The Internet Surname Database
We have been running the DiscussIt threaded comments widget on the SurnameDB site since the end of January. The site gets a good amount of traffic and therefore makes an ideal partner site for us, so I thought I’d give some details on how it’s going and what we have learned so far.
The SurnameDb had a comments system before it was replaced by DiscussIt, this system was built into the application and required a visitor to create an account before they could post. We decided to implement the DiscussIt widget using the ‘post moderation’ option so that visitors could just type in their message and enter their name to post.
By removing the registration barrier we imediately saw a ten fold increase in the number of messages posted. On the whole we have found that post moderation works well for the SurnameDB site, most days see just one or two messages being withdrawn as inappropriate. Although occasionally a thread is taken over by school children for a bit of online fun (presumably SurnameDB is used to solve that home work question of what does your surname mean), but these have been easy enough to nip in the bud using the moderation tools.
A lot of the comments posted on SurnameDB provide good additional information and insight on the origins of the names. By using some server side code we have been able to expose this information to the search engines. SurnameDB relies heavily on the search engines to provide traffic, so this additional content is providing very valuable search engine juice.
Because the widget is set to allow anonymous posts we are seeing only about 2% of commenter’s logging in. This is disappointing, since we would like to see the profile data filling out for the commentators there by creating more trust between visitors and a better sense of community. However we hope that we can improve this by providing better profile views and other login benefits, within the widget.
We will continue to work with SurnameDB to improve the commenting community and the traffic generated by the DiscussIt widget. If you would like to see what we could do to help your site please get in touch.