Seesmic and Disqus providing video comments for blogs

It seems Seesmic is already fulfilling its promise as ‘the next Twitter’ insofar as it’s being used for previously unforeseen purposes. Last night I was able to post a video comment on a blog post thanks to a teamup between Seesmic and the comment tracking service Disqus.

There is a clear distinction to be made here between the benefits for commenters and those for readers. Some readers will not be willing to play a 30-second video that they could have scan-read in a fraction of the time. Or will feel frustrated if they do play something that turns out to be pointless waffle. But others will respond to the personal relationship. As Russell Cooper commented: “I imagine that it would create “closer”, more personal networks than text comments alone.”

Generally, you might expect people will only click on video comments by people they recognise or that have generated large responses.

For commenters the benefits are more obvious. Some will be more comfortable with posting their comment by video – I, for instance, find it physically easier. CostPerNews (who broke the story) point out that “some people prefer firing off a quick video rather than typing out a response. While I’d rather type out comments on most blogs, I do see tremendous value in encouraging people to participate in whatever way they feel comfortable.”

Then there are the visual benefits. Robert Scoble uses the examples:

“When we have something visual to talk about. Want to see what my kitchen looks like? Want to learn how to cook a meal? Want to see the injury my kid sustained and you’re a remote doctor? Heck, wanna see what my kid looks like right now? How about can I show you my new cell phone’s UI?

“Want to buy my car based on only my text? How about that piece of art hanging on my wall? Etc.”

As Howard Lindzon says: “For us stock guys, I think it’s a great idea for referencing charts and arguing. At the very least it’s cool and we need to work out the kinks for the good of mankind.”

The biggest problem, for me, is Disqus. Blogan makes a series of points about its limitations:

“Disqus doesn’t yet support any meaningful export of the comments out of Disqus and back into the WordPress database. The longer you stay with Disqus, the more you’re held hostage to the commenting system.”

Gary Denness adds: “Who owns these comments? Where do the search engines direct comment derived traffic to – Disqus or the blog? What happens to the comments if Disqus goes under?”

To see it in action, Robert Scoble has a list of sites that have the Disqus/Seesmic commenting feature turned on:

If you want to install the facility yourself You can find the WordPress plugin for Seesmic video comments here. There’s also talk of equivalents for MoveableType and Typepad.

12 thoughts on “Seesmic and Disqus providing video comments for blogs

  1. Phil Butler

    Great post! I would like to interject if I may a further dramatization of the Disqus effect. 🙂 Who owns the comments is perhaps the most important aspect of this discussion. Disqus seems to be trying to “fly past” scrutiny on this aspect and let eveyone buy in to a system that allows no good “opt out” scenarion.

    Scoble is full of sheep dip in that there are other entities of a refined nature out there that already allow for video AND do not tie the user into a trap door system where there content and SEO benefit go to the comment service.

    Anyone interested in comments should look around at JS-Kit and even other platforms that offer the same or better function WITH transaprency as far as monetization and etc- be careful of people who would have you buy a pig in a poke for their own reasons. KIT has 10 times the number of sites and millions of users besides the upcoming utility.

    Always,

    Phil Butler

    (P S ) I was one of the first to test and review KIT and Disqus) Do your homework

    Reply
  2. Daniel Ha

    @2:

    >> Disqus seems to be trying to “fly past” scrutiny on this aspect and let eveyone buy in to a system that allows no good “opt out” scenarion.

    This is untrue. We have data export functionality. Our API-based implementation do not have detrimental affects on SEO. Who has homework due, again?

    >> Anyone interested in comments should look around at JS-Kit and even other platforms that offer the same or better function WITH transaprency as far as monetization and etc- be careful of people who would have you buy a pig in a poke for their own reasons

    We are ridiculously transparent. Users of the service aren’t interested in how we’re going to “monetize” them. The product we offer right now is free and will always be free. If we charge for something, it will be for a different service or product.

    Phil, while I always appreciate criticism, you might want to disclose your professional relationship with Js-kit. Just for the sake of transparency, of course. 😉

    Reply
  3. khris

    Hi Dan,

    With all due respect I think bloggers do care about how you are going to make money.

    Your comment of “If we charge for something, it will be for a different service or product” makes no sense coming from a for profit business.

    It is like saying you will give pizza away for free and some day you will sell hamburgers. None of us are that low of IQ to believe it.

    EIther put your “free” service in Open Source or come clean on your business model. We certainly do not need another PowerReviews, which gave us all a “free” product review widget and then one year late started their own site, Buzzillions, which charges sites to get their traffic back.

    Peace,

    Khris
    JS-Kit

    Reply
  4. Phil Butler

    HI Dan,

    You are completely right in that everyone should know that JS-Kit is a client of mine. I iterated this on several other occasions and apologize for not having done so here.

    As for my comments, there is the word “seems” that modifies “to be trying to fly by scrutiny” there. Perhaps just as I forgot to tell everyone that KIT employs me, you guys forgot to illuminate just how you are going to use people to make money.

