The AVC Network

Disqus (a portfolio company of USV) has rolled out a really sweet analytics service as part of its "add ons" that were released a few weeks ago. You get the analytics as part of every add on package, including the $19/month Plus service.

There are four main parts of the analytics service; snapshot, activity, people, and network. It's the network tab that has me the most interested. I'm always curious where the most active AVC community members hang out when they are not on AVC. Since Disqus is first and foremost a commenting system, "hanging out" means commenting for the purposes of this post.

Here's the answer:

Disqus network

I'd like to see more than the top six. Ideally I'd like to see the top 25 or more. But this is a good start. Happily I call each of these bloggers a friend, and one of them is my wife. If we had a dinner party with this group, it would be a blast. I'd sit Dave Winer next to Mark Suster and Howard Lindzon just to make things interesting.

This suggests a whole new set of features for Disqus. If they know the communities with the greatest overlap with this community, they can and should build network tools so that readers of this blog are aware of what is going on across the network. If there's a great post/conversation going on at Suster's blog, we should know about that here at AVC and have a quick link to get there from here.

Fortunately the team at Disqus knows that. I'm not announcing any features here. But I am pointing out that communities like AVC don't exist in a vacuum and there is a network of communities out there and Disqus is powering most if not all of them. And so there's a lot Disqus can do to make the network come to life in powerful ways. I'm looking forward to watching them do just that.


Comments (Archived):

  1. RichardF

    Disqus is an amazing community enabler. I just want so much more functionality from them to be able to explore the network and community. Disqus would easily usurp Twitter in terms of discovery and learning for me if it had better follow and search capabilities.

    1. fredwilson

      coming soon

    2. raycote

      Here is my end user’s 2 cents worth.Disgus adding more algorithms to slice and dice the the crowd sourcing opportunities of it’s users would be great. Adding even more fun, I’d like to see them, or someone, start adding meta algorithms so we can all participate in crowd sourcing the evolution of the algorithms themselves.Like organic gene swarms targeting in on their survival niches, we to should be using crowd-sourced, self-selection, feedback loops to hone our algorithms into fine tuned social-function memes that serve our collective emotional, intellectual, political and economic survival needs?Like your founding fathers said, epistemology by the people for the people.Did I get that right, or was that someone else’s founding fathers?Anyway, just for fun I’d like to see someone put up a set of parametric slider controls that tweak the algorithmic response to the end users experimental whims, similar to the pitch bend on a keyboard.

  2. JimHirshfield

    They can build techmeme-like services across content verticals.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Now, if only I could remember my disqus p/w, that comment would have been “in the network” 😉

  3. bijan

    I love how they started as a simple and better commenting system and grown into this amazing network.

  4. LIAD

    Disqus is an unsung hero of the social web – am a big fan.Great to see them going from strength to strength. Superb product, great UI, really engaged team.Countless opportunities for them to leverage their reputation, attention, engagement data. (I want to see them take on Facebook as owners of the decentralised authentication layer – aka Disqus Connect).Being embedded on 500k sites with a monthly reach of 200m + is no small feat.Love how they were given time to find their stride and weren’t pressured to monetise too early. Huge upside potential.

    1. fredwilson

      me too!

    2. andyswan

      They weren’t just not pressured to monetize. They were just plain NOT PRESSURED.It’s the benefit of investing in people that you completely trust. They’ll work their asses off and they know what they’re doing more than you do. I’ve seen it as a common theme at USV, as an outsider looking in.

      1. fredwilson

        do you have webcams inside our portfolio companies andy?

        1. andyswan

          Bugged the pappy

          1. fredwilson

            damnthat was clever

      2. howardlindzon

        agreed. like now…I am working for you commenting on your comment while supposed to be thinking about stocktwits, lifelock, adaptuve blue tubemogul covestor….

  5. lushfun

    Disqus is usefuland here I go thinking about privacy all over again. The unsung quest continues.Wish I was as committed to it in doing as in thinking about it.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      I don’t see privacy problems. When you comment on a blog post you are doing it publicly, no privacy there. And when you comment with a Disqus profile you are putting your user name next to it. If you don’t want to be recognized don’t sing in or have a non recognizable user name. Also, you can always delete any activity from your dashboard if you are not comfortable.

  6. Fernando Gutierrez

    Better search would also be great. I’d love to able to search by blog, commenter or groups of them, date… Sometimes you only remember a few things about a comment but would love to bring it back (total accountability!)

