Blog Commenting Platforms: The Bad and The Good

 

I have been recently debating on the best comment system for My Time Matters Blog. Granted there are only three commonly used ones to pick from … well, five if you include the standard WordPress comment system and Echo – won’t be discussing this one as it’s not free and is still a work in progress. What are these main comment platforms? They are: IntenseDebate, Disqus, Livefyre and WordPress.
livefyre disqus intensedebate blogThe main reason that got me thinking about the switch to a new comment system was the fact that Klout.com will be implementing Livefyre and Disqus to their social influence algorithm. Even though Klout is still in beta and will be for a long period of time, it is becoming a to go source of influential breakdown. If you’re into stats and online exposure then picking either of the two would be a route to take.

The second reason for my switch is the fact that IntenseDebate (comment system used by My Time Matters Blog for over two years) has been bugging out more than usual. Many commenters complained that after they wrote their comment, when they either pressed submit or reply the comment would disappear. With that in mind, they didn’t feel the need to re-comment so useful information and content has been getting lost. That being said, IntenseDebate team has been on top of things with their updates, whether there is a new patch, update or a change in wordpress … they are the first ones to update their comment system to the current version.

Before we settle on the “best” comment system lets briefly touch down on all of them, since each blog has a different end goal in mind and one comment system over the other may suit it better.

IntenseDebate


The Good -

  • Improved commenting system. One of the features is the threading where one can reply directly to a specific comment with nested replies. Blog Admit will receive alerts for replies and new comments. Another distinctive feature is the admin can reply or moderate the comments via email. Users can also put smiley emoticons and check their spelling before posting.

  • Improved administration tools and powers. The admin can choose the Auto-filter comments by keyword, email and IP addresses. At the same time, the admin can blacklist by auto-deleting comments with certain keywords, email and IP addresses or ban users from posting. Akismet system will help prevent spamming. These tools are  important as the blogmaster can easy identify the IP of the spammer and blacklist them.

  • Improved social commenting. Intense Debate allows users to post comments using services like Facebook, Twitter and OpenID. They can also sign up for an IntenseDebate profile or simply comment as a Guest.

  • Improved sharing tools. With the sharing buttons, one can share the post to Facebook, Delicious, Yahoo Buzz, Myspace, Windows Live Favourite, Twitter, Digg, Google bookmarks, Reddit, Stumbleupon and Bebo.

  • CommentLuv and other useful sharing widgets can be integrated for higher user exposure.

The Bad -

  • If you are emphasizing on SEO, Intense Debate uses Javascript system which will be of disadvantages in term of SEO.
  • Replies are hidden and you have to click the ‘Replies’ text to expand them. Replies were already shown for pages with few comments, but were not shown for those with many comments.
  • The bugs seem to never go away with every update, comments don’t always show up after they have been submitted … although it’s a rare occasion.

Disqus


The Good -

  • Lots of login options. You can use just about any of your login credentials (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc). Of course, you can still post comments anonymously if you choose to.
  • Looks nice and clean, the customizeable CSS is a big plus.
  • Community box gives everyone a summary view of the activity and people participating on the site.
  • Fully compatible with mobile websites for commenting while on the go.
  • It’s popular. Lots of websites use it; therefore, many people know what they’re dealing with when they see Disqus logo in the comment section of a blog.
  • Reactions. In addition to showing comments, Disqus also shows a list of who mentioned the blog post on Twitter (which they call a “reaction”).

The Bad -

  • Not as customizable as Intense Debate. Can’t add any content of your own to the layout.
  • By default, it inherits the blog’s main theme style sheet. Editing CSS for Disqus takes much longer than customizing.
  • All URLs in comments are auto-linked. Disqus creates a hyperlink to all text that ends with a typical suffix ie. “.com”. This is kind of a big issue for some users when their blog deals with scam websites. It is nofollow, but it would be nice to see the hyperlinks disable feature.
  • The Help section is lacking. There just isn’t that much information in their knowledge base, especially for CSS help.

Livefyre


The Good -

  • Extends it’s real-time commenting to mobile platforms.
  • Provides real-time “new comment” pop-ups to let you know when someone has posted a new comment.
  • Turns URLs into links
  • User ratings and comment voting
  • Nested replies
  • Full profile includes an Activity Stream (previous comments), links to user’s Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts, author bio and more.
  • Tag any of your friends on Facebook and Twitter and notify them of your comment.
  • Very responsive customer service team; good stories about their team helping out users via Twitter and other social media streams.
  • Supports blacklist / whitelist and spam control.

