18 Nov 2007

Across The Intense Debate Network

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From time to time we will refer to the fun things happening around the Intense Debate network. After navigating around some of the sites using the Intense Debate comment system, I realized a lot is going on.

Dumb Little Man is a great blog and has been on a roll this week with a few articles making it to the frontpage of Digg. I asked Jay how he does it, but he won’t reveal his secret. My guess is that great content plays a role.

One of our newest ID’ers is called Drinks Are On Me. If you are interested in food and drink, I recommend it! After reading a few articles I felt incredibly hungry.

Brad Feld is blogging about email and who is talking about it. The follow up post should be very interesting.

Political Grind expanded their network. Congrats to the guys there. They were one of our early adopters and have seen a 110% increase in their comments since installing ID. We definitely don’t take full credit as the people behind PG produce great content.

Micah Baldwin shared an excellent personal story of success and failure over at Learn To Duck. If you are part of a startup or thinking about starting up a company you should definitely read this.

Fraser from Adaptive Blue put up a great post on his personal blog, Disruptive Thoughts, about his trip to the Boulder/Denver area. His conclusion: it is a great place for a tech startup. I couldn’t agree more.

There are many great things people are talking about around our network and they are using the Intense Debate comment system to continue the conversation. If something remarkable is happening at your blog, email me (josh at intensedebate dot com) and we might feature you in a future edition.

Posted by Isaac Keyet in News

14 Nov 2007

Our Latest Release…

Last night we made making our latest release which includes several additions, fixes, and features.

The highlights include our new install method which is designed for a better user experience and to make the install more seemless and intuitive.

Next, our comment system has undergone a facelift to make it simpler and easier to use. This comes with ability for users to substitute several buttons with text links. The effects of this change create a dramatically less intimidating comment system for publishers who feel that less is more. This has been one of the most requested items by our users. The feedback we received raised the priority of simplifying our comment system.

There are also options for small, medium, and large versions for those that would like to customize the size of the comment system.

Another requested feature since our open beta launch has been the ability to customize your OpenID for a user account. Once again, this is based on user feedback, which we love.

Finally, there is now an ability to edit the URL, RSS, and title for a blog after install. This was definitely needed as sometimes we all make a spelling error or need to change our blog title later on.

On a side note, we unfortunately had a couple bugs this morning from this release. We worked as quickly as we could to solve the problem and I apologize for any inconvenience. If anyone sees any further problems please let us know (contactus at intensedebate dot com).

If you have any feedback on this release or would like to shape our next release, feel free to ping us or make a request in the forums.

Update: To change the size of your comment system, visit the comment theme link under your blog’s tab. You will also find a way to convert from buttons to text links on this page if you are looking for a simpler interface.

Posted by Isaac Keyet in News

5 Nov 2007

What An Exciting Week!?

It has been a great week here at Intense Debate. We launched our product into an open beta on Tuesday morning with great coverage:

TechCrunch

Read/Write Web

Webware

Among others….

Our launch accomplished many goals for us. We continue to show that we truly care about publishers and commenters alike through our support for OpenID and data migration. Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read/Write Web had a great take on this aspect:

The single most important thing about Intense Debate is its data export options. If you are using the service in WordPress or Blogger (more platforms to be supported later) and you decide you want to stop using Intense Debate, you can export your comments for import into your native blogging software’s comments database.This is the kind of option that makes all the difference in user adoption – I will let value from my work accumulate in your service if I know I can get it back out again if I so chose. Thank you Intese Debate! I ask every web app I profile about data export and the vast majority just tell me “oh, we’re working on that.”

While not perfect, our importers and exporters still offer an exceptional service to publishers. We find that releasing our solutions quickly enables us to improve even faster.  Why spend all our time perfecting a feature before we even know if it’s in an implementation that our users want?  We believe in letting our users shape our products instead.  We’ve already gotten tons of great feedback (and even help) from our users in regard to the importers and exporters. Thanks to all who have participated (and a special thanks to Coyotesqrl for all his time and effort).
We have set the standard and now others must rise to our level of openness. This is great for all publishers. At Intense Debate, we work very hard to find out what our publishers want and take extra care to execute upon those wants. In the end, everyone benefits.

