Disqus: Connecting the conversation

I don’t use Plaxo’s Pulse — a kind of aggregator for social information about you and your friends — but I think it’s interesting that they have integrated any comments posted through Pulse with the Disqus comment system, which I have been using on my blog for some time now and am a big fan of. As Daniel Ha of Disqus mentions on the company blog, the various threads of disconnected conversation that are occurring in different corners of the blogosphere is something that is crying out for a solution, and Disqus could be the one to solve it.

One of the most recent flash points in that area occurred when Shyftr showed up on the scene, pulling full feeds from blogs such as mine and allowing people to share them and comment on them. Some people were upset about the fact that their RSS feed was being used as the foundation for someone else’s business, but others were also concerned that comments occurring on Shyftr weren’t connected to their blogs any more. The same type of issue has come up with other aggregation-style services such as FriendFeed (which allows you to post comments back to Twitter, etc. but not to blogs).

Congrats to Daniel Ha — who Mark Evans recently interviewed for his blog — on taking the first step in helping to tie those loose strands of conversation together. It almost makes up for the fact that Disqus still doesn’t support trackbacks 🙂


Founder Nick Halstead pointed out to me that Fav.or.it — a feed aggregator that also aggregates comments — allows comments that are posted inside the service to be integrated with blogs as well, although Fav.or.it has not gotten rave reviews from some.

Facebook plus Plaxo: Crazy delicious?

I don’t know why I’m even bothering with a post that isn’t about Apple, when the entire globe — perhaps even the universe — is holding its breath waiting for news, but I have to say that the Facebook-buying-Plaxo rumour makes sense to me. I know that both Eric Eldon at VentureBeat and Mike Arrington at TechCrunch make a good case for why it might not happen, but I think it could.

Eric notes — as does Valleywag — that there is reportedly some bad blood between Facebook-backer Peter Thiel and Plaxo-backer Michael Moritz over some previous Silicon Valley deall, and Mike says that the numbers behind Plaxo aren’t that attractive for Facebook, especially at the $200-million valuation the site is looking for.

That may all be true, but I tend to agree with Henry Blodget on this one: adding the features of Plaxo, which allows users to import contact data from all kinds of different services, would make a lot of sense for Facebook, and even at $200-million it would be cheap given the (theoretical) $15-billion valuation Facebook has. Why not do it? I can’t see a tiff between Thiel and Moritz holding back an idea if it makes sense.

Mike Arrington takes on Plaxo — twice

I know I’m coming a little late to this one, but a post on Rick Segal’s blog The Post Money Value pointed me towards a fascinating back-and-forth between Mike Arrington of TechCrunch, Charles O’Donnell of Union Square Ventures (a venture capital outfit headed by Fred Wilson) and Stacy, who works for Plaxo.

Plaxo is the “update your address book for me” company that just about everyone with an email address has probably received an irritating message from by now. Charles, a researcher at Union Square, apparently sent out Plaxo notifications to friends and acquaintances, and blogged about how he tried to make them funny so that people would do it. One of the first comments on his post was from Mike Arrington, who said he didn’t know Charles and wondered why the hell he had sent him a message about Plaxo — a company it turns out Mike has had a run-in with before, which led to a long and tortuous discussion.

Mike then blogged about his experience with Charles, at which point Charles and Stacy the Plaxo spokesperson start going at it in the comments section of CrunchNotes — with Stacy suddenly accusing Charles of breaking the terms of service for Plaxo by sending a message to someone he doesn’t really know.

By the end, I wound up agreeing with another commenter on Mike’s post, who says: “whoosh — that’s the sound of everything that anyone has said about Plaxo on the myriad threads I’ve just caught myself up on – the sound of all of it flying straight past Stacy. Stacy and, moreover, Plaxo, is like that senior citizen in the middle lane of the highway going 40 or the teenager that waltzes right past you to the front of the line at the coffee shop – they’ll never understand what it is they’re doing that’s so damn annoying because they. just. can’t.”