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.