Reply To Facebook Comments Via Email, At Last!

facebook comment reply email

facebook comment reply email

Today in the ‘yay!’ section, Facebook is announcing that users are finally able to reply to comments via email. Thus, no need to visit facebook.com over and over again to partake to a discussion, everything happens from the email inbox.

Finally Sir Facebook, we’ve been patiently waiting for this one. For well over two years now, through email, I have been managing my blog’s comments via Disqus, and my Twitter’s followers and DMs via Topify. Facebook was irritating because I mostly handle emails on my mobile, and Facebook’s mobile site is heavy and lame.

Now that replies to comments via email have been enabled, it would be a good suggestion to enable the same for inmails. Unfortunately, those are not public, and it seems like privacy is not a concern for Facebook anymore…

Via The Next Web.

911, Techcrunch, Fake Comments, Startupwizz

Techcrunch startupwizz twitter

techcrunch startupwizz google 911

I have a game for the readers of Techcrunch: I was reading this post today where Paul Carr, a columnist for Techcrunch, complains that his outrageous posts do not generate waves of death threats and blog-mob violence. Of course, what follows is a comment thread full of mixed reactions regarding the blunt writing style of the columnist.

Intro: Techcrunch needs comments

Before I keep going, I want to make sure you understand that Techcrunch gets paid (mainly) by page impressions. They have a direct sales team, and they work with ad networks to make money. But Techcrunch also spends money on events, a business directory (Crunchbase), high-profile writers, interns, heavy traffic hosting solutions… In other words, with all things in consideration, it’s probably challenging to keep the cash flow positive. Its direct competitor Mashable is a company of about the same size, with I imagine the same expenses. Mashable’s historic strategy is to cover everything from the tech industry. This ambitious SEO strategy allowed the blog to grow extremely fast, but there is so many updates per day that following it quickly turns into a major headache.

Techcrunch has a different strategy: They keep their posts/day around 10 to 15. To drive traffic, they go for the controversy strategy:

my whole shtick is saying inflammatory things and inciting furious debate among morons (Paul Carr, from article mentioned above)

Why? Because A well-versed educative article that can be read from a RSS reader, starred and forgotten forever doesn’t bring traffic. Techcrunch has +3 million RSS readerss, but they need to make them come to the site, because Adsense for feeds pays way less than TC’s ads. How do you make them come: With a controversial title that will make remote readers want to share their opinion on the site. When Techcrunch is going through a slow Sunday, why not trash the Brazilians, and have them all come to the site for a fight and a prolific load of ad impressions.

The ratio behind pushing comments is much more than 1 commenter = 1 ad impression. Today, comments travel through the statusphere, and all become a viral agent for the article-source. Techcrunch relies on its controversy-n-comment strategy to keep the business going, and just like any business, it seems like they sometimes go too far.

Startupwizz?

So I was saying, I was reading this post from Paul Carr, and the following comments. One comment struck me:

Techcrunch startupwizz comment

This comment intrigued me because of its well-articulated structure and its intellectual depth, which obviously contrasts with the rest of the comments. ‘Who’s that Startupwizz?’ I thought (‘BS! Fake comment!’ is what really popped into my mind) So I followed the @startupwizz link on Twitter:

Techcrunch startupwizz twitter

What you see here is a dull Twitter bot account. All the tweets originate from Twitterfeed (automatic posting of a RSS feed on Twitter), it follows 5 random accounts, and 3 accounts that belong to the Techcrunch network. It has 8 followers total, including spammers and people who haven’t done their friendorfollow cleanup yet.

Ok, a bot account linked to Techcrunch doesn’t mean that it actually belongs to Techcrunch. So I followed the link to Startupwizz’ Website to see what the company was all about: Startupwizz is a user-submitted directory of tech companies, much like… the Crunchbase. There is no specific info on the about page on who is behind this project. You have to use a contact form to send an email to someone. In other words, a fake Website. You can find other comments of Startupwizz on Techcrunch here, here, and here. Oddly enough, I could only find comments from Startupwizz on Techcrunch (911 results on Google for startupwizz).

