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Disqus

Twitter Launches Tweet Button; Publishers to Allocate Pixel Real Estate

Twitter has officially launched their Tweet Button - a natural move which will place them beside Facebook's like buttons... and across millions of pages on the web (soon to be on this blog!). The question is what happens to everything else? There is only so much space on each page and ultimately publishers will only devote real estate to those buttons that deliver the most traffic / engagement. Twitter and Facebook will clearly qualify - but who else? My favorite example is this post from Mashable which leaked the Tweet Button a couple days ago. The Tweet Button screenshot sits below the Facebook Like graph and beside Tweetmeme, Digg, and Facebook Share. Of course there are others: For instance, I use Apture and Disqus. And more will come - like Facebook's long rumored social bar.

My New Spam: Twitter, Disqus & Vimeo

I get plenty of email spam... but Gmail does an admirable job making sure most of it doesn't hit my inbox. My new annoyance is, for lack of better terminology, "web 2.0 spam". My inbox is filled with junk from Twitter, Disqus, Vimeo and all of the other services that I use frequently... all getting increasingly worse (particularly over the last two weeks).. It's brutally annoying because, unlike email, this spam is usually visible to more than just my eyes. Whereas email spam clogs *my* inbox - these new forms of spam affect my public arenas... sometimes for personal content (like my blog) and other times for company content (like InGameNow, Widgetbox, etc).

And as services like Twitter and Disqus continue to grow - the spammers get more sophisticated because the value of spamming increases. It's no longer Viagra and Acai Berry ads - it's silly link-bait being used clearly for SEO purposes. Unfortunately that too is problematic in ways that traditional spam isn't... enough SEO spam can have negative affect on my sites as well.

Twitter Spam

I Lost My Comments Installing the New Disqus & Facebook Connect

Some good news:You can now comment on this blog using Facebook Connect and Seesmic. I upgraded versions of Disqus to enable it (very slick).

Some bad news: While installing the new Disqus version, I encountered some issues and lost all of my existing comments. Yup. I was struggling to upgrade Disqus versions because it kept reverting to the "legacy version"... so I exported my comments in the XML file and then uninstalled Disqus. I assumed that, since there is a function to export via XML, there would be the ability to import via XML.

I haven't yet figured out how to import my existing comments - in fact, I am worried that it's not possible (I've dug through the Disqus interface a fair amount... even posted to the forums).

Anyone have advice on how to solve this?! Of course, you can leave it below using Facebook Connect!

Loic Le Meur Discusses Seesmic Layoffs; Community Response is Fascinating

Loic Le Meur, founder of Seesmic, laid off over one-third of the company as the economy continues to weaken and start-ups continue to be affected in various, meaningful ways. Seesmic is certainly not the only company to be affected in this manner (more will occur)... and, in and of itself, I typically wouldn't write about this. But I was struck by Loic's decision to cover the changes via a Seesmic video - a controversial, but admirable decision. It is clear that Loic was troubled by the decision and, for a usually upbeat / engaging personality, the video is hard to watch - whether you are an entrepreneur, colleague, investor, etc.

After watching the video, I scrolled down to Loic's comment system (powered by Disqus), and was blown away by the discussion.

There are dozens and dozens of thorough comments. Some text, some Seesmic replies. This is a result of the deep issue, Loic's following and the power of a communal / distributed comment system like Disqus + Seesmic.

Also striking was the quality of the replies. Most are well thought out and reflective of the economic situation (see Jeff Clavier). Others are clearly angry for a variety of reasons (high sense of bitterness). And others are opportunistic (ie offering readers blogging jobs for their companies).

I am not sure what to make of all of this - but the levels of interaction and emotion are fascinating.

Tough times. Tough decisions.also read my blog post http://www.loiclemeur.com/english/2008/10/tough-times-tou.html

I'm Reinstalling Disqus - Two Months After Turning Disqus Off

Two months ago, I wrote this blog's most read article: After 5 Days on Disqus, I’m Turning Back to WordPress Comments. The quick, controversial summary is that I installed Disqus and, after concerns of not being able to fully leverage that content for SEO and on my own site, I reverted back to the standard Wordpress comment system. Apparently I wasn't the only blogger struggling with whether this issue - the comment debate was rich and included prominent bloggers, Fred Wilson (a Disqus investor) and even Daniel Ha (Disqus' CEO). I concluded that post with the following:

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.





Well, I've concluded that it's time to "give it another test-drive" and here is why: 1A. I have become a more engaged, excited FriendFeed user. This is important because, while I still struggle with the SEO fact, it could be argued that a moderate-to-highly trafficked blog will see greater traffic gains through Disqus' FriendFeed integration than through the incremental SEO benefits of the comments. Outside of selfish traffic reasons, following my readers through FriendFeed (via Disqus) is a great, interesting benefit... which leads to:

1B. I've become more interested in discussion and interaction than in absolute pageviews. Obviously, traffic and discussion are correlated, but I'm hoping that both grow with Disqus (and at the very least, that discussion grows).

2. I believe that Disqus will solve the SEO piece ... And hopefully not in a super-technical, API-only way...!). I also assume that Disqus is actively working to fix this.

3. On the same note, I am not sure that WordPress is actively working on a Disqus-like product ... And at this point, that is likely the only solution that I would give preference to.

4. I really respect the way that Disqus reached out directly to me via the blog and email and offered assistance. I am always willing to give my support to products and people who I feel connected with - and Disqus has been great

5. Frankly, I am jealous of other sites that have implemented Disqus. I know many of my readers and commenters have Disqus accounts and I am hoping that they will be more motivated to interact when Disqus is live. I love Fred Wilson's blog and make it a daily read over my morning coffee... but the community he has built and the commenting that exists there is some of the web's richest content.

And with that - Disqus is live... hopefully to stay! I have more work to do on the blog (when not swimming Alcatraz) this weekend, primarily migrating to the newest WordPress version so that I can use the iPhone App.

The Evolution of Social Content: From Email to Blogs to Disqus / FriendFeed

Fred Wilson's last two blog posts are about the changing / evolving blog landscape: 1) the death of "long form blogging" (ironic) 2) the evolution of blog commenting and how comments are becoming as important as the posts

I found the first post particularly thought provoking:

I've posted every day for almost five years. Its a routine and a habit that's hard to break But today, I've got nothing to say that's blog worthy I've twittered six or seven times and posted three times on tumblr I think its time to acknowledge that long form blogging every day may be coming to an end

I certainly agree that blogs are changing and the distributed, social content landscape has made 'short form' discussion easier and more effective. That said, I think everything serves a different purpose: long form blogging is the table at which the conversations occur, introductions are made and meals are enjoyed. Fred might not have considered the above post "blog worthy" - but he still found value in posting it and 29 readers found it engaging enough to comment. Those comments were likely shared via Twitter, FriendFeed and email...

To me, the most important evolution of social content is that we are now empowered to produce and consume in a variety of formats and platforms... and I find that choice and distribution open me to new relationships and new content. Proof enough is that much of my richest dialog is still through email. Email continues to be a great source of recommended reading and intense discussion. If email is closed discussion, blogging is one-to-many discussion and services like Disqus, Twitter and FriendFeed are opening those discussions further.

Disqus - After 5 Days on Disqus, I'm Turning Back to Wordpress Comments

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.

Why?

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:

My core issue is that the content (and it can be argued that comments and discussions are the most important aspect of a site) isn't truly mine. It's rendered via javascript on my end and as direct html on Disqus.com. That means that I lose all of the SEO value of the comments (which is significant) and Disqus gains from it. Honestly, that makes me quite uncomfortable. A couple other critiques:

- 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.