Commenting Services Face to Face: Disqus vs IntenseDebate vs JS-Kit vs SezWho

There is a major update to this post: Update on Commenting Services Face-off. Make sure you read it before jumping to any conclusions!
I have received a lot of feedback from JS-Kit and SezWho which lead to changes in the evaluations. I am working on an update to the post. Meanwhile, you can read Jitendra’s comment which is providing more insight about SezWho offering.

This is a long post, so I’ll jump directly to the main topic. I’ve run a face to face comparison for 4 existing commenting systems: Disqus, IntenseDebate, JS-Kit and SezWho. The rest of the post presents the criteria I’ve used, the winners and references to specific features.

Please feel free to comment and correct me if I got anything wrong!

Criteria

  • User related Features
    • Comment threading
    • Anonymous posts
    • Bookmarkability
    • Comment ranking and additional features (sort, most, filter, etc.)
    • Rich format comments
  • Owner related features:
    • Spam filtering
    • Comment moderation
    • Search Engine Friendliness
    • HTML/CSS customization
  • Data access
    • Widget (Javascript API)
    • Programming API
    • Data export

Evaluated products

Winners

After completing the evaluation of the mentioned criteria, I have decided that there should be 2 categories: Blogs and Custom sites. Even if there are no immediate visible differences, the existence of a programming API offers a lot more extensibility and freedom to site owners, while this feature might not be as important as features like additional comment ranking features (sorting, filtering, recommendations, etc.) for blog owners.

Drum roll… The winners are:

There is a major update to this post: Update on Commenting Services Face-off and you should make sure that you read it before further considering this top.

Blog

  1. Winner: IntenseDebate
  2. Runner-up: Disqus

Site

  1. Winner: Disqus
  2. Runner-up: IntenseDebate

User Features

  Disqus  IntenseDebate  JS-Kit  SezWho
Comment Threading: Y Y Y Y
Anonymous Comments: Y Y Y Y [7]
Bookmarkability N Y N Y
Comment ranking Y Y Y Y
Comment ranking functionality - [12] Y Y Y
Rich format comments Y Y Y Y

Owner Features

  Disqus  IntenseDebate  JS-Kit  SezWho
Spam filtering: Custom + Akismet [1] Custom [2] Akismet Akismet [3]
Comment Moderation: Y
(web + email)
Y
(web + email)
Y
(web + email)
Y [4]
Search Engine Friendliness Y [8] N [9] Y [10] N [11]
HTML/CSS Customization Y Y Y Y

Data access

  Disqus  IntenseDebate  JS-Kit  SezWho
Widget (JS API): Y Y Y Y
Programming API: Y N [5] N N [6]
Data export API None None None

Other Criteria

  Disqus  IntenseDebate  JS-Kit  SezWho
Costs Free Free Free for 25k pageviews
+ Commercial
Free [13]
Documentation
Support
API docs
Low Traffic Forum
GetSatisfaction Q&A Forum [14] FAQ Page [15]

Comment ranking functionality

Basically, once comments can be rated themselves, there is a lot of new functionality that can be offered by these services. I am thinking of: filtering the comment thread, sorting, most commented content, etc.

[12] I couldn’t find anything about Disqus support for additional functionality.

Spam Filtering

  1. [1] According to the following links, Disqus is employing a combination of custom filtering and Akismet integration
  2. [2] I couldn’t find any place in the IntenseDebate documentation detailing what solution is used, so I’ve concluded that some custom filtering is employed. Considering that IntenseDebate is now part of the WordPress universe, it might be possible to also integrate with Akismet.
  3. JS-Kit documentation is clear about this point: LINK
  4. [3] While some sources are mentioning the integration with Akismet for spam filtering, I couldn’t find this info in the SezWho documentation

Comment Moderation

All 3 Disqus, IntenseDebate and JS-Kit support advanced moderation features. But my advice would be to effectively test them if comment moderation is important for your site or blog.

[4] Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any info about SezWho’s support for comment moderation.

Search Engine Friendliness

This is probably the most debatable criterion used for evaluating the 4 services and unfortunately to cover it I will need a whole new post (which will come later on).

  • [8] Disqus is offering a hosted page for each comment thread, so search engines can index the comments.
  • [9] I’ve read about improvements implemented by IntenseDebate, but unfortunately these are not useful for the sites that do not use the IntenseDebate custom plugin
  • [10] JS-Kit employs the same solution as Disqus.
  • [11] No information available.