    Lets get down to brass tacks. JS-Kit, or any other business ever deployed “uses people to make money”. The defining elements of these business relationships is in the equity. KIT gives a 50/50 ad revenue model to their users – period. As Khris said above – what are you going to do, sell cheeseburgers?

    I noted on Fred Wison’s blog (of your VC investors) that apparently somehow they intend to make money at some point. I think all anyone needs to know is how and how it is going to positively or negatively effect them.

    On the tech side of this equation, let’s examine just how you are going to create a “dual residency” for content in order to share SEO (if that is what you are spinning here). Using the sub domain of http://disqus.com/developers/, for the time being (which appears not to be your general mode of operation) to inject disqus posts back into the HTML – will not work as it is not scalable.

    Not only does this approach require server side changes from the blog publisher (raising huge reliability concerns), slow disqus requests will stall page generation for each and every request. Also, your per-IP request throttling may affect data transparency where tens of thousands or even hundreds of requests per second are evident. This cannot be the method you are talking about for leaving SEO aspects in tact for users.

    I can only surmise from what you have said about monetization that it will either be ad driven or some resultant benefit to the disqus site via rather massive SEO-derived traffic bonus for Disqus – or both. I am glad we got the “no charge” to publishers out of the way though.

    As for the first part of my homework, I suspect it is already done. Given that my tests and reviews of startups (especially yours I might add) over the last 2 years are always from a positive vector, I do not think Disqus or any other startup for that matter, really wants me to approach my homework from the other angle. Maybe you should approach these criticisms from a feedback standpoint Dan.

    As a general practice, I approach startups from the standpoint that; “Any problems that exist which can be rectified easily and logically are not nearly as important as the potential people may derive. ” In your case, these issues were not at the forefront (or as I believe you may have said at the time – unknown). KIT and every other startup I ever covered has some issues, but yours appears to be a much deeper one and one that needs fixing now.

    Since we are all into the transparency thing now (which is very good) why not start by telling everyone what you presented to the VC guys in the way of how they are going to get their money. People may want to know.

    Always,

    Phil

    Reply
  5. Daniel Ha

    Khris and Phil,

    I’m a bit confused. Js-kit stores comment data as well. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    As far as I can tell, your criticism is that we don’t charge people for our product. Um, sorry, I guess we don’t.

    – Daniel (the last 3 letters of my name are my favorite ones, come on. 🙂

    Reply
  6. khris

    Hi Daniel,

    You continue to avoid the simple question of how you are going to make money by giving a service away for free.

    We all know this is not possible, we all know that you will somehow use a bloggers comments, users, or both to *your* advantage.

    The bankers put money into your project because you told them
    the truth, have the courtesy to be honest with the community, too.

    -Khris
    JS-Kit Comments

    http://js-kit.com

    Reply
  7. Daniel Ha

    Khris,

    Honestly, you are treading on the offensive side of this discussion. Our investors invested in our product, plain and simple. Aggressively questioning our business and personal morals is ludicrous.

    I already answered your question: we don’t make money and we have not decided how we’re going to do so.

    The fact that you have people aggressively trolling the internet to attack our product (on the single argument that we don’t have a paid plan) is absurd.

    Whatever marketing initiative this is, it isn’t working. My advice to gain spotlight? Make a better product.

    Daniel

    Reply
  8. Nancy Cole

    Daniel,

    Thank you for your honesty regarding the business model in #7. Phil had a number of additional questions in #4, should you feel like addressing those as well. You will likely get asked about these things at some point by the community.

    I understand that, for you, asking tough questions is “ludicrous”, “absurd”, and a couple of other terms thrown out elsewhere that were a bit too offensive to mention. For us, we just had enough of reading misleading comments about getting data back, SEO non-diversion, etc. Currently, to do these things, the user would have to be more back-end code savvy than 99% of your users, as described by Phil above. It just isn’t simple, and it is being presented as being part-and-parcel of your core product. Maybe it will be simple soon, maybe never. But to present it as such felt offensive to us on behalf of the community.

    This is not a marketing initiative, to be sure. We are too busy with JS-Kit Advisor and other, much more exciting, customer relationships with our core web services. If it were an initiative, you would see similar comments directed toward other providers in this space. But others, including us, are clear about what their product’s capabilities are, and what they are working toward if they/we are not able to offer something yet that customers are requesting. You have a solid product, and it has enjoyed some spotlight, and there is every reason that you might take pride in that. We just have a fundamental philosophical difference in our approach in that we firmly believe that creating a destination site may be interesting and novel for some folks for now, but will not be compatible long-term with the direction the web will take.

    No worries. Competition is good and will cause us all to improve and do the best job possible for the community! Thanks for the discourse, and it is not our intention to come to using insulting adjectives.

    Have a good day.

    Nancy
    JS-Kit

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Disqus - Can It Be True?

  10. Gabby

    Yup! Comments encourage people to write even more. They are like psychic wages that inspire you. On the other hand, they also offer constructive criticism by which you can improve.

    Reply
  11. subjex

    Not only does this approach require server side changes from the blog publisher (raising huge reliability concerns), slow disqus requests will stall page generation for each and every request.

    Reply

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