Disqus vs. Intense Debate

I recently made the move to install Disqus here on GeekLad. I had been running it on WealthBoy for a while and decided to go ahead and install it here as well. I did also take a look at IntenseDebate, but in the end Disqus won out.

First, let’s take a look at the major common features between them:

  • Comment Threading – By default, WordPress comments do not allow threading, and all comments appear in a single thread. With Disqus and IntenseDebate, a thread is created when responses are posted to other comments.
  • Reply by Email – When responses are made to other comments, they are sent via email. A reply to the email sent will post right into the comment thread. There is no need to revisit the post to reply.
  • Comment Synchronization – Comments are synchronized between WordPress’ built-in system and Disqus/IntenseDebate
  • Comment Voting/Ranking
  • Importing Existing Comments
  • Commenter Profiles
  • Moderation
  • RSS Feeds
  • Gravatar Support

All of these features make sense and are relatively comparable between the two. Here are the IntenseDebate features that are lacking in Disqus:

  • Twitter and FriendFeed integration
  • Visual Appeal – I think that IntenseDebate comment threads have a better overall look and feel to them.

Not a particularly long list. Now for the features in Disqus that are lacking in IntenseDebate:

  • API
  • Full Comment History in Profiles
  • Community Page – The community page mirrors post/comment activity on the blog, but also allows Disqus members to start new discussions.

Not a particularly long list either. I think they are both great products. If you like the Twitter and FriendFeed integration that IntenseDebate offers, that feature may be what sways you toward IntenseDebate. However, if you’re concerned about search engine optiimzation, then Disqus is probably the better choice.

The community page for your blog will contain backlinks to your posts. That can help to boost your status with the search engines. The profile pages of the folks that comment on your blog will have backlinks to the posts as well. The more folks you have commenting on your blog, the more backlinks you will receive from profile pages.

IntenseDebate was recently acquired by Automattic (creators of WordPress.com), so they will most definitely be working on tightening up the integration with WordPress. I believe that they recently updated the WordPress plugin to have WordPress display the comments, rather than displaying them via JavaScript. That’s definitely a good step towards making it more search engine friendly. I’d like to also see them make changes to the profile pages, to allow people (and search engines) to see all of the comments that IntenseDebate users have posted.

About GeekLad

Geeklad is a technology enthusiast and programming hobbyist. Occasionally he will put together useful little bits of code (be it JavaScript or PHP) and share them with the world. He also enjoys creating and sharing howtos, describing how to do the things people want to do with their computers.
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  • jameshowardyoung

    I used Intense Debate for about a week before switching. For me, the layout had a lot to do with it. ID's layout is pretty blah.

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  • I am using disqus. But my problem is… I can't make plugins (comment luv, link love) working with it. I want to reward my valuable commentators who contribute a lot in my blog. Also, disqus is in a nofollow attribute, which sometimes, scare commentators away. Is there a solution to make it a dofollow. I have already installed dofollow plugins, but it did not work.

  • For me, they're pretty equal. My superficial and relatively quick judgment was based on following pros cons.

    Intense Debate – pros: Owned by Automattic, meaning it will integrate beautifully with WordPress.
    cons: Kind of ugly and difficult to use Facebook connect.

    Disqus: Pros: ease of use, Facebook Connect is less buggy and weird than ID. Great out-of-the box formatting
    cons: some annoyances such as deleted comments appearing in recent comments list for long periods of time

  • I had trouble getting dofollow plugins to work as well. I just resorted to editing the plugin file to remove the nofollow tags from the comments.

  • Hi there,
    When you edit the plugin, did it work? Can you tell me how to make Disqus an dofollow? Thank you very much.

  • I don't remember exactly, but I believe it was in the comments.php file in
    the plugin directory. Just look for the rel=”nofollow” in the code and
    remove it.

