Seth Godin Backs Out of the Conversation

After turning on comments for one post and getting a response that most bloggers would cream over, Seth is now clarifying that he’s not turning on comments as a rule.

Judging from the response to my last post, some of my readers are itching to find a comment field on my posts from now on. I can’t do that for you, alas, and I thought I’d tell you why.

It really begs a couple of questions, is a blog without comments a blog? To his credit he leaves trackback turned on, which certainly enables a degree of interaction and interconnection. Most militants of the social-media revolution that is afoot believe that it should all be open, conversational, dare I say naked etc. But hey, Seths a well known author and doesn’t need to answer to anyone, he sells enough books without needing to “participate” in the conversation.

I think the reason Seth is getting flak is because he has been a poster child for new thinking in marketing since he wrote permission marketing, and many people who are jumping on the ‘new’ marketing/social-marketing co-creation bandwagon somehow believe that Seth should be leading that charge as well. Maybe Seth is more a follower of the ‘auteur’ theory of blogging, and not the co-creation theory.

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  1. Posted June 3, 2006 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    The most ironic thing is, this stance totally undermines his ‘stature’ as being any type of ‘expert’ on ‘new marketing’.

    ‘New marketing’ is all about EMBRACING and EMPOWERING your community, not ignoring them. This move does nothing but tick off his readers.

    As I said on my blog, he should have never left either of today’s posts. Alienating your community is never a wise thing to do.

  2. karl long
    Posted June 3, 2006 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I agree. One thing I wonder is if many of us have projected this role of ‘new marketing poster child’ onto Seth, and in the end he’s an author with one foot in social media, but it’s not like he wrote the cluetrain.


  3. Posted June 3, 2006 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  4. Posted June 3, 2006 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I like Seth a lot; I think he’s produced some great stuff. But I have always been puzzled about the comment thing, and I don’t buy his reasoning about how “anticipation of comments” changes what/how he writes. Huh? In my view, writers *always* write to an audience, whether they are vocal or silent. Any writer who doesn’t anticipate the audience is…well, just writing to him or herself.

    I was looking forward to Seth’s new blog. I guess I’ll just go back to reading his Web site.

  5. Posted June 3, 2006 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I can see where he has the luxury of being able to turn off comments. He is already a well known marketer and author and some one as popular as him may get overwhelmed with a huge number of comments in the “me too” category. Up until I heard of Seth I had a dislike for “marketers” based on past expeience as an employee and a loyal customer who knew certain marketers didn’t “get it” or were doing in wrong but I don’t have the same feeling about Seth. He has a lot of common sense.

    I admit I have gotten to the point where I have written my posts with the readers in mind and even have resorted to tricks to entice people to comment but alas nothing has worked yet. I know I am writing stuff people are interested in. I have had people talk to me in person about how they liked what I wrote but they never bothered to leave a comment. I’d love more than anything to leave comments on Seth’s blog but I’m thankful he has trackbacks turned on because in some ways I like using trackbacks as opposed to regular comments. They are better for me as a blogger who can take advantage of the technology but it’s not that useful to non-bloggers. I have clients and friends who are not bloggers ao I keep comments turned on in hopes the ball will eventually start rolling.

    My wife and I have our own business that is still in it’s early stages and feedback is crucial to us as we make decisions on what will work and what customers need.

    I respect Seth for his decision but I don’t have the same luxury he does.

  6. karl long
    Posted June 3, 2006 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the huge response will make him rethink his comment policy. I mean, that’s got to be the most talked about post today with 39 comments and 15 trackbacks, let me tell you that will equate into a spike in traffic no matter what. Also look at the comments Joseph Jaffe, Jackie Hubba, David, Mack, Johnny Moore, Ann… not a bad group.

    As for getting comments on your own blog, first focus on putting stuff out that you are passionate about, comment on other peoples blog (as you just did), and don’t sweat it. Try and ask questions, but try to have a point of view.


  7. Posted June 4, 2006 at 7:36 am | Permalink
  8. Posted June 4, 2006 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    When is a blog not a blog? As Ann says, when it is a website. But, as an experiment on the viral and dynamic impact of social networking, Seth’s about face has been a wild success. I hope he was using some new analytic tool to measure it!

  9. Graham Hill
    Posted June 4, 2006 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Seth has made a very good living out of a continuous flow of simple, well-packaged ideas and a whole lot of marketing motherhood & apple pie. Other than the Permission Marketing & Ideavirus books, IMHO, not all that much of what Seth has to say is either original or new. That isn’t to say that it isn’t interesting.

    Intended or otherwise, Seth seems to be a great example of what Tom Peters in a Fast Company article called “The Brand Called You” (

    There doesn’t seem be much room for conversation in the brand called Seth Godin? More’s the pity.

  10. Posted December 11, 2006 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I think that Seth has written some great books and has seen success that many other authors can only dream about. I don\’t think he\’ll be intimidated by mere mortals like us!

  11. Posted December 11, 2006 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Keep posting like this! I enjoyed reading and come back, that’s 4 sure!



  12. Posted October 26, 2007 at 2:13 am | Permalink


2 Trackbacks

  • By on June 4, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Much ado about comments…

    Mathew Ingram sums it up best:
    Web 2.0 — or whatever we’re calling it nowadays — is supposed to be about the conversation, isn’t it? It’s not much of a conversation if you’re the only one talking, a point I have tried to make several times…

  • By Across the Sound on June 5, 2006 at 6:11 am

    ATS #35 – The New Marketing Podcast with JJ and the Tugger from American Copywriter…

    A three-way with myself, John and Tug (from American Copywriter) We basically ignore shownotes, including Winners Losers. The good news is that we decided midstream that this will be part 1 and part 2 will take place in a couple…

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