Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blogger comments needs improvement

As I mentioned in my last post, my main gripe with Blogger is their comment system. I am a big fan of people being accountable for their actions/comments. Most people are honest and considerate. But there are a few who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet and sling rude comments, disrupting the experience for others.

Unfortunately, the only way to dissuade this behavior is to require people to create an account and sign in to post a comment. I don't feel that this is a very good solution, because that's just one more login and password for you to remember.

About a year ago, Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect were created to be your personal centralized identity that you can use to log into any sites that choose to adopt the technology. I run into sites left and right that have implemented Facebook Connect for their commenting system, but aside from Blogger, I haven't seen Google Friend Connect anywhere else.

Google/Blogger was one of the first to embrace OpenID, and I applaud them for that. But what about allowing comments for users of other popular systems that tie an identity to that person, such as Twitter, MySpace, and most importantly Facebook Connect?

Over the past couple weeks that I have been considering switching back to Blogger from a self-hosted Wordpress site, I have investigated options that allow this kind of freedom. So far, I have found only two that are worth mentioning...

DISQUS is free. Their system allows visitors to your site to choose to leave a comment with their Facebook, OpenID, Twitter, or DISQUS identity. Nearly everyone is going to recognize what Facebook and Twitter is, but who in the heck (besides the tech savvy) is going to know what OpenID or DISQUS is? Probably not many, and that's why I won't be implementing DISQUS into my site.

JS-Kit ECHO is not free, but they appear to be on the right track. ECHO allows visitors to choose from several identities, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Blogger, and several others. They also allow the visitor to subscribe to the comments thread, include images and video, and also re-post their comment to their personal site (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) if they choose to do so. These features can all be enabled or disabled as desired. The fee for this service is $12 per year.

I am considering JS-Kit ECHO for my blogger comments. It is a nice system and offers a lot of flexibility. They have a 30-day full refund policy if you aren't satisfied, but would much more prefer a 15-30 day free trial instead to see if I want to purchase it.

That said, if Google would just add Facebook Connect as an identity option for posting comments, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

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