How Are We Signing Into This Blog?

A week ago I sent Daniel Ha, founder and CEO of Disqus, an email asking him to pull some stats from this blog's comment service (which disqus powers). I wanted to know the breakdown of commenters for the previous two weeks and how they logged in to comment.

Here is the data:


Facebook Connect: 44
Guest (anonymous): 125
Twitter Sign-in: 130
Disqus Profile: 888


Facebook Connect: 33 people (avg: 1.3 comments / person)
Twitter Sign-in: 78 people (avg: 1.6 comments / person)
Guest: 125 people (avg: 1.0 comments / person) 
Disqus Profile: 362 people (avg: 2.4 comments / person)

The dominance of the disqus profile should not be surprising since I've been using them for almost two years now and most of the frequent commenters on this blog have a disqus profile.

But the rise of Facebook Connect and Twitter Sign-in are impressive. I've had Facebook Connect for a few months and I've had Twitter Sign-in for the past month. In a short period of time, they have taken over guest logins and are generating significantly more engagement than a guest login.

My hope is that guest logins start to fall away. This blog will always support a guest login for commenting (and over the weekend guest logins got the ability to subscribe to a comment thread). But I feel that people who comment with a real profile are generally more thoughtful with their comments and it creates a stronger community.

I'm also pleased to see Twitter sign-in doing so well. I've tried commenting via Facebook Connect and Twitter sign-in and I think the latter is much simpler. So it's not totally surprising that it's doing a little better on this blog. Both are strong products and I expect when and if I do this query in a year from now, we'll see both Facebook Connect and Twitter sign-in with even more penetration than they have now.

I'm curious to hear all of your thoughts on the sign in process, the new options from Facebook and Twitter, and what more you'd like.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Nigel Walsh

    Fred, I like the Disqus approach. Or maybe it’s just laziness – its kept me logged in therefore I don’t have to do anything. I have both twitter & Facebook. It would be interesting to see if possible how many people switched from one to the other, or like me – as it’s there and logged in – it’s about convenience.

  2. Peter Clark

    I just want to enter my Email and have Disqus do all the hard work of “verifying” me and including relevant details [eg twitter]. Logging in sucks because I have to click various buttons to log in, and we’re assuming I’ve registered.I love how Disqus lets you “claim” comments at a later stage. But it should be cleaner.I find it worrysome logging in with my Twitter profile, because I don’t want my comments sent to Twitter – I know I can disable it, but I don’t know that initially.I dislike Facebook Connect because I don’t want to blur the lines of “talking on a vc blog” with “my social address book”

    1. Nigel Walsh

      Peter – valid point about the FB Connect – business & social – agree 100% on this.

      1. Tom Newton

        As do I… oops.

    2. ShanaC

      Well, we all know my Drama with Disqus and claiming…I’ll come back and tell you what I think about some parts later. (I can tell you, the ability to only leave messages via disqus at is a bit annoying. Think of a system wide collapse of Disqus. If that was the only way to contact everyone there, everyone would be stuck.)In theory I love parts of it. I like that I can see myself and track my growth and what I think. When one write regularly, seeing how your thoughts and writing changes helps one see how one grows, and this is definitely the best tool out there that I’ve seen to check up on myself. That’s actually really important to me, as I hope to over the summer be setting up a number of blogs. The interactions that will occur there span a number of different types of people and cultural groups. Therefore the ability to track either under multiple profiles or even one, is beneficial.As for Facebook Connect- I concur about “blurring the lines.” Even though I know my interests as an individual “blur the lines,” I do worry about the realities that come with those interests. How much do I want to expose myself? This is especially important because I have a recognition that not all facets of the world I live in find the internet a positive place, or that everything I could say or do on the internet positive. Those reasons are extensive: Whether it be that I watch TV on the internet, or alternatively on the flip side, write in a very specific broken English to friends.Speaking of which- I’m very curious about two things involving Disqus long term.Language support: It seems to support Hebrew well, so congrats guys! But can I install a spellcheck, beyond the one native to the browser? Does this support more obscure languages that would override spellchecks, such as Yiddish? How is your support of Chinese and Japanese going, not that I speak either, because these are among the fastest growing languages for bloggers?And:The CSS.This thing clashes with your blog. There should be a way of setting it up, ideally down to the font, to make it match.

