Hands-on: 3 comment platforms make blog management easier
Disqus, IntenseDebate, and Livefyre can help site owners keep control of the conversation
All three services share a few key features. They're easy to set up, especially on WordPress; they do a reasonably good job of making your comments portable in case you want to switch services; and they fall back to your native blog's comments if their services are unavailable.
IntenseDebate's two biggest features -- tight integration with WordPress and reputation-scoring -- don't set it apart as definitively as they ought to, as the other products here do at least as well in either of those categories. Also, some of the limitations (like the 20-character name limit) seem arbitrary. IntenseDebate has only one level of service -- free -- but that at least makes its costs predictable.
Livefyre works best if one of your priorities is to tie in other social networks and their audiences, allowing conversations to extend beyond your own site but still remain manageable. The commercial version of Livefyre is far more customizable and better supported, but the basic edition should be fine for the majority of users.
But if you're looking for a solid discussion-management tool, Disqus is the easiest default choice: it's the most widely used, directly supports the broadest range of blog platforms, and isn't missing anything crucial. (Disqus's steep monthly pricing for its other tiers beyond the basic service is for those who want to make advanced use of its APIs or get guaranteed performance.) It's hard to go wrong with it no matter what you're doing.
Serdar Yegulalp has been writing about computers and information technology for over 15 years for a variety of publications.
Read more about content management in Computerworld's Content Management Topic Center.