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Blog Comment Systems Galore

What a difference (less than) two years make! Here I was complaining about losing half the conversation …. two months later three comment tracking services debuted: coComment , MyComments and co.mments. Of these three, coComment developed decent traction.

Fast forward a year or so, and we have an abundance of comment tracking / conversational tools: TechCrunch just announced Intense Debate:

…a souped-up blog commenting system that adds a lot of features for publishers and commenters alike. Installing the plug-in on your blog (WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad) adds threading, comment analytics, bulk comment moderation across all your blogs, user reputation, and comment aggregation.

TechCrunch mentions JS-Kit, SezWho, and Tangler as competitors. But on the very same day Fred Wilson announced another commenting system:

I am lending a new startup a hand by letting them showcase their new comment system on this blog.
I don’t know how much I am supposed to say about them, so I’ll stay silent on them for now.

Based on some similarities (at least at first glance) I thought it was Intense Debate skinned somewhat differently – but after all, there was a little logo leading to Disqus: another commenting/ conversation system.

Choices, choices … what’s a poor blogger to do? smile_eyeroll

Update: I’ve met – online – Josh from Intense Debate and Daniel from Disqus. The dilemma still stands (hm, should I say I’m intensely debating which one to try ;-)) but in the meantime I’ve found this video on Daniel’s blog. It’s absolutely off-topic, and absolutely worth watching (till the very end, or you’ll miss the point):

Comments

  1. I think that disqus is from Y Combinator… it will be fun to watch the two start-ups compete (one techstar, one y combinator).

    I was on the same page as you thinking that one was just a skinned version of the other. Weird.

  2. Kristina says:

    Zoli: Thanks for the post! Very interesting indeed that the space is heating up. Comments/Conversations are so important, so glad to see few offerings.

    coComment has been around the longest and just launched a V2 Beta, adding few really great and sophisticated features. Also, the full V2 will be launching in near future, with even more features … One of the benefits I think of the service being around a long time is the number of conversations it’s already tracking. Not only you can track your own comments, but can also discover great conversations that other users are involved in. Hope this helps! Lets see how it turns out …

  3. I’ve been using CoComment for quite awhile now and can’t live without it. Its quite the killer app for me. A huge time saver…

  4. Hi Zoli. First WOW. That video! So many things I’d like to write about THAT!

    On commenting, however… I have been using CoComment for quite some time. It’s not perfect, as some of my comments don’t seem to show up there for some reason, but it is handy. Intense Debate looks great. I like a lot of the features, but to be frank, I’m not sure I really like all this rating and ranking. It’s great for strong bloggers like you who are always on (in a brilliant way), witty, and highly connected. Dullards like me who won’t ever have a lot of traffic and seem to leave dopey messages around the community don’t want to always be reminded in rankings of how insignificant they are. ;-) In other words, not everyone can be an A-lister. And not all bloggers can have A-listers commenting on their blogs. The rating/ranking thing puts pressure on the blogging phenomenon that takes some of the fun out of it.

    So, how did I rank?

    See?

  5. Susan, your ranked well, as usual :-)

    Good points on the ranking. I think voting comments up/down is an interesting feature – but perhaps instead of building up cumulative points, one that shows the average score per comments left would be a better indicator (?)

  6. Hey everyone, this is Isaac Keyet, designer from Intense Debate.

    To me the rating and voting of our comment system is actually a benefit for those who are the “underdogs” of the blogging community. The idea is that you can actually be a great content creator as a _commenter_, but maybe not as a blogger. It should also help you gain reputation for your blog, as all of your comments always link back to your blog. And a good comment + good reputation = More traffic to your blog, and more respect in both the commenting and the blogging sphere!

    (This is just my personal take on the issue. And I’d love to have this discussion in a threaded ID Comments system some day.) :)

  7. Isaac,

    Yes, I agree, in fact I made that point myself in an earlier post, i.e. people who don’t author their own blog can become very active in blog conversations via commenting.

    But Susan is also right… perhaps the ideal world is showing two scores: whan is cumulative, it really indicates how active you are commenting, the other is qualitative, it showes your average score per comment, whether it’s 5 or a thousand?

    Yes, I am missing threaded comments (my previous blog platform, Blogware handled it well – but it had enough other flaws for me to migrate to WordPress). I need to figure out a few things before taking the plunge, though…

  8. It is a very good point. We did consider something like that early on in the process, but simply decided that yet another factor might just be too much for the general commenter, not used to our system, to take in. But again, now that it’s brought up again, I definately think we should see what we can do about it. It is indeed a very good point.

