I had the, er, privilege of spending a couple hours today comparing Intense Debate to Disqus. This kind of thing has been covered around the web, but I just couldn’t find all the answers I needed for my particular purpose. I ended up taking a short test drive of them both, and as you see I already use Intense Debate here on my blog. Funny enough I found the answers to most of my questions looking under “Support” on their sites and then clicking around.
Feature-wise, they’re nearly identical. The only real differences:
- Intense Debate is owned by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. Therefore they have a lot of experience to draw from, a proven talent pool and track record, and intimate knowledge of our blogging platform. Disqus is a Y-Combinator startup, the entire team seems to have gone straight from college to founding this company.
- Disqus has some kind of a VIP program that includes the ability to skin the Disqus comments like your site, more advanced filtering tools for comments, support, and a service guarantee. I could not find a similar program for Intense Debate.
- Disqus has native integration with multiple platforms (WordPress, Movable Type, and a bunch of others). Intense Debate has native integration with WordPress and a “generic install” that you can add to any page (whether it’s a blog or not).
We had a few specific concerns and needs that we wanted to make sure were addressed.
- Integration with Facebook, Twitter
- Realtime updates
- User profiles (ability to see a user’s history, ideally helps prevent users from masquerading as other people)
- Stay in control of our data (don’t lose comments if we leave the service later)
- Keep data in sync — edits to comments in WordPress should propagate the edit to the comment service, and vise-versa
- Needs graceful fallback in case the service goes down