Discussing Disqus…The Case for Style, Instinct and Less Due Diligence

Before we start…I am biased. On of my funds has a $50,000 investment in Disqus in the seed round.

I have my opinions and I use this blog to flesh out my ideas and thinking and frankly, as close as I am to Daniel the CEO, I can only offer my opinions and the same thinking I would offer here. Furthermore, the uber smart and NON conflicted (directly) Mark Suster chimed in with a deep post on why he loves Disqus. My friend Mathew Ingram at Giga OM, with their awful commenting system :) has a great post up, so the elephant is out of the room.

Facebook has entered commenting. They are going to win a LOT of accounts.

If Disqus had a crummy product, a screwed up cap table and no cash, there would be cause for some concern in my eyes. You can’t ignore Facebook, they are like my mom with a cellphone. They are figuring shit out. Luckily for Disqus, my mom is not a user, they have a wicked cool product, a great team, sick investors (save me), the cap table is in order and plenty of runway.

If Yahoo had any mojo, Disqus would have been theirs a while back. If Facebook had style and a care about the ‘open web’ they would have bought Disqus for a more sneaky evil data set potential. As Mark Suster says in his post linked above, Google could/should buy them. A wild card could be AOL or another big media property. In the meantime, Jason and Daniel at Disqus have their plans for sure.

If I am at Yahoo today as a VP of something, I have two decisions if I care about user experience or community…Facebook or Disqus. I would lean towards Facebook comments. If you can’t beat em, join em and try to wreck Facebook from the outside in. In the meantime, you could clean up the comments that no one cares about anyways on your own site.

At Stocktwits, ideas and community matter most, so Disqus will continue to work very well. Facebook is not where people talk stocks…at least for now. From a viral loop and broadcasting standpoint it would be interesting to push everything through Facebook since that’s what Facebook wants us to do.

The social web is fascinating and the land grab that Facebook has won with seeming ease, should not be that easy considering the stakes. This is not quite like ‘oil’, but I am shocked that there is not more blood. The tech/web insiders are so quick to call bubble and attack one another with a keyboard and an ‘anonymous’ handle, but the stakes are massive right now and I am amazed that the pace of acquisitions is not much higher.

In the words of Chris Dixon, we need more ‘swashbucklers’.

36 comments

  1. jon knight says:

    Gotta stick with who I trust: Disqus. And perish the thought that Yahoo or fb would ever own Disqus! Yahoo would ruin it and fb would try to fill it with not-so-subtle attempts to scrape every piece of personal data they could find.
    (Hey, it’s my personal perception, and I’m not alone in this room.)

    Would I pay for a comment system? I’d pay for Disqus.

        • jon knight says:

          Ro, I’m designing a new site for a B2B in Virginia. Should have their blog up and running in April and definitely am using Disqus Plus there. I mean, geez man, 20 bucks a month? I’d be doing a lousy job for these guys if I didn’t.

          • Anonymous says:

            I have some feedback for you on Disqus – there used to be a neat RSS feature built in that allowed me to subscribe to everyone I was following on my Dashboard in Disqus. When you revamped a few months ago that seems to have gone away. Sure I can log in and look at the Dashboard but it was much more convenient to look at the RSS feed in my reader. Made it much easier to follow the comments of people I had on my Dashboard throughout the day.

          • Ro Gupta says:

            Thanks – was just talking about this. Out of curiosity, how do you keep track of your Twitter followees’ tweets?

          • Ro Gupta says:

            would you want to see Disqus comments in HootSuite or would you prefer in your RSS reader

          • Anonymous says:

            Probably if I had to pick only one, RSS reader because I don’t keep HS open all day long. I go to my reader periodically to check for updates. Either one would probably work though.

  2. Peter Cranstone says:

    Why such amazement? Where’s the “measurable, sustainable, profitable revenue from volume” in comments? All you’ve done with a comment is to remove the “friction” in leaving a message. What comes next is determining the value of that message in the context of the comments and the web in general.

    Would someone pay something to read the comment I just wrote? I doubt it, it has no value that I can see. It’s just my opinion and as we know everyone has those.

    The reason for an acquisition is to “acquire something of value”. Now we need to define the meaning of value and then to whom. Disquss is by far the best commenting software I’ve seen. But it’s in a crowded market and with people now integrating with FB the comments on Disquss are going to have less value. In fact their market share should decline as new people “simply comment via FB”.

    So they have a killer team, a great cap table, money in the bank. Congratulations – now we’ll get to watch if they can zag while FB zig’s.

      • Peter Cranstone says:

        I knew you would say that. Disqus is IMO the best commenting software out there. Nothing else comes close. But as investors always tell me (I’m a serial software entrepreneur and co-inventor of mod_gzip) that being the best isn’t always enough. You need something else.

        It will be interesting to watch what Disqus brings out next. I’m routing for them.

        • yes, eventually a business plan matters or giving yourself enough runway
          until one native to the product shows up best. I am confident the team has
          both.

          • Peter Cranstone says:

            Interestingly I’m going through the Disqus problem myself. Technology – check, Patent – check, some early revenues – check. But no one gets it. And then as luck would have it someone made a suggestion. He said – it’s impossible to do XY&Z in a browser. 12 hours later we showed him it wasn’t. That was our Zig moment. It occurred at the end of August last year. In January we got two more Zig moments. Priceless feedback from experts in the industry who also said “it can’t be done”.

            Well it’s done. Now we ship and well find out for sure. Because business plans never survive first contact – and runway behind you is as is useless as sky above you and fuel in the bowser (I used to be a pilot).

            The only thing that counts is solving a customer problem and getting paid to do it. It’s all about extracting the value.

          • Peter Cranstone says:

            Howard,

            Something for your Disqus team to look at. Our company is in the “Mobile Performance Business”. Specifically we have a way to measure real time HTTP traffic performance from inside a mobile browser (that’s what they said was impossible).

            What counts in Mobile is the user experience. Measuring packets just tells you the service is up – measuring time tells you about the user experience.

            Have the Disqus team hit this link: http://www.5o9mm.com/har/viewer/v.pl?path=accounts/5o9/android-03-07-2011-18-19-56-GMT-html5boilerplate-com-rc10.har

            What your looking at is taking place inside Androids mobile browser (on AT&T network). You can clearly see that Disqus is a bottleneck. In fact after we ran the test yesterday – the guys at boilerplate made immediate changes and asked Disqus to make some changes as well.

            Mobile is the next frontier and it’s all about the user experience. Now Disqus can see exactly what’s taking place inside Android (plus we also show the real time carrier, device and geo-location of where the request came from).

            Cheers,

            Peter

  3. Anonymous says:

    Social networks are spectacular land grab of Facebook has been a relief on the surface, should be easy to focus on the common good. It’s not too “fat” but I was surprised, no more blood.
     
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  5. how to win the lottery says:

    Facebook commenting system spread out like storm right now. Disqus has to provide some unique feature that win the market share back..

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  8. Certificate III in Business says:

    As it does to the owner of the website – which is useful for a quick response. The more I use Disqus the happier I am with it.

  9. pool pump motor says:

    exactly, I find your fix very useful , its just very sad that Disqus doesnt do anything to help in that regard.I asked them on Twitter but they dont seem to reply to everybody .

  10. social idea management says:

    I think Disqus has a great search system this can be useful in checking back on the comments they have made or someone else, possibly impressed by someone’s comments on one site , can follow that person’s comments on other sites.

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