Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Disqus: Is Following Buzz More Important Than Building Good Product?

I was initially surprised to see Disqus put *any* focus on integrating Seesmic video comments *right now*. I have nothing against Seesmic (or Disqus). I just question this as a priority for Disqus. Though I installed Disqus on our blog, I’m currently considering removing it. One person reported an issue where they can’t see the Disqus comments for ll posts (still not sure why yet) and there are issues with the way we use Wordpress where sometimes comments for posts are lost completely (huge downside!). Then there is the issue of SEO, while not a huge issue for us is apparently a huge issue for many.

Is it better to follow hot buzz? The base of users who read and post comments is much higher than the base of people who view or post video comments. I do understand the need to glom onto “what’s hot” to some degree, but it seems like Disqus should have many priorities ahead of Seesmic. That said, Loic is a social media marketing guru and though perhaps video commenting is not yet any big deal, MANY of the right people are aware of Seesmic. So while I understand Disqus’ desire to give it some focus, I still very much questioned it as a priority given the other issues Disqus currently faces.

I’m sure that the Disqus crew believes building good product is very important and I doubt that incorporating Seesmic is any big deal for Disqus, but it’s still overhead that takes away from focusing on other things. It seems that in the priority queue, Disqus felt it was at least as important to glom onto “what’s hot” as it is to fix other stuff with its product.

The more I thought about it the more I thought it’s a good call on Disqus part. I don’t think Disqus is concerned with buzz because it’s looking for a quick exit. I think Disqus is looking for the most visibility it can possibly get without spending much (any?) money on marketing. From this perspective, I would do exactly what Disqus is doing simply because Loic is such a “free marketing” genius. It will garner Disqus more mindshare and without spending any money other than the man hours required for the integration and I doubt that was a huge number of hours.

In the world of small startup companies, it seems that sometimes there are good reasons for "riding the wave".

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