  7. awaldstein

    This is great…I’m a long-term fan.Surfacing the network power of Disqus is an exciting direction for them…and for all of us as users. Search and better visualization of info are items we’ve been wanting for a long time.I’ve always felt that once Disqus could figure out how to market its inherent value not only to site admin’s but to readers, the explosion to a more mass market could begin.I’ll try out the packages. I wonder whether the package/pricing distinction between ‘serious’ and ‘pro’ bloggers and the price and capabilities jump is stacked right for the volume sale. There are lot’s of ‘serious’ bloggers who can find value at some mid point pricing below $199/month. Just my initial thoughts.

  8. Harry DeMott

    Big DISQUS fan as well.Wish they had more discovery features based on individual commenters.Thus – if I liked a lot of JLM’s comments, I could look and see where else he hung out – not just where the crowd hangs out – and thus potentially discover a bunch of new blogs to read.

      1. Harry DeMott

        You learn something new every day.Thanks.

      2. andyswan

        This is the kind of thing where Daniel Ha says “well shit, we’re obviously much better at building features than promoting them.”

        1. fredwilson


          1. markslater

            love disqus – but agree with harry – i’d love to discover alot more about what the commenter’s here do and read (if they allow obviously). regular commenters and readers hear share a very high “trust” or “referral” currency – Disqus should unlock that.

          2. Mark Essel

            I subscribe to a feed of “friends” that I browse in my reader on occasion. But I no longer see that friend option available since the UI change on disqus.

          3. falicon

            Yeah – I’ve been pushing Disqus for a lot of these sorts of things for awhile now…they are a small team that’s killing it, but obviously they are also focused on the core service of powering comments first and do have some resource constraints…I assume they’ll eventually tackle most of the things people are asking for (eventually).In the meantime the rest of us will do what we can with the things they expose via the API (I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways I can work Disqus content into people’s link collections — there’s def. some interesting things we can/will do around it so stay tuned!)

          4. Fernando Gutierrez

            Thinking about referrals… I’ve bought a lot of books because someone here mentioned them here and I guess it can be the same in other places with other products. If Disqus makes that transactions easy –and without damaging they conversation– it can collect some fees. Maybe they would not amount much, but they sure won’t harm.

          5. markslater

            nearly all my book buys are from commentors here and other blogs i read. B feld is great to follow for books.

        2. ShanaC

          Actually, I think one of the reasons Disqus is successful is because Daniel is a modest person, it seems, so he puts users before his ego. Very nice and concerned guy, he makes you want to use the product because of that fact.

          1. howardlindzon

            daniel owes me like 20 dinners. he always tricks me into buying

      3. sbmiller5

        Yeah, I really like this feature.

  9. ShanaC

    it’s funny, but I watch other blog communities that have nothing to do with this world,, and I keep thinking that for them -disqus + meetup would be amazing. Their commentators are really close to the content, and sometimes each other, but seem so much less engaged with each other than say here. The blogger who writes whatever is always well know, but…not the same at all.And I really wish that wasn’t the case.

    1. awaldstein

      Disqus is spreading…from fans like us to other areas. I noticed that just from people engaging with me, I see more Disqus spreading into the wine and connected TV space where I spend a bunch of my time, on and off line.

    2. Nick Grossman

      I agree w/ you about disqus + meetup being a potentially really powerful combo for all kinds of community networks. We are in the process of adding both to (our blogs in NYC, DC, and SF covering “livable streets” issues) and (our nationwide network of independent bloggers) and I expect that we will see a big increase in community connections.If you think about it, it’s a little surprising that Facebook didn’t take the opportunity to do commenting like this — the combination of facebook connect and the “like” buttons could have easily gone this way.

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        Trying to this with FB bring the problem of mixing something that most people understand/believe to be private or semiprivate with something completely public like commenting around. You can ague that privacy is not ok on FB, but most things still are not completely public there.

        1. ShanaC

          I still always thought it would be a brilliant idea to integrate the Disqus like button with the regular one

      2. ShanaC

        there is an element of that on facebook already, you can like individual comments

  10. kagilandam

    I donno what drives the crowd … in TC you don’t see any comment on most of the articles which is not disqus’ed.

