Why No Intense Debate?

There’s a new kid on the block on the comments side of the business, Intense Debate. The premise of the service is outstanding – provide a central repository to track your visitors’ comments, expand the commentary beyond your blog, and provide a very rich interface to display the comments.

intense debate

There is a single flaw with the service, though, that makes it unusable… the comments are loaded via JavaScript, something that the Search Engines will not see. If you have a fantastic blog post with tons of traffic that changes every few minutes, the crawlers from Google and the likes won’t notice a single change. Comments, or ‘user-generated content’ are as important to your blog as your posts!

Not as important but still problematic is the promise from Intense Debate that you can export your comments if you decide to ever leave the service. That’s a tough pill to swallow… especially if they simply abandon their service and shut down the site.

Would I ever utilize Intense Debate? Perhaps… if they abandoned the JavaScript method of displaying the comments and, instead, changed their service to ‘shared’ approach where the comments are served by my blog BUT are also posted to their service. That would provide the best of both worlds… all the advantages of their application in addition to benefiting from the user-generated content of my site.


  1. 1

    That is an excellent point and one I’m surprised wasn’t addressed early on. However, I still think the service has great potential. Now that they have done the legwork on creating a service like this, all they’d need to do is release a basic API and people like you and I will just scramble to create a WordPress plug-in that integrates the comments into each post without javascript.

    It’s kind of an interesting concept… outsourcing your blog comments to another service. Will probably help with spam issues. Makes me wonder what else you could potentially “outsource” in your blog (and on the flip side, what kinds of new blog services could be provided).

    Their Alexa traffic history shows a couple major spikes. It will be interesting to see if the service can grow with and handle increasing demand. As with many blog widget-type services, if they grow too fast and can’t handle the load, they cause all their blogs to load slow and users can jump ship.

  2. 2

    Hi Douglas. Thanks for posting about IntenseDebate. I’d like to address a couple of your concerns. IntenseDebate does offer an exporter for WordPress that puts your comments directly back into WordPress’ proprietary comment system.

    In regards to placing comments made in IntenseDebate directly into your WordPress comments as a backup, indexing comments, and our API (per Noah’s comment above), we’ve got some huge features coming down the line very shortly! I can’t spill the beans publicly yet (although I guess I just did), but let’s just say that your entire wish list will be covered along with a ton of other awesome features.

    We’re looking for beta testers for our upcoming WordPress plugin version 2.0. If you’re interested in finding out more about the awesome features included in this and getting on the beta list please email me at support@intensedebate.com. I’d love to have you using IntenseDebate.

    Kind regards,

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