    3. Scott

      Same here regarding fb connect blasting your techie disqus comments all over news feeds, but I’ve found that the friend lists + privacy settings for applications work pretty well in limiting who can see those comments (and who can’t see certain photos).

  3. Mayank Sharma

    This is an interesting validation of twitter being used as a primary networking tool. I myself have been following your blog on twitter and come to know of any development through twitter.

  4. AndyBeard

    With the changes Google has been making with nofollow over the last year, but we only found out about over the last few weeks, Discus and competitors might see a boost.

    1. disqus_hgxF03qBM3

      Can you Explain?Ps trying to use fb connect via iPhone here to comment has been maddening. Lots of refreshing scrolling back to the top of the article (not the comments where I was trying to comment)

      1. AndyBeard

        It is a lot easier to give you some reference links…Subsequent to the update I made on the above post, I have now posted this about Disqus, which will probably bring a big smile to Fred’s face.

        1. fredwilson

          a big smile to my face, although i have to admit that i don’t totally understand a bunch of the issues you described in that post.

          1. AndyBeard

            On Google changes I doubt 95% of the SEOs understand the ramifications fullyWith Disqus, that was just the short list

          2. fredwilson

            SEO is a black art to me

    2. fredwilson

      That would be nice

  5. Dennis Tracz

    twitter sign in is very convenient

  6. Henry Yates

    Just logged in using Twitter for the first time (I use Disqus) – that was a very easy process. I was already logged in to Twitter so I did not have to do anything. I can see why people will take this up.Small thing – it is also easier entering your twitter name than your whole email address with @s and dots. This may be a fractional saving in time, but as people get used to this they may increasingly choose to sign to new services using twitter if they get the choice.

  7. fnazeeri

    I like that Disqus allows you to Tweet comments with one little checkbox…

    1. fredwilson

      And I like that the default is off. Unlike how jskit does it. The latter results in unintentional spam

  8. paulhart

    Enabling third-party signups is a true win-win.From a customer standpoint, I like being able to access the Disqus service through my third-party login credentials, as it saves me having to create yet another account.From a business standpoint, I get access to a wealth of social network information and I can encourage customers to broadcast through the third party, creating a viral marketing campaign (social proof etc) – like I am with this comment.

  9. Andrus

    It would be great if every blogger who uses disqus could see such data without contacting Daniel.

    1. fredwilson

      Its coming. Disqus reports and analytics will be here soon

  10. Michael Fidler

    Fred, I haven’t been commenting here that long, but it’s been long enough to notice that this blog has the best community of readers I’ve ever come across. I’m as likely to have someone else reply to one of my comments here, as I am from you. It’s not just that they take the time to reply, but they’re generally very helpful too. Honestly, I think this is all a reflection of you. They’re helpful, knowledgeable, and love to share whatever they can with other people, like you. I hope this isn’t out of place, but I thought it was worth mentioning. For the record, I like Disqus, besides I’m already logged in.

    1. fredwilson

      Its true and its something I am so lucky to have.

  11. Diego Sana

    As a developer, i like twitter sign-in approach better than facebook connect. Although Fb has been slowing changing, they aren’t (and i think they will never be) as open as twitter really is. My only concern about Twitter sign-in (and this is the reason why i might not implement before fb connect) is twitter’s reliability. Twitter still go offline too frequently, so twitter outtages means your users can’t login to your website.

    1. fredwilson

      Agreed. But if you look at twitter’s pingdom stats which they publish on, you’ll see that they are getting better and better

  12. Mark Essel

    Did you have to do anything special to allow facebook/twitter sign in Fred? I have disqus kicking on my wordpress blog and love it so far (thanks much for pointing it out).What about openid or google mail, can we allow those for blog sign ins? I’d accept friendfeed authentication in a heartbeat, great community there.

    1. fredwilson

      I believe you have to add twitter and fb connect in your disqus config dashboard.I don’t know when, but I think you’ll see google and maybe openid and may ff too

      1. obscurelyfamous

        Yes to the first two… the latter of which should be rearing its head later this week.

        1. ShanaC

          Daniel, where are you based out of- the drama of the inability to claim continues.A new piece of the Puzzle: Shana is recognized when I ask for them to email me a password. My email address, is not.Where did I go?