Conclusion?

So now let me ask you: A commenter consistently posts well-balanced opinions, always and only on Techcrunch, with the name Startupwizz that can only be associated with a fake Twitter account and a fake Website, what do you think about it?

I declared war on anonymous commenters, making it absolutely clear how much I hate every last one of them, and even threatening to bludgeon the little basement-dwellers to death with their own Wil Wheaton action figures. (from the Paul Carr post mentioned above)

RateItAll: Taking Down The Fences Between An Opinion And A Review

rateitall

RateItAll, the consumer-ratings engine, just released a pretty unique feature for posting reviews online. First and foremost, each item on RateItAll now comes with a unique email address. For example, if you would like to review this blog, simply send your review to this email address – reviews+i1060190@rateitall.com – and RateItAll will automatically post it on HyveUp’s review page.

This is pretty useful if you want to encourage customers to rate your business: Writing a quick email is much more likely to happen then signing up to a Website to drop a quick review.

RateItAll goes an extra mile though, and releases another way to post reviews to RateItAll: Simply send reviews to reviews@rateitall.com, and the consumer-ratings engine does the rest:

If you don’t want to bother with the specific email addresses, you can send your review to reviews@rateitall.com. Your review will post instantly, and again, we will send you a link to where you can see it. No login or registration required. The thing you are reviewing goes in the Subject Line (e.g. Ritual Roasters), and the rating and review go in the body.

rateitall email review

This tool is seriously taking down the fences between an opinion and a review. Any business could encourage their customers to send a review about the business they are at to reviews@rateitall.com. Anyone with a cell phone could easily do that today. I think RateItAll just made online reviews easier than it’s ever been before!

Discussing Comments on Disqus

Disqus

Disqus, a Y Combinator startup, is a comment system that enables site publishers/bloggers and commenters to gain more control over their commenting activities. As you can see in the video, Disqus offers a lot of functionality around comments: Customize the look of the comment box, Seesmic‘s video comment, trackbacks, comment moderation, widgets, and so much more.

A lot of bloggers are really enthusiast about their Disqus comment system: Fred Wilson early-adopted the service and liked it so much he invested in Disqus. Seesmic Founder Loic LeMeur chose Disqus as the first remote comment system to integrate Seesmic‘s video comments. When Friendfeed came clashing the market with its promise of syndicating the whole Web discussion on its boat, Disqus created a bridge with the ex-Googler startup to expand the reach of Disqus’ comments. Disqus has developed in such a way that it became the best fit comment system to adapt to the evolution of the social media.

As usual, the buzz comes with a bug. Some voices arose on the Web pointing out to the fact that Disqus “steals” traffic from blogs, because their email alerts send recipients to the Disqus threaded comments interface, instead of linking back to the original post. After acquiring Haloscan a few days back, JS-Kit added a portable profile feature to their own commenting system and CEO Khris Loux made a direct attack against Disqus’ ways:

Despite the fact that this feature is clearly inspired by Disqus, Khris Loux does not hesitate to bash his much-buzzed-about competitor, which he alleges “steals traffic from bloggers” and “is not upfront about its plans to monetize at the expense of its users.

It doesn’t sound very thoughtful to aggress Silicon Valley’s favorite commenting system heads on. Plus you could argue that re-directing email alerts’ traffic to the Disqus platform is actually more convenient, as you can participate to the discussion of several blogs from there.

Disqus is a very reliable commenting system. I’ve been a user since mid-November 2007: It never crashed, never lost a comment of mine, never did weird stuff or got hacked by spamming bots. It’s a very reliable system. For those worried about what Disqus could end up doing to monetize comments, from what I know of Disqus’ CEO, he is very ethical and trustworthy.