  11. William Mougayar

    Disqus has access to a REAL social graph, the “engaged user” social graph, and that’s worth a lot more than the “generic social graph” coming from Twitter, which is mostly eclectic.The list you put up there is pretty close to where Disqus tells me I hang around, except for CDixon & Scoble who replace Suster and Winer. It strikes me that Disqus can do more than just add-up the sum of the top 6 user-commented blogs to arrive at your top 6 for these same users. They ought to add more qualitative measures than an average of the addition. I could have taken a survey of 5 users to get to the same list. There was no big revelation there.Another peripheral feature I want from them is to surface the links that get discussed on a particular blog, such as this one and put that in a tab on top “Links from this discussion”. There isn’t a time where I didn’t discover a useful link from these discussions, but finding them or going back to them when there are 100 comments is hard.I’ve already mentioned searching inside threads before, but what would add to search is a smart context extraction to reveal a semantic map of the keywords or topics being discussed. Zemanta can give them this analysis in a snap. Let them run each discussion thread through the Zemanta content extraction engine…Oh ok I’m pushing it now: Zemanta could merge with Disqus.

    1. fredwilson

      you gotta read susterhe’s amazing

      1. howardlindzon

        suster is ok for west coast. shorter in person and his sense of humor saves him.:)

        1. Mark Essel

          really Mark is short?I got the impression he was at least 5′ 10″ from reading his blog

          1. Aaron Klein

            I got the impression he was 7 feet tall from reading his blogthat may have been from the length of his posts 😉

          2. msuster

            Ha. Yes, I am 5′ 10″ – short to Howard.

          3. howardlindzon

            tall in attitude. 6’6

      2. William Mougayar

        I do read him and like his posts. It’s just that he didn’t make my top 6 on my Disqus page. Probably would have been #7 or 8.

  12. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Great features.They also have the added bonus of creating a network effect for Disqus — the more blogs use Disqus, the more Disqus’s tools become valuable. And as we know, network effects are a holy grail of web business.Smart.

  13. baba12

    “communities like AVC don’t exist in a vacuum ” That statement maybe true. But if communities tend to be similar in some ways then over period of time one gets stale as you tend to hear the same stuff being regurgitated and your thought process starts to be similar to others in the community.I like to listen/read to ideas that challenge my views and shape the way I think possibly for the better.If there is a way to define the AVC reader/commenter and thereis a way to describe a reader of another blog and you are able to find intersections, yes you can find synergies and get to know more of similar thoughts.I wonder the ramifications are from a thought process, how does it affect my unique ability to think.I am going to dig into their API and see what it has.I wonder what it may do for politics

    1. fredwilson

      dave winer and i tend to disagree more than agreeand don’t even get me started on the gotham gal 🙂

      1. Mark Essel

        Fred, do you call your wife gotham gal when you’re together?I call my wife Michelle “Bunky”. I have no idea why, it just seemed to fit and she didn’t beat on me for saying it.

        1. fredwilson

          i do not call her gotham gali only do that here at AVC

    2. falicon

      For what it’s worth, I don’t think Disqus is saying anything like “these blogs are similar”…especially at the content level…what they are really saying is “people who read or interact with this blog, also read/interact with blogs X, Y, and Z”…it’s the Amazon recommendations for blogs (and that’s HUGE btw).At some point you have to trust humans have the ability and interest to be diverse…at least you *hope* that readers are getting lots of different view points (and interacting with the best ones)…and as long as that’s the case, then a feature like what Disqus has actually *should* do a really good job of giving you a complete, interesting, and quality story…

      1. fredwilson

        and that’s a big and important difference

  14. whitneymcn

    The piece that I’m really excited to see one of these days is more-or-less the converse of this.This view of the community around the blog that I manage is cool (learning what other blogs interest the people that comment on my blog), but I’d love to see the equivalent view when I’m wearing my “commenter” hat: what blogs am I missing out on that are known and loved by the commenter community that I’m part of? Where *else* does my commenting crew hang out?On a related note, it was a simple matter for me to find a comment on this very topic that I left on Bijan’s blog five months ago…and it was simple because I left that comment using Disqus. So awesome in so many ways:

    1. falicon

      hrm…sounds like Hivemind for Disqus…now where have I heard that idea before 😉

      1. whitneymcn

        I’m going to keep talking about it until I have it. 🙂

  15. howardlindzon

    that dinner would be just ok. i would probably insult everyone but Joanne by the second course and blog posts wourld be flying about how howard is not behaving and is not invited back. Than Joanne and I would go out to a movie and block you all on twitter

    1. fredwilson

      i’m blocking you on disqus for leaving this comment

      1. Matt A. Myers

        now now boys, can’t this all be settled with armwrestling? the winner gets to take joanne to a moviep.s. what if i am stronger than both of you??

        1. howardlindzon

          joanne if asked would always choose me.

      2. howardlindzon

        this is andy swan posing as howard. block himmmmm

        1. andyswan

