Disqus and Intense Debate: Sharing comments across the web

Disqus and Intense Debate are two new blog commenting systems going into public beta today. There are many such services, and none of them have really taken off.

However, these latest companies could help connect conversations in new ways, including by aggregating blog comments on popular social networks that are opening to developers.

Some sites, like coComment, offer features such as forums that are focused around generating a conversation on its own site. Meanwhile, sites like SezWho (we have it in place, below) provide cross-blog commenter profiles.

Both of these new companies take a two-pronged approach. They are both plugins for blog platforms like Blogger or TypePad, and both want to improve the flow of conversation within a blog post’s comment section with comment rankings and threads, and other features, like SezWho. They also both let commenters track their conversations across multiple blogs, like CoComment.

Disqus also offers an API so third parties can access blog comments and include them with other sites. With many social networks already looking to let third parties access their data, perhaps this API could lead to the duplication of comments on blogs and comments on news aggregators like Digg, or on social networks. Users of sites like Myspace or Facebook will discuss blog posts at length, without any of those conversations going back to the blog. For example, on a Facebook post that features a blog post, commenters on that posts aren’t revealed within the original blog’s comments.

So far, we haven’t seen or experienced a clear case of any commenting system producing more traffic for blogs, or more comments. But maybe they could.

After all, bloggers need to recognize a potential return if they are to go through the effort of installing the plugin.

These services also have some other differences. For example, Intense Debate lets you log in via OpenID. Disqus has a central forum so you can see what’s popular on the site. Disqus also comes with a hosted, white-label forum that blogs can introduce, if they want.

Both let you receive updates to threads you’ve commented on via email or RSS, and reply by email to comment again on the past. Disqus shows you the most popular or recent comments from across the blogs you read. CoComment, meanwhile, doesn’t have as advanced of a plugin.

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