          1. obscurelyfamous

            Happy to solve this for you. Shoot me an email and I’ll make sure we figure this out.

        2. harpos_blues

          Daniel,Can you help me figure out why commenting from Firefox Mac is such a chore? My profile isn’t recognized by Disqus, and often I just cannot log-in successfully. If I switch to Safari (or any webkit browser, like on my Pre), Disqus works just fine.Thanks

  13. Jon Knight

    I rely on twitter nowadays to find your newest posts. Guess I joined the ex-RSS club… still subscribed, mind you. I just never seem to have the time for the reader anymore.Still, I always just hit the Disqus button to login. Like Nigel, it’s about convenience. For me, that’s the big D (I like how fast it is, among other things), but for others it’s going to be something else. I think it’s nice there’s a choice. Everybody gets what they think they want.

  14. RichardF

    I like Disqus, I’d like to see it extended to websites out of the blogosphere like Amazon reviews, trusted reviews, top table etcAs an alternative log in I’d like LinkedIn (if it were possible), it’s something I’ve only just started to revisit after signing up years ago and not doing anything about it. However I do feel it’s a social network that is starting to get traction and appeals to me more than Facebook. I like to keep my business and social networks relatively separated, obviously they do overlap.

  15. kidmercury

    when i signed in via twitter, the comments did not show up in my disqus stream or rss feed. i contacted disqus via twitter (@disqus) and they told me they hadn’t integrated the two yet, so i need to sign in via disqus if i want it to show up in my disqus stream. that’s kinda a bummer, but i’m sure they’ll get it ironed out as i think they are on the right trajectory.not sure if FB Connect and Twitter sign-in will continue to grow, the macroeconomic issues will dictate that in my opinion. in light of current trends and the nonchalance of the internet community, i’m a bit skeptical. the idea of allowing multi-platform sign-in, though, is a winner and a trend worth riding IMHO.

    1. fredwilson

      The new disqus profile service which is going to be clearly differentiated from the disqus comment system will do what you want kid

  16. stanleyyork

    i’d love to see comment services like disqus visually aggregate comments from a community (like this) and repurpose the entire history of comments (e.g. “the discussion”) on a page so people can dive into topics and learn/contribute. I’m thinking a tagcloud, but it needs to be more than that…you should be able to get a macro/basic understanding of the discussion on the main page and then be able to dive in…everything would be links, and you could keep diving deeper into topics/conversations. I would also add 3rd party resources (which would be selected automatically, of course), like wikipedia/flickr/twitter/etc to enhance the topics. This way you can use the insights craeted by the comments (which is where the real conversation is) to drive further insights and innovation. It would be like wikipedia on steriods. Something to think about/test…

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve talked to daniel about this a bunch. i call it the “cliff notes” version of the thread. it would give you a basic summary of the thread, a few choice “pull quotes”, and probably at least one of the most “pro” comments and one of the most “negative” comments. it’s not an easy problem to solve but if someone does, it will be huge. the 300+ comment threads are so tough to wade through unless you are doing it as they come in (which is what i do)

      1. stanleyyork

        like anything else online…instead of creating a system to do all this, there’s got to be a way to harness “the crowd” to do it for you. this method, along with other sources, such as…the users social profile strength (diff. variables about me)# of replies to a commentwords in the comment…would all be a good start.

        1. fredwilson

          Ooh. Peer produce the cliff notes. Good thinking

          1. stanleyyork

            and then you could also syndicate those cliff notes out across the web…imagine if the wikipedia article about “technology platforms” had disqus threads integrated (either in a side bar or in the article itself)…it would make it much more “live” then it currently is.think you could sell these “live, auto-transforming” content cliff note databases to companies in their specific industry? for instance, if you could provide a “shopper marketing” (a niche marketing industry) to my company to host on our blog we might pay you for that content. or you could sell it to a consulting firm for insights. soooo many utilizations.(wish I could either code or put these ideas to the test…some day)

          2. fredwilson

            Adopt a hacker 😉

  17. Christian Brucculeri

    Facebook Connect is the new single-sign on . This concept takes Marc Andreessen’s goals with NING and makes it a reality; I am the same person no matter where I go, and the ubiquity allows me “ease of conversation”.As much as I enjoy this blog, there would have been a higher barrier to entry for me to have to create a new profile an password. Without a simple way to engage, I might not have been compelled to comment.

