21 Feb 2017
Disqusting Behaviour
“Disqus Pimping Out Users for Ad Revenue”
Image Credit: tembisan.co.za

The astute reader will notice that the comments on this 'ere Electronic Emporium of Ennui are no longer powered by Disqus [and no, I’m not going to give the fuckers a free link!]

A few days ago, while I was trying to track down the address of some website or other, I remembered that I’d once linked to it from one of the comments on this site. So I came here to retrieve the link. When I clicked on it, instead of being taken to the site in question, I was confronted with this:


In explanation:

I have uBlock Origin installed in all my browsers; a handy plugin which blocks adverts and other such bandwidth-leeching shite, which are the shit splashes on the face of the intarwebs. That error screen showed me that uBlock Origin was doing it’s stuff and had prevented the link I’d clicked on in the comment, from sneakily redirecting through viglink.com —which, as you’ll doubtless have guessed, turns out to be a stinking ad-slinging network [again, no freebie links from me!].

Wondering if that was a one-off, I checked around other comments on this site and found that every single link in every single comment had been hijacked and rerouted via viglink.com.

Now, at no time, have I received anything from Disqus, saying they were about to do this. Nor did they mention anything about the possibility of doing this when I signed up for their service. In fact, when you sign up for Disqus, there is even an option to "not show ads in my comments" —which you’d expect would be taken as a pretty robust indication of your attitude towards any kind of advertising junk being shat into your website.

Nor am I the only person to have been taken aback by this unannounced and underhand behaviour by Disqus. There is a [heavily censored] thread about it on their support forums here.

Well, I don’t know about the rest of the Disqus-using world but, I for one, am too old to be pimped out like the proverbial "two-bit hooker" in order to steer punters towards and through Disqus’s grubby ad revenue stream. Especially since all I’m getting in return is a bloated piece of junk that runs like a dog and eats up more resources than the rest of my websites put together.

Disqus Inc. Board Meeting

As chance would have it, I’ve been meaning to get rid of Disqus for ages now. But, as with many things in life, never got around to it. So, in a way, it was good that this happened, as it gave me the kick up the arse needed to get it done.

So, it’s "Adiós, Disqus. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!" and welcome to Isso, which is the self-hosted Python-based comments system, which I am using now. Isso also has a facility for importing existing Disqus comments, which is nice and meant I didn’t lose anything by kicking Disqus into the long grass.

Isso’s [minging] Logo

The jury’s still out on Isso. It was an absolute arse-fest to get it set up and working properly and, given it’s only been running a few days and Them’s Good Broth averages one visitor per millennium, I’ll have to wait til the next comment comes flooding in, sometime around 2068, to see how it performs.

But, meantime, "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty I am Disqus-free at last!"

UPDATE: I’ve written a sort of follow-up post to this one, wherein I run through the process I went through to replace Disqus with Isso on this 'ere blog. You can find it here: Adding Isso Comments To Hugo


TAGS: disquscommentsissopythonhijackingethicsadvertising


AUTHOR: stíobhart matulevicz

LAST MODIFIED: 25 Apr 2020  — REASON: "extract asciidoc preamble into separate file and include it"

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