At the risk of pissing some of you off, I’m going to go ahead and change the comment system here on the site. Why? Well, there’s a few reasons and I’m going to go over them all. First off, even though I love Disqus, I’ve recently had a little trouble with them. It looks like some people got mad about the controversial articles WildGoose wrote last month and tried to report my account. I don’t want to make this out to be more than it is, since the Disqus representative was really nice. I didn’t even get an official violation on my account. Still, this was a troubling sign. The emails are below, so feel free to read them for yourselves.
I do run ads down in the comment section, but to be honest, they don’t make that much money. The threat of losing the revenue isn’t that big of a deal, but the new commenting system we’re going to be using actually sought me out for months. They want me on their service. I’m assuming Spot.IM, the system I’m referring to, knows what I’m all about. If things change and they don’t want us, I can always go back to Disqus. I’m not getting rid of the that account. Not only that, old comments are supposed to be transferred over sometime this weekend, but we will of course see how that works in practice.
Spot.IM has several advantages over Disqus, which is another reason I wanted to try this switch. Here’s some examples…
What makes Spot.IM really unique is the way it acts like a cross-site social network. When a user registers, they create a general account for themselves, much like Disqus or any of the other big comment systems. This includes a sort of news feed; any blog the user comments on is added to their feed, so they can see updates either through a central hub or through the comments section on any participating site. This provides real time updates, too; if someone responds to a comment on site A, when the user is browsing site B, they will see the notification and can respond immediately without leaving their current location.
On top of this, it acts very much like an instant messenger. Spot.im has a “live typing” feature, much like instant messengers that notify your message recipient when you’re typing. This is great as an engagement boost. When you leave a comment and you see someone is typing a response, you stick around to see what that response is, you don’t just disappear. This turns single “hit and run” comments into longer, engaged conversations…
In practice, Spot.IM isn’t really like Facebook’s messenger or like an instant messenger. It’s actually a lot more like a sort of Twitter feed with an even more real-time, live refreshing setup. You can see it in action on the Entertainment Weekly site, for example. There’s a little blue button on the side of the page that shows when people are typing, and when you click it you’re presented with a news feed that looks a lot like a Twitter/Facebook hybrid feed. It has names, times of responses, messages, and the source article for the comment. It also shows other replies to that comment. You can even see certain commenters highlighted with a blue “influencer” star, a leader star, a contributor star, and more. It’s all very slick and, while robust, it’s also quite unobtrusive.
The really cool things about this system are the News Feed and the private messaging system. I can also blast out something called a Broadcast for breaking news events, live shows, or anything else of import. I have to say, at this early juncture, I’m personally excited about the new setup. I am fully aware that all of you might not be. If you want to comment, you can use your current Facebook account, your Twitter profile, or you can setup a Spot.IM account with an email address. Personally, I did the later, as you never can tell how long your social media profiles might last. You can also comment without making a profile, and I’m going to leave that option open for now (possibly forever). The system picks some random goofy name for you and lets you have at it.
Anyway, let me know what you guys think about all this. I know it’s a risk and I am losing out on a small amount of money as well, since Spot.IM doesn’t have advertising at this time. But, I think it makes the site more unique while giving all of you new features that you might enjoy. If things don’t go well, then I can always switch back. I am committed to giving it a solid trial period regardless, though, so don’t expect me to revert overnight. Feel free to leave any comments down below and I will be back soon with a regular post.