An Update On The Consumerist’s Commenting System

It’s been several weeks since we discovered a security issue involving systems maintained by our former hosting provider and not only switched hosts but also made the difficult decision to shut down commenting while we search for the best possible solution. We realize that many of our readers are very upset about the lack of comments. We’d like to take a moment to share our progress and explain a little bit about what is going on behind the scenes.

While our new hosting provider, WordPress.com VIP, would allow us to use their built-in commenting system, the terms would not be consistent with a promise we have made and want to keep. Consumerist does not allow third-parties to collect individual personally identifiable user data for various commercial purposes. Many sites allow this, and that’s OK, but it’s just not the right thing for us.

Disqus, a relatively low-cost commenting option that readers have suggested, poses similar issues for us in terms of the privacy promises we make to our users. We were not able to negotiate mutually acceptable terms that would allow us to make use of these systems on our site.

As part of Consumer Reports, we don’t fund the Consumerist through outside advertising, so we are looking into providing comments at reasonable and sustainable cost without compromising this core “no advertising” principle that has stood for over 75 years. Most, if not all, sites of our size pay for their comments with revenue earned from accepting advertising, sponsorships or other corporate support. We do not

Thus, it is somewhat likely that we will have to build some or all of these pieces ourselves. If so, we may have to hire new staff members with the appropriate technical expertise, etc. These things take time to do right.

Our team has been busy importing the archives and will next focus on restoring user registration and comments. We’ll post further updates when we have a rough time frame to share with you.

In the meantime, we’d like to invite you to share your thoughts on our new comments system by emailing our team at suggestionbox@consumerist.com. Even if you didn’t comment on the old site, we’d love to hear what you think. Did you like reading the comments? Would you like to see more interactivity? What features do you think we should have? What would you like to be able to do on Consumerist?

Thanks for your patience and support, and a special thanks to those of you who subscribe to Consumer Reports and/or donate to support Consumerist.