section then, is their such a thing as social or conversational marketing? If you have a blog with only one way conversations than is it just a plain old static website? And if a famous marketing expert and author with a HUGE internet following doesn't allow comments, then is the entire Web 2.0 strategy and conversational marketing just nothing but hype?
I think the answer is no. If Seth Godin doesn't allow comments because he can't or won't respond then so be it. Who says the conversation needs to take place on his website? He still offers trackbacks so the conversation can continue to grow elsewhere, spreading out like the 5 strawberry plants that now have taken over my entire backyard.
I don't think the conversation just stops because it can't occur in the spot it started in. Doesn't Web 2.0 with tags, trackbacks, diggs, search, etc mean that anyone, anywhere, and at anytime can continue the conversation elsewhere?