I'm an avid reader of Fred Wilson's blog and was tempted to test-drive Disqus when Fred first integrated it onto his site. I finally decided to install it on my blog (which is powered by Wordpress) after Fred wrote his post "Three Reasons to Use Disqus". It's worth noting that installing Disqus is amazingly easy. I installed Disqus on Sunday... Today is Thursday and I have decided to remove it.
In concept, Disqus is bold and a clear improvement over static comments. I believe fully that threaded, social and portable commenting is the future of discussion and is certainly empowering for readers. I like being able to follow a user's activity across other blogs - for instance, I just accessed all of Gabe Rivera's Disqus comments (here) and arrived on some fascinating blogs (that I wouldn't have found otherwise).
As a blog owner, though, Disqus simply isn't empowering enough.... yet:
- Trackbacks are critical elements of a blog (SEO, navigation, etc). They aren't yet available with Disqus and are must-adds.
- Disqus doesn't provide commenter emails and contact information. Sounds minor, but I have engaged directly with numerous readers and formed deep relationships. Another must-have before I switch back. (update: according to Daniel Ha of Disqus email addresses are accessible; full response in below comments)
- The administration and deep interactions occur on Disqus.com - and consequently off my site. Furthermore, as the admin, there is neither enough transparency nor available configurations.
I think Disqus is close. And I expect that I'll give it another test-drive shortly. But it's going to take some additional benefits as a blogger (I clearly see the benefits as a reader); and as I think about services I'm willing to pay, perhaps that's the solution for Disqus: offer premium accounts. I'd be willing to buy that.