Louis Gray talks about meeting Disqus founder Daniel Ha over the weekend and how that meeting made him even more impressed with the company as a whole. For those who don't know Disqus is a centralized commenting system. Bloggers can replace their comment system with Disqus which then allows commenters to log in using an account and have a persistent identity across all Disqus enabled blogs.
Here's the one paragraph gist of Mr. Gray's feelings towards Disqus....
For a service that's already got what I believe to the best solution with threaded conversations, a strong GUI and centralized activity, Disqus is continuing to work hard to maintain their lead. Andrew's comments point to near-term release of importing, exporting and trackbacks, and Daniel seems to have an extremely level perspective on what could be a challenging environment for anyone, let alone a 22 year-old entrepreneur. I believe we need a lot more people like Daniel focused on delivering a great customer experience with real benefits, who are less focused on the day to day fights between competitors than they are on getting the service perfected.
Disqus is one of those companies that is on the rise in "blogger talk share". Like Twitter and FriendFeed before it I firmly believe Disqus will obtain "A-List Darling" status in the coming months. But bloggers are a false positive for these types of services and I really think Disqus needs to realize that if they want to succeed in the long term.
Most of the bloggers endorsing Disqus are the types that basically live on line. It's a clique of about 1,000 people and they, for better or worse, don't have any issue with putting themselves completely out there.
While that's great for them I don't think it's how most people live. Which is why I think it is a mistake for Disqus to continue their current track of making all the comments fall into one global pot.
I really don't think people want a centralized identity on the web. The beauty of the web is that there is probably some site out there for just about anything. That makes it very easy to connect with people who share whatever specialized interest you have. But that doesn't necessarily mean you want all those interests coming together.
People aren't centralized by nature. We act in different ways depending on who we're around at the time and how we think those people perceive us. So while the CEO of a fortune 500 company might be the biggest comic book fan in the world he probably isn't going to bring that up at a stock holders meeting.
People want the ability to pursue their interests privately.
If Disqus really wants to take off I think they need to look at allowing people to have a global log-in that can have several identities attached to it. Then allow blogs to form communities amongst themselves rather than being part of one big Disqus community. That way users can determine for themselves how much of their life they want to share with the people who might read their comments.
Until Disqus finds a way to let them do that I don't see it going very far.