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  • Good post. Disqus has been freaking me out as I show up to a new blog and already it says I have made 108 comments and I'm like, not on Busty Babes from Beyond the Grave… 😉 Intense Debate is out of Vancouver so if I had a bug I'd walk three whole blocks and give them a piece of my mind. I like Disqus now that I've learned more, it is a shame OpenID doesn't rule all, now Facebook integration seems big because they like Google and Yahoo have so many existing users…

    I'll keep researching but I'm leaning towards Intense Debate if it is easier to install will win…

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  • Disqus all the way its much more user friendly

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  • Thanks for this comparising. I use Intensedebate right now and the main issue I am having is moderating comments. When I approve comments from intensedebate, they don't get approved in wordpress and when I log into wordpress, I have to approve the same comments at least three times in wordpress before they finally get approved. Anyone experiencing this?

  • looks like DISQUS won the battle, at least on this site. It's a good system that allows for a lot of customability.

  • One of the main advantages Disqus is; it has is the ability for users to login with Facebook Connect where the comments also appear in the commentators newsfeed, which has the capacity to go viral.

  • thanks for this info. i hope it can help to my site. thanks again

  • Yes. And it is getting very annoying. I have had comments show up three times on “Recent”, but only once in moderation window. Some show up in WordPress db, but not Intense and vice-a-versa. The immediate approval of non-ID users after their first approved comment doesn't work.

    I am close to trying disqus.

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  • So I went ahead and installed Intense Debate.

    Twenty four hours later I′m using Disqus, and I′m happy with it.

    Here′s the thing…Intense Debate would not allow me to edit comments, nor could I edit my replies after they were submitted. That, folks, was a show stopper for me.

  • I will add it to my website very soon.

  • i prefer use disqus than intense debate

  • I felt like intensedebate was always a little buggy on every wordpress installation I ever used it on. So I did an across the board migration to Disqus and could not be more happy with the change. I LOVE IT!

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  • i will definetly choose Disqus…

  • i always prefer for disqus.. because it is so simple and no need to more tech knowledge to manage.

  • evelyntiffany

    I'm wondering why you chose to compare Disqus with IntenseDebate…You have JK-kit has a greater coverage than IntenseDebate. I found an article about the differences between Disquis, JK-kit and IntenseDebate. You can see a chart there with statistics on how these three services are being used ad the results each brings in. I really hope it will help you see how IntenseDebate hasn't been used lately.
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  • I'm not sure if JK-kit was around back when I went with Disqus. I've been
    using Disqus for some time. If it was around, it was not as prominent as
    Disqus and IntenseDebate were.

  • thanks for the info, appreciate you sharing it with us. have bookmarked the site and will be back

  • Please help me how I can make disqus comment dofollow on my blog.

  • Disqus is more compatible with blogger engine. Like this stuff. 😛

  • Disqus too.. no reload page. 😀

  • evelyntiffany

    Disqus has been prominent since it appeared. Maybe this happened because lots of bloggers felt the need for something new and Disqus represented that change.

  • Thanks. That was helpful. I was using JS-Kit until they recently became the paid service ECHO. I'm “Grandfathered” in at the moment to use a lite version of ECHO, and that was okay until I recently purchased a new Domain name. It will cost me to redirect ECHO to the new domain. So once again I've gone “shopping” for a free alternative. Your comparison between the two favored options was very helpful.

  • nice review,

  • Thanks for the heads-up on Disqus, I'll give it a go!

  • I am joining this conversation more than a year after it started. In my case I am looking to potentially replace Disqus at it fails to perform up to its promises. Trackbacks are lost – or rather never found, twitter and FriendFeed reactions are hit or miss at present. So, I am looking at IntenseDebate kind of…er.. intensely. We'll see.

  • nah, I'm on the side of disqus… 😀

  • antikeyloggerantikeylogger

    This is my first comment but I feel like I should have been making loads of comments now because I always like your stuff. Maybe comments are for more hit and miss blogs than your own. When you maintain a consistent level of high quality output I reckon people are less inclined to comment because they have come to expect it from you. Just a theory.

    Never really occurred to me to leave a comment on the designboom weblog.. i mean sure, i read you guys everyday, but the posts i find interesting i fave or bookmark or share the url to others, rather than clicking the comment link.

    It's good to know your stand towards this comment thing going on. I've visited some design sites before that I find have repetitive comments from visitors, might be one of those you were pertaining to.

    I find I respect designboom more for the lack of comment obsession 🙂


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  • ill go with disqus its my favourite one.

  • disqus is really helpful tool for bloger to manage commenting style and process.

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  • i prefer for disqus.