Disqus and JS-Kit approach to this problem is quite good (even if a bit complex) as with the help of some subdomain mapping you can instruct the search engines to see the comment thread content as site’s content.

Programming API

  • [5] I am still investigating the possibility to access IntenseDebate data through a programming API (see thread)
  • [6] Even if there are a couple of sources mentioning a SezWho API (see Mashable and CenterNetworks I couldn’t find any reference to it in SezWho’s documentation

Other notes

  • [13] SezWho:

    The basic SezWho rating, reputation and profile services are provided for free on the currently supported platforms. SezWho will be offering upgrades to premium products and services in the future, but basic SezWho integration for standard social media platforms will always be available as a free service.

  • [14] JS-Kit Q&A Forum is unfortunately pretty unusable as there is no way to perform any searches. It has over 450 pages of comments, so even if I am pretty sure there is a lot of information in there, it is a pity that you cannot get to it. Search Engine Friendliness is a major and extremely important feature that you should consider while integrating a 3rd party commenting system.
  • [15] SezWho FAQ Page contains minimal information and unfortunately I couldn’t find other sources.

More information

Here is a set of other features compared on RWW:

2531532507_9464b2f583.jpg

Disclaimer

SezWho documentation is pretty scarce, so I haven’t been able to find detailed information on the evaluated set of features.


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12 Comments

Filed under technolog, Tools

12 responses to “Commenting Services Face to Face: Disqus vs IntenseDebate vs JS-Kit vs SezWho

  1. Pingback: IntenseDebate, SEO and post counts » malcolm coles

  2. Hey Alex,

    Great post.

    Jitendra from SezWho here.

    You have mentioned Disqus, ID, JS-Kit which are all good products but SezWho is very different from all of them.

    SezWho does not replace your existing comment system with another system which typically move your comments from your blog to a centralized place. Instead SezWho adds social features (profiles, ratings and reputations) to your blog without incurring any SEO issues typically associated with moving content like outside links, iframes embedding, losing page freshness benefits etc.

    Since SezWho works with your native commenting system, we have no need for providing comment moderation, spam filtering etc. and instead focus on the best ratings, reputation and profile services for all forms of social conversations.

    Thanks, Jitendra

  3. About IntenseDebate:

    You say that it uses only custom spam filter, probably you missed that option:

    http://ub0.cc/59/C

    You also say Data export: None
    You missed that then: http://ub0.cc/86/06

  4. Alex Popescu (aka the_mindstorm)

    Thanks Saxtus. Indeed, I might have missed these, but can you please be more specific where are those options available? Are those options in the IntenseDebate plugin or are they available on the IntenseDebate account?

  5. They are at IDC account site.
    On your dashboard http://intensedebate.com/userDash , click your blog name, it will take you to that blog’s dashboard.
    Then for the spam filter go to Options (look at the end of the left column) and for the export function go to blog tools (you’re interested in XML export).

  6. Alex Popescu (aka the_mindstorm)

    Thanks a lot Saxtus. I’ll definitely update the post to correct these parts.

  7. doctor82

    I switched to JS-Kit after trying both Disqus and Intensedebate on my blog. The single and the most important reason is that JS-Kit synchronizes the comments with the blogger comments. This means if I decide to uninstall JS-Kit for some reason, the comments will remain intact in the blogger.

  8. Pingback: Update on Commenting Services Face-off « mindstorms

  9. ‘Sez Who’ links now go to the JS-Kit site. Indeed, Jitendra’s name links to the JS-Kit site, so I checked, and I see that on March 6th, JS-Kit acquired Sez Who.

    Article about the takeover is here on the JS-Kit blog

    The site on which I am thinking of adding one of the available commenting systems. The question is still, which one in this fast-changing world.

  10. Pingback: Disqus vs Intense Debate, the clincher

  11. In this fast-changing world some things remain. One of them is staying away from uncertainty.

    I am sticking with WordPress’s own threaded comments. I have a plug-in fso commenters can be notified of other comments. I got rid of comment-luv because I didn’t feel comfortable with the way it was performing (apologies to Andy Bailey) and life is good. It’s still a question of finding and making backlinks in this webweb world. Check out how it looks (classic and restrained) at distinctive ecards and an interesting blog at Quilcards –> Quillcards ecards

  12. Pingback: IntenseDebate vs Disqus | Pramudita's Network

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