One of the first things I noticed when I started my blog on Blogger was the default commenting system. It was—to say the least—atrocious. At the time I didn’t know much about coding or widgets, though, so I figured I’d just make do. How bad could it be?
When I only got three or four comments a post, it worked pretty well. Sure, I didn’t have the ability to answer a comment directly and create a thread that way, and if I happened to have a typo I had to delete my post and re-write it, or else hope no one noticed, but it worked. Sort of.
As I started getting more comments, however, I realized just how ugly the commenting system was, after all. What bothered me the most was the inability to reply to someone’s comment directly, and instead I found myself @ replying to two or three people in a single a comment. It wasn’t pretty, but I didn’t think I had any other options. I’d chosen Blogger and now I had to just wait and hope that they would update it.
But then one of my fellow Twitter friends told me she added IntenseDebate to her Blogger-hosted blog. I was skeptical—if it was possible to change the commenting system on Blogger, why hadn’t I heard about it before? There would be glitches for sure. It couldn’t possibly work.
She revamped her commenting system. I waited it out. There would be bugs, I was sure of it. It wouldn’t work.
Well, I was wrong. It worked. So I made an account with IntenseDebate and installed it on my blog.
From Blogger to IntenseDebate.
Installing IntenseDebate on my blog opened me up to a whole new realm of possibilities. Suddenly I was able to reply directly to comments, if I made a typo I could—*gasp*—fix it, I was able to reply to my comments by e-mail (a very handy feature) and, my favorite feature, I now had CommentLuv integrated into my comments.
For those of you who don’t know, CommentLuv is an application that links to a commenter’s previous blog post and adds it to the bottom of their comment. It encourages people to comment (because it gives a little extra exposure to their posts) and makes it easy for you—the host blogger—to see some of your readers’ blogs, which is something I like to do anyway.
I was ecstatic—so much so that I completely ignored these little red flags I encountered:
- I couldn’t import my previous blogger comments — Maybe it’s possible to import previous Blogger comments into IntenseDebate, but I couldn’t figure it out. That could be my fault, I’m not sure, but when IntenseDebate installed on my blog it hid all previous comments, making it look like I didn’t have any comments on my previous posts. After fighting with the system, I finally found a way to keep the old Blogger system on my old posts and IntenseDebate on my new posts. *phew*
- Glitches! — I encountered glitches more often than I care to admit. Some days the commenting system worked fine and other days comments from the day before would—*POOF*—disappear, only to reappear a few hours or days later.
- Reverting back to Blogger — This didn’t happen to me (yet), but one of my fellow blogging buddies who also installed IntenseDebate had her shiny new commenting system just evaporate. She had no idea what happened or why, and I immediately ran back to my blog to make sure it was still there. It was. For now.
But I mean, three red flags aren’t enough to dump an entire system, right? At least it was better than Blogger.
From IntenseDebate to Disqus.
But the red flags were there and I recognized them, even if I was in denial. Ironically, when I read Tim’s Satan’s Guide to Blog Comments post (a great read if you haven’t checked it out, by the way), I even mentioned the glitchiness of IntenseDebate, but I stood by it and said I was happy nonetheless. I’d certainly seen an increase in comments after I installed IntenseDebate — why wouldn’t I be happy?
Three days later, IntenseDebate disappeared from my blog. In the middle of the day. With no reason or explanation. I gave it twenty-four hours to try to work itself out, as it had done in the past, and even posted an ultimatum to Twitter.
The next day the system was still gone and I knew I had to make changes.
Because I commented on blogs with the Disqus platform, I already had an account. I uninstalled IntenseDebate from my blog and uploaded my site information into Disqus. The very first thing I noticed was a little button called “Import/Export.” Could it be? I clicked it and found this:
I could hardly believe my eyes. I could import my comments from Blogger and IntenseDebate? I didn’t have to lose any comments? My entire blog could have my new shiny Disqus commenting system? I began importing my comments immediately. Blogger went through without a problem. IntenseDebate put up more of a fight (go figure).
I didn’t have anything to lose, so I mentioned the problem on Twitter and e-mailed Disqus customer support. They went above and beyond. Not only did they answer my e-mail the next day (on a weekend, no less), but they answered my tweet, too. I was thrilled. Within a few days I had my IntenseDebate comments imported into Disqus and the entire system was up and running on my blog.
So Which is Better?
I’m not going to stand here and tell you that you won’t encounter any glitches if you install Disqus on your blog. There are always glitches (I’m still working out how to get it to show up on every page, for example) and I’ve only had the new system up for a week, so I don’t really know what will happen.
I’m not going to tell you that one is better than the other, either—they’re both fantastic services and in the end, I can only tell you my experience. IntenseDebate and Disqus are both great options if you have a blog.
And I’d choose either one of them over the default Blogger system in a heartbeat.
Have you used IntenseDebate or Disqus before? What was your experience like?
Ava Jae is a writer, digital artist and X-men geek. You can find her weekly musings on her blog Writability, follow her on Twitter or check out her Facebook page.
You may have noticed that the avatars in DISQUS comments here at BloggerJET were slightly misaligned. Well you know what? After tweeting this post Mr. Ryan “The Magician” Valentin (who’s BIO says he’s Bear Grylls of DISQUS) fixed them! That’s what I call “customer care”! The problem was fixed before I even contacted them about this! Definitely another plus goes to DISQUS!
…I couldn’t stand asking for more…