TypePad Connect

For the past few weeks, I had been looking into a new commenting system for my blog because it was difficult to track lengthy conversations.

I’d had good experiences with Disqus as a commenter on a few blogs. Although Disqus advertises that bloggers can use it on TypePad, what they didn’t reveal — until I tried to install it — is that it only works with the TypePad Pro pricing plan and higher.

Next, I tried IntenseDebate. Whilst not as popular as Disqus, IntenseDebate has many of the same features. I got as far as installing it onto my TypePad blog, but ran into a problem. I was supposed to be able to have all my old comments appear natively in TypePad, and entries posted after I installed IntenseDebate would feature the new commenting system. I wanted to keep my old comments. Unfortunately this didn’t work. What happened is that IntenseDebate just appeared over all comments, making it appear as if no one had replied to my old posts. I asked for help at their GetSatisfaction customer support page, however no assistance came. I decided to uninstall it because it wasn’t working as advertised. After reading around, I discovered that getting IntenseDebate to install on a TypePad Plus blog was an imperfect hack rather than true integration.

By good fortune, SixApart released TypePad Connect BETA several days ago. TypePad Connect has some of the same features that Disqus and IntenseDebate have, like comment threading, user pictures, and user profiles. SixApart integrated TypeKey profiles into TypePad connect, so if you already have a TypeKey profile, it has evolved into a TypePad profile. Everyone can sign up for a free TypePad profile (here’s mine), regardless of your blogging platform and whether you blog or not. This is exactly like IntenseDebate and Disqus, where you can create a commenter profile. Like Disqus and IntenseDebate, bloggers can use TypePad Connect on their blogs to help manage their comments, regardless of whether you have a Movable Type or TypePad blog.

Disqus and IntenseDebate are the more established commenting systems, so they do have more robust basic moderation features as well as flashier bells and whistles that TypePad Connect lacks — such as comment statistics, reputation systems, comment voting/rating, comment flagging (for appropriateness), video comments (Disqus), widgets that display information about a blog’s commenters, and better integration with other social networking platforms. IntenseDebate, in particular, has a ton of moderation features that I would find very useful if TypePad Connect had them. I think that the TypePad profiles could be more aesthetically pleasing. The profiles on Disqus and IntenseDebate just feel more Web 2.0.

I installed TypePad Connect on my blog, and I’m very pleased with it so far. I’m just as pleased that I have a native commenting system that allows me to keep all my old comments and makes conversations easier to follow. TypePad Connect is still in beta, so there are probably a few minor issues, but I’ve had few problems with it, and the initial problems I did have were quickly solved by the SixApart team.

I hope SixApart takes some cues from Disqus and IntenseDebate and decides to integrate many more features that are essential to commenting systems (IP blacklisting, email blacklisting, word filters), as well as of the more social network-y features.

EDIT – 24 November 2008: So apparently I can ban IP addresses and words in TypePad Connect. However, it doesn’t let you ban email addresses. It would also be nice, for those blogs that publish comments without moderation, for there to be an option to hold comments in moderation depending on IP address, number of links, email address, and key words.

  11 comments for “TypePad Connect

  1. 23 November 2008 at 22:04

    I appreciate you requesting new features from TypePad to make this Connect service even better. Having not used Disqus or IntenseDebate before, I was unaware of some of the improvements you mention here. Since Connect is still in beta, I’m hoping we’ll see it evolve and grow.

    Thanks again for being the pioneer. ;-)

  2. 24 November 2008 at 07:28

    I’m really glad you’re liking it so far. :)

  3. 24 November 2008 at 23:07

    ;-) I like evaluating stuff like this.

  4. 24 November 2008 at 23:08

    I’m glad that SixApart created it. I hope it gives Disqus and IntenseDebate some good competition. :-)

  5. 4thVariety
    25 November 2008 at 03:00

    Banning IPs won’t work with everybody. Most Europeans will only get a temporary IP which will be different each time they log onto their ISP. Blacklisting a single IP will feel good but hardly impact the user behind it. Especially not if they are using large ISPs with millions of IPs to go round. Even though they got regional clusters, the chances of getting the same IP within one year are pretty slim. Disconnecting, then reconnecting should work anytime, since a disconnected IP will take a few minutes to go back into the pool to be handed out to another user.

  6. 25 November 2008 at 03:37

    Yes. I know. This is exactly why I wrote about a variety of blacklisting techniques, particularly email blocking, which TypePad Connect lacks. Having multiple ways to moderate and ban troublesome users is really important in any commenting system. Here are the relevant quotes, with emphasis added since you missed them the first time around:

    “I hope SixApart takes some cues from Disqus and IntenseDebate and decides to integrate many more features that are essential to commenting systems (IP blacklisting, email blacklisting, word filters), as well as of the more social network-y features.”

    and

    “So apparently I can ban IP addresses and words in TypePad Connect. However, it doesn’t let you ban email addresses. It would also be nice, for those blogs that publish comments without moderation, for there to be an option to hold comments in moderation depending on IP address, number of links, email address, and key words.”

    I hope that addresses some of your TypePad Connect doubts and beliefs, though you can probably ask SixApart themselves for more information directly through their support system.

    Thanks.

  7. 25 November 2008 at 14:13

    I’m glad your experience has been good so far and that you’re embracing our current status as a Beta offering. Rest assured that a lot of the flashy bells and whistles are either underway or on our radar. :)

    One thing I’d like to point out is that we already have IP and word banning: From your comment management screen select the “Block list” tab on the left. Also, we currently provide the ability to block a logged-in (OpenID or TypePad) user from commenting on your blog, although this is most useful when you require registration to comment. We definitely recognize the need for additional moderation tools as well.

    Keep the feedback coming, it’s great to hear!

  8. 25 November 2008 at 15:13

    That’s really great to hear. I’m eagerly and curiously looking forward to more features.

    I’m really glad that I switched over from self-hosting my blog to hosting with TypePad, which I did this past August. I’ve found TypePad to be a great service so far, and SixApart seems committed to continuous improvements, so I do feel like I’m getting value for money. It’s great that SixApart isn’t just content to sit on its laurels in the blogging space and is now creating more competition in the comment management space as well.

  9. Zahra
    26 November 2008 at 14:59

    Strangely enough, I’ve had the same problem twice in as many days with this new commenting system: When I click on the “Comments” link, no comments appear. If I go back one page (to the blog’s main page) and try again, the comments appear. Maybe I’m too impatient and the comments would appear by themselves if I waited a few seconds more, but I thought I’d let you know.

  10. 9 December 2009 at 20:13

    Hey Thanks! This was more helpful then the intense debate site!

  11. 10 December 2009 at 22:07

    Glad it was useful for you. :-)

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