Posted in: Technology

Backtype: coComment 2.0?


New service Backtype offers a comment tracking service that doesn’t rely on site installs or third party plugins.

The simple to use service starts by asking users for some examples of sites they comment on, then cleverly goes looking for other sites. The process isn’t perfect, for example even with my relatively obscure name it still managed to find a comment from another Duncan Riley (there were 14 on the planet the last time I counted) but it is 95% or more accurate, and removing eronous matches is as easy as clicking on a false or spam option.

The obvious parallels are to coComment and Disqus. coComment was the first to offer centralized comment tracking, creating a community around comments. Disqus recently launched a comment blog function where you can share your comments in a dedicated space. Both rely on an install base either on site or in browser, so cannot act independently, where as Backtype needs neither. Backtype feels a little FriendFeed like, complete with the ability to follow people and have comments streamed, and the obvious aside is whether as a standalone idea Backtype works when FriendFeed itself offers support for comments, be it limited in scope compared to Backtype.

Louis Gray is hot on the idea, saying that if you like the idea of a comment blog, you’ll like Backtype, which is a fair call, but any of these services ultimately rely on community, and it’s far too early to make a call in that direction. There is some social aspects, such as the ability to share, but the ability to connect and comment inline (as is offered by Disqus) is lacking, so there is a stickiness quotient missing. The flip though to that is that the reply option goes straight to the originating site, so it could easily become a traffic driver as well. One to watch.


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2 Responses to “Backtype: coComment 2.0?”

  1. AllInOne


    I think there is one detail that is not totally true in your article: coComment recently announced that they are now tracking the Technorati top100 blogs. I guess they will do more sooner or later. This also mean that this is not user driven. Additionally, if just one coComment user comments on a blog (or just ask coComment to track this conversation), then the full conversation is traked: all comments are extracted from the blog page and I'm notified of updates.
    After discovering Backtype, I was interested to see how it compares to other services and how it can make my commenter's life easier and I do not think there is a major improvement in term of following/discovering conversation there. After I asked about this on Backtype blog, they answered that if my goal is to track conversations, other services might be more appropriate.
    I think Disqus does not compare that much as it concerns only the conversations they manage (the site need to use Disqus service, as you do on your blog): as a commenter, it does not help that much as most of the sites are not using Disqus.
    Backtype seems to make a point of not needing any user browser plugin or site integration. Interesting to see how they will cope with the growing number of sites that enable commenting (blogs, of course, but also now more and more media/press sites). As the web is now moving toward generalized conversation, I guess they will need some “google” power to find all the conversations.

    Svetlana: I'm not sure how Backtype can amass more if they do not have a functionality were users can add blogs to the service.

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