We’ll keep leading the way, stay tuned. As always, feedback is very welcome!

Posted by Isaac Keyet in News

30 Oct 2007

Open Beta Launch+New Features

Today we enter an open beta where any publisher with a Typepad, Blogger, WordPress, or website can add an Intense Debate comment system to their site. Over the past few months we have made many site upgrades and bug fixes to get to where we are today and, while not perfect, we felt pushing a launch now would put Intense Debate in a great position moving forward.

While we open our site, we also make new features available that make Intense Debate truly special. We have heard from our critics that to be a true friend to the publisher and user we must use OpenID. We agree. Intense Debate will now make an OpenID sign up available to users. OpenID will make it easier for users to sign up for our service and also makes us not “another login.”

We have also made a great upgrade for our publishers in how our comments display. Now someone can click on their comment link and see the comments drop down from the actual post. This keeps the reader from having to go to a separate page to view and make comments. For readers who want to read the comments in a new window, we are now making this functionality available as well. Many users on video sites enjoy this so we felt compelled to build it.  You can adjust this feature from the blog settings page in your Intense Debate admin panel.

With all the new features you might overlook our new design elements. The new homepage is almost entirely redesigned with a new header that runs throughout the site and an intro video to spotlight our most important features. The new design makes better use of space and will help with usability.

We have also added some options for those with Typepad or Blogger blogs. We now offer an install on all of your posts or just those with no comments. Previously, we only offered an install on posts with no comments.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to know all that we offer. As mentioned before, we now have an intro video. To be even more clear, we have created a features page with some lengthier descriptions. Check it out!

And as if all this wasn’t enough, we’ve also included a completely new user dashboard.  Find out all kinds of great statistics about you and your friends.  See the latest comments from you, your friends, or all of Intense Debate.  Also get the latest news and updates on what’s happening with Intense Debate.  We put everything you need in one convenient location.

Along with the new features several bugs have been fixed. The most notable pertains to our login system which has been completely rebuilt to make it more scalable and solve some firewall issues.

We continue to search out feedback. Please feel free to drop us a line anytime at contactus@intensedebate.com

Posted by Isaac Keyet in Blogger,News,TypePad,WordPress Plugin

19 Oct 2007

Release: New WordPress Plugin With Importing And Exporting Capability

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We are happy to announce the release of our updated WordPress plugin.

Like our recent Blogger release, the new WordPress plugin incorporates both an importer and an exporter into the mix. With the importer, bloggers will be able to bring all of their previous blog comments into Intense Debate comment format. This is made very easy by simply clicking one button in a blogger’s WordPress control panel. The exporter is also simple and also allows our WordPress publishers the ability to give our system a try risk free. They can always deactivate our system and have all their ID comments exported to their WordPress system.

We will be notifying our WordPress publishers of this upgrade.

Along with the WordPress plugin upgrade we have release a series of bug fixes and optimizations. This includes a rewrite of the login system and optimizations to make our system load faster.

You may also notice some changes to our design as we make improvements based upon feedback. This includes some small changes like the collapse button within the comments and the RSS button.

Over the last week we have also released our new anonymous avatars. This is based on open source code found here http://digitalconsumption.com/forum/180. These avatars are generated according to a user’s ip address and uses a combination of shapes and colors to create a unique avatar for each commenter. The problem this helps to solve is where one anonymous commenter tries to impersonate another by using the same screename and url. With each user having their own different avatar, it is also nicer to look at because there is no longer the empty box with a question mark for each user.

As always, if you have more suggestions for how we can get better you can leave a comment on this post or leave a note in our forums.

Posted by Isaac Keyet in WordPress Plugin

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