The Bad -

  • Doesn’t always synchronize comments back to WordPress on a WordPress Network.
  • Comments are visible without Javascript, but you can’t comment. Maybe this is another WordPress Network glitch, or a WordPress 3.x conflict. But when a site is visited without Javascript enabled, LiveFyre will show the comments, but it’s impossible to post a new comment.
  • No subscriptions for guests. If someone wants to leave a comment and subscribe to a reply, they must either use a social-media account or create a LiveFyre account. Requiring someone to have an account in order to comment is bad ethics on the Web.
  • No email addresses in email notifications. If someone leaves a comment and one need to respond privately, LiveFyre completely hides the email address, disallowing the private conversation through email.

disqus vs livefyre vs intensedebate comment system

WordPress


The Good -

  • The comments load quickly and performance is good.
  • Comment is not based on an external system and is likely to rarely have technical problems.
  • It’s used by many blogs now which means you can seamlessly comment on all of them.
  • CommentLuv intergration supports strong backlinks.
  • At minimum 30 plugins to enhance the wordpress commenting experience. Ranging from comment rating to integrated media files such s YouTube.
  • Opt-in email list support from services like Aweber, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.
  • Mobile friendly

The Bad -

  • WordPress has a perfectly adequate commenting system built-in. But it can quickly grow unwieldy and commenting can take up a lot of system resources if you run a high-volume site.
  • Lack of log-in features via social media networks.
  • Commenter interaction is lacking many user friendly features such as real-time commenting and user profiles.
  • Mobile interface doesn’t always show up properly and bugs out when there are additional plugins attached.
  • Lack of analytics.

These are just the basic bullets regarding the most commonly used comment platforms and granted; there are a lot of missing key features. With that in mind, I recommend using either Livefyre or Disqus as their communities are constantly increasing and the fact that they will be influencing Klout score is a cherry on top. Currently Disqus has an Alexa rank of 1,200 and Livefyre at 4,200 … these are very close numbers since both comment platform user bases are in the millions. But Livefyre has been around a shorter period of time opposed to Disqus.

I ended up going with Livefyre for My Time Matters Blog because of its sharing features, analytics, increased community growth, simple moderation, mobile integration, SEO friendliness and better customer support.

What are your thoughts on these comment platforms and which one do you like the most yourself?

Note: Playing around with Disqus right now … could it be better? Look out for another post. Although temporary switch has been made to test out the commenting systems some more.

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  • DipBiswas

    It is give best results for my website.

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    Livefyre = Awesome.

  • Fuzzy Frisson

    I’m in the midst of setting up my own WordPress discussion blog, so need a reliable comments system to install.  Hitherto, as a commenter on other sites I’ve been more used to Disqus than Livefyre, mostly because it’s the more popular choice for bloggers (and so I have a more robust reputation associated with my Disqus account than Livefyre).
     
    However, since its major update, what has griped me a bit is its alteration of the comments rating feature, allowing people to negatively rate.  My main reason for not liking that – just like on YouTube and even Amazon reviews – is that it encourages a lot of politicisation among commenters, so people tend to vote down others purely on personal dislike rather than the actual quality and helpfulness to whatever debate.  I much preferred Disqus when it allowed for strictly positive rating and short of manipulation with jQuery (which I wouldn’t really want to risk), I’m aware I wouldn’t be able to disable it.
     
    So with that out of the equation, which of the others in the running here would be best for a reliable, flexible comments system that will also allow for equitable debating?  Is it Livefyre after all?

    • http://vitalyvt.com/ vitalyvt

      @Fuzzy Frisson You make valid points … after all I believe that livefyre is something you should install and see how it works out for your discussion blog, it’s always improving (not saying that Disqus isn’t). Although with everything you’ve mentioned, Livefyre seems like a legitimate commenting system for you. Let me know how it works out.

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  • http://www.vpntutorials.com/ RyanG

    Why does it say 243 Comments at the top of this post but there are actually no post shown here? Is that a bug of livefyre?

    • http://vitalyvt.com/ vitalyvt

      RyanG yeah – there was a glitch, maybe one of my plugins caused it … however livefyre tech support took care of the issue in a timely manner.

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    Thanks!

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  • lclemence

    is there one of these that can integrate your own smiley?

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    Intense debate is one og the good for blog commenting platform…i liked it …

  • Rob Willey

    This was a great summary and I read it
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  • Karen Smith

    Dear Vitaly,

    I liked what you said about IntenseDebate team has been on top of things
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    I feel Disqus is the best one here! ID is too buggy

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    I’m looking at installing either Disqus or LiveFyre on my site Blind Man’s Puff but I don’t know if there is any way to capture email addresses for mailchimp like with the native app. Anyone know?

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    The best stuff rises to the top so that you don’t miss it. The best way to discuss. Disqus is the gold standard when it comes to web comments, great post, thanks for the post..

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    disqus comment’s style has no resemblance to my website’s content. there is absolutely no way to change the css of their design to correct this. it makes me look bad and it makes them look bad. this is unacceptable.

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    Great commenting platforms. Disqus and Intense debate are my favourite ones. I use them on my sites: http://www.seranking.com. I don’t like WordPress commenting system. It seems like the comments never are approved there!

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    I do like Disqus but do wonder how easy the moderation is looking at the spam comments below…

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    @Curtman40 not a bad choice … let me know how you like it if you do decide to give it a whirl.