    1. fredwilson

      i agree although for twitter uses, its sign in with twitter that is the new single sign-on.

      1. Christian Brucculeri

        Agreed, but I think this comes down to network effects:* “Everyone” uses Facebook* “A lot of people” use Twitter* “Some people” use DisqusThe winning technology will be the one with the greatest adoption. Currently, Facebook has the heavyweight belt; this drives demand for implementing the technology above all other options.

        1. Luke M. Muszkiewicz

          But when I click on your name, Christian, I’m taken to your Facebook page, where I’m given no information because we’re not “friends.” And that’s okay — we don’t know each other. I just want some contextual information, or perhaps I want to know if you have a blog or tweet, etc.My Facebook profile doesn’t serve as my public, online identity. Twitter doesn’t either, though I do follow and am followed by (a few) people I don’t know, unlike Facebook.As such, using either my Facebook or Twitter account as my generic login everywhere doesn’t really make sense to me.

  18. Jeff Chow

    I think part of the reason that twitter is doing so well compared to fb connect has to do with the current brand perception of the services. Facebook to me is still about friends and Twitter is about people I find interesting (not just for networking purposes). That wider circle is much more akin to blogs and commenting. It’ll be interesting to see how effective the changes FB is taking right now (feed, vanity urls, public profiles etc) will be to join the broader conversation.

  19. Morgan Warstler

    As with the FB share thing, I’d really like it if each disqus post I made across the web, easily (automatically) posted to my tumblr account.

    1. fredwilson

      Cool idea. I’ll forward to daniel

  20. Wayne Brenckle

    Totally agree with the less “guests” = stronger community idea.

  21. paramendra

    People who leave comments with their Disqus/Twitter/Facebook profiles are just more real. And if you don’t have one of the three, how 2.0 are you really? I am so glad now you can sign in with any of the three at Disqus enabled comments sections.A blog post has many sections: the actual write up, the images, the videos, the links, the comments section, the trackback/backlink section. All of them are important. Disqus is out to prove the comments/trackback section is almost as important as the actual blog post. It takes more effort to post a thoughtful comment than to tweet, for one. And because of Disqus, all my comments anywhere in the blogosphere also end up at this one place. We might soon need a new term for it. Comment blogging? Or maybe not. Commenting is good and simple enough a term.But anyways, that is not why I showed up here today. I saw this:… And then I realized I saw what you looked like for the first time yesterday:…Before that we had exchanged a few comments. Before that I had known you as a VC who has an active blog. I am surprised more don’t. But then maybe there is a correlation between the fact that you are so 2.0 and you also happen to be an investor in Twitter, Disqus, Zemanta, pretty much all the high buzz stuff that is going on.Scale Twitter (…, add revenue models (Twitter Enterprise? Ads?) and go public. The market value is going to be in the billions.

    1. fredwilson

      i left you a question in a comment to your post

      1. paramendra

        And I responded to it as soon as I saw the alert in my Gmail inbox. A long response too.Honored to be talking to you.

  22. andyswan

    The battle is on. Facebook vs. Twitter. Winner claims the crown of “default internet ID.”Both will make OpenID irrelevant.My money is on facebook, even though I hate it. Never bet against the kiddos.

    1. ShanaC

      I diagree. I think, especially with B2B social networking, we underestimate the value of privacy, and the idea of bleeding surfaces. Facebook is valuable because it edges on the side of more privacy, Twitter on the side of less.Neither model is the final revolution of what the Web will be like. We still do not know how we are going to handle the bleed. Or how we feel about it across a wide variety of situations. We are still developing that wisdom.I’m looking forward to that future, but my bets are off the table, mostly because I do not know how to react to the fact that my greatest enemy, humans, are also my greatest friends…

      1. andyswan

        I agree, there will be no final version of the web.

