IntenseDebate: The Solution We’ve Been Waiting For?

Automattic, the company backing the WordPress blog platform, recently purchased the hosted commenting system IntenseDebate. Like they did with Gravatar, they will likely make it ridiculously easy to make the service work with your WordPress blog, while keeping it open to other platforms. Gravatar had a big leap in usage after Automattic purchased the service, perhaps we’ll see a similar effect with IntenseDebate?

Now why is this important?

If you create an account with IntenseDebate (totally optional when you comment on IntenseDebate-equipped blogs), you are given a profile that keeps track of your comments. This means that you can easily see where you’ve commented, allowing you to go back and read followup comments.

This is something I like to do, but it’s quite hard to keep track of where all I’ve left comments. I keep a bookmark folder in Firefox where I store links to comment threads I visited recently. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s the best I’ve used so far.

Imagine if a very large amount of blogs used IntenseDebate. You’d know where you left a comment, and be able to go back and read responses, maybe leave another reply. You could also see where your friends are leaving comments. This would allow you to participate more actively in web-wide discussions, and would probably increase comment rates on your own blog.

The service has a lot of other interesting features as well.

  • Threaded comments allow you to reply to a comment directly instead of saying “Hey @username, blah blah blah…”
  • Comment voting allows you to rate comments in a manner similar to the Digg and Reddit comment threads.
  • Import/Export system makes sure you can sync all your comments over to IntenseDebate, and if you wish to leave the service, move them back to your own server.
  • Gravatar is integrated, letting you use it for your IntenseDebate avatar, or you can upload a different image directly to IntenseDebate if you prefer.
  • OpenID is supported.

This isn’t a definitive list, but they’re some of the biggest, most interesting features, ones that really make the service interesting.

I’ve already seen a few blogs I read now and then add IntenseDebate, I wonder how many will follow their lead.

  • Blaine Moore

    This is the first I’ve heard of it…very neat idea. I’ve seen similar services before, but they never got the mass adoption that made them actually useful.

    Even if just blogs went over to it, it’d already have a good enough base of blogs to make it worth taking advantage of.

    • Matt

      I went and created an account for myself over there. If it does gain traction, I may implement the actual system here. We’ll see how this all turns out.

  • Jon

    Which leaves just one question, why aren’t you using it! ;)
    I’ve switched recently on Guitar Noize and so far no spam comments, I used to get up to 15 a day with my regular Expression Engine comments. Unfortunately it is not easy to import my old comments so I’m displaying old comments above ID comments on old posts.

    • Matt

      Rather than jumping on the bandwagon, I’d like to wait a little and see how it all works out for everyone else first. Just to be safe. :)

  • Naeem

    lovable idea. Great service. Working very nice on some of my blogs.
    Heavy, limited for broad band site visitors.

  • J08

    looks good ! I need to try

  • http://www.forexfreedownloadcom Jenny from the Block

    Looks cool, but the styling problem might be the biggest issue for me, as my blog is pretty heavily styled…

  • David

    Apart from all the features you mentioned in this post, I see that the username is DOFOLLOW here! Which is really great if you want people to talk on your blog. Not if you are having a hard time with spammers. Does it provide any kind of security against spam? Like the Akismet?

    • redwall_hp

      It integrates with Akismet, and adds its own filters on top of it. I didn't know that the userlinks where dofollow'd though…