    I hope you get your threads soon, wether it’s from us or someone else. Threads 4 life!

  9. Threads 4 life! – LOL. Check your email…

  10. Agree that reputation is becoming an important issue. coComment I heard is coming out with a system that ranks the quality of the comments, so it’s not just based on volume or who you are connected to. In this case, if a particular comment is valuable, despite volume, it will get a higher ranking. Not sure when this will be out, but I hope in near future …

  11. I don’t know… guys. Reputation is arbitrary, subjective. In addition, the potential for gaming the results on commenting is definitely a risk. For example, my friend Sam is new at blogging, but I like him, so I will give him a high rating to get him kick started… Maybe this would even out over time in the wisdom of the crowds. More importantly, I still think rating comments by quality might discourage those of us in the lower-mid tier of bloggers (or maybe I’m trying to say low-mid IQ!) who generally have mundane things to say, but still want to contribute. If I repeatedly see myself being broadcast as a non-playa, chances are I’ll stop coming to the party.

  12. I have been trying to use coComment for a bout 2 weeks now. I do like the way it helps me get back to comments and threads I added to. I do not like how it hangs my computer and causes comments I make to be lost.

    I will look very carefully at any other system before I try it.

  13. @Roger: coComment ran into some unexpected bugs during their transition to the new version, V2 Beta. Most of the major bugs have been solved, but still running a little slow, and should be back up to normal by the end of the week. Sorry you’ve had to experience these problems, but they were related to this major update of the product and the team is working very hard and fixing everything as soon as possible!

  14. Kristina – I will give it another try. Perhaps an email note to users about this trouble would have been better than keeping us in the dark and hoping we did not notice.

    So far, I have not liked the upgrade much. There are so many new things all over that I have a hard time just getting to the list of comments.

  15. Roger: Thanks for the feedback! We did post a lot of info on our blog, but I totally understand that a lot of people don’t have the time to go to the blog, so e-mail is a good suggestion. We have already made a few changes from the original V2 Beta design, based on user feedback, so please keep it coming! I will take a note of your comment above and will send it over to the dev team. For anything else, feel free to post on our blog or e-mail me directly at kristina@cocomment.com. Thanks again!

  16. Hey guys, Josh here from Intense Debate. I am Isaac’s partner. Our reputation solution is certainly not finalized. We enjoy user input on how to solve this question. It is something we need, it is just a matter of how to fix it. Zoli, I just emailed you back.

    Top three reasons to use Intense Debate:
    1)We are a comprehensive solution. We provide all our features within the comments, inline with the post. It is only the publisher that has to install anything. No commenters have to install a plug-in of any sort.

    2)We focus on the publisher. We don’t try to takeaway attention from the publisher’s page by posting the exact same thing on our site. The mothersite is there to tie everything together. We want to bring MORE traffic to the publishers blog, not leach off of it. That is why we “partner” with publishers.

    3)With us, the user does not have to change their behavior. They simply comment as they normally would without clicking any buttons. There is no downloading of a browser button, and only a ten second account creation that takes the same amount of time as signing in on most blogs. (If it takes longer, we want to know)

    I hope this helps. Cheers.

  17. I still think the greatest benefit is where the users already are. coComment has large user base and more than 10M conversations being tracked already. Last, most existing services, including coComment, do drive traffic to the publisher’s site (do not take it away), so I don’t see that as a differentiating point. Thanks!

  18. Cool. Had to try you comment system :-)

    http://hassewehner.blogspot.com/

  19. uuuww big fight : )

  20. I have not liked the upgrade much. There are so many new things all over that I have a hard time just getting to the list of comments.

  21. I like the upgrade, much better :)

  22. I am looking for commenting system , but looks like all commenting system try to be a parent commenting system and end up drawing traffic to there site.

    My search continues : )

  23. @Veresh,

    I lot changed since I wrote this over a year ago. Both Disqus and Intense Debate added features, and I believe support exporting your comments back to the blog directly, should you wish to stop using them.

  24. Hi Zoli, its true that both the comments systems added new features that helps to get more traffic.

  25. i think, that the new comment system generate more traffic. i think the traffic comes from the search engines like google, with the long tail keywords.

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