    2. fredwilson

      The kiddos are on twitter too andy. I am seeing it in my everyday life

      1. andyswan

        Me too and I’m rooting for it…. But there is an entire generation that thinks Facebook IS the internet! 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          I have three kids of that generation and they are coming out of that phase and waking up to the world wide web.It makes me so happy to see my daughter start a blog or my other daughter start a fake twitter for her boyfriend or see josh get addicted to mafia wars.Facebook still is a huge part of their lives but its not AOL style immersion anymore

          1. andyswan

            Best news I’ve heard all week. Hopefully your small sample is more applicable than mine!

  23. satch

    must confess I didn’t know you could do this …

  24. daryn

    I’m a huge disqus fan, and have it on my own blog, so I’ll always use that option, but regarding guests, I think disqus send followup emails to every guest comment (on at least non-anonymous ones with email addresses) inviting them to claim their identity.I see a lot of the same “guests” leaving comments, and I think it’s mainly because they don’t want to go through the effort of signing up. If disqus made it as easy as a one-click activation, which then prompted them for any other optional info, I think we’d see a lot more verified commenters.

  25. GiordanoBC

    I have started commenting more after the introduction of the Twitter sign-in, simply because I find more interesting to direct people that might read the comments to my Twitter page rather than to my Facebook one (I tweet a lot, and don’t update FB much. Also, my FB network is limited to my friends).In general, I think that Twitter’s problem is that it doesn’t have much data on me, while Facebook does, and Facebook Connect is a much more powerful bi-directional API. That’s where Facebook gets the upper-hand, and where it has has a great opportunity to be not a destination site, but the connective tissue of social media, brokering data, content and transactions on their user base across N platforms. I would be happy to have a single account across all services, and managing my profile, payment information and every other user data through it. I think that Facebook could be close to doing it, especially with the launch of their new currency system

  26. GiordanoBC

    One issue with Twitter sign-in is that you don’t get notified when someone answer your comments.A simple solution:create a Disqus-manager Twitter account that people would follow, and that would send you a DM with a link every time there’s a new comment for you

    1. fredwilson

      I believe this needs to be addressed and I think it will be

  27. markslater

    signing in from dubai using disqus – and all the rage is the twitter revolution across the water in iran!

  28. David Woodward

    the fastest, simplest app will win, because that’s where the masses will go. Twitter sign-in works for me

  29. Scott

    Are you able to merge a legacy disqus account with your fb connect account yet? This seems like a killer feature and @disqus said it’s on the way as of a few months ago.

    1. fredwilson

      Coming soon as part of the newly redesigned disqus profile

  30. Clyde Smith

    I really hate the way Disqus hijacks comments. At least, that’s how it feels to me.I don’t have a Facebook profile for business and my Twitter accounts are just broadcast feeds.My blogs are how I identify myself online. I never comment anonymously anywhere, except once on a sensitive topic, and I take full responsibility for whatever stupid comments I make along the way.Can you respect that, homie?

    1. fredwilson

      Totally respect that. But why do you feel they are hijacking them? Each commenter has a disqus profile where all of their comments are stored. I feel like I finally own my comments with disqus

      1. Clyde Smith

        Hijacking was what my experience of Disqus felt like to me. I use a link back to my blog in order to establish my identity. What I didn’t realize after setting up a Disqus account was that after that, when I commented on blogs that had Disqus, they would link to my Disqus account rather than to whatever I wanted it to link to whether or not I was logged into Disqus.Basically I didn’t understand how it worked and so the experience of learning how it worked felt like a hijacking. I didn’t expect to have a Disqus id show up when I wasn’t logged in and wanted to identify myself in a different manner.So whether or not that’s hijacking, after I realized how it works, I shut down that account because I don’t have an interest in using my comments to build somebody else’s media property in that manner. Seeing a link to a third party site away from where the conversation occurred didn’t feel like ownership to me.But I’m certainly down for commenting on a blog like this where I’m happy to be one of many commenters responding to your work.

        1. fredwilson

          Thanks. I appreciate you explaining that to me. I had a lot of negative reactions to disqus in the early days. But I think most people are warming up to it now. As a blog owner, I’ve loved it from the minute I had it

          1. Clyde Smith

            The thing is, I can see it working really well for some folks, it just didn’t work for me.And, I have to admit, problem commenters on my blogs tend to be anonymous.I also dig the fact that you’re using a tool that you’ve invested in.Thanks for responding to my comments.

  31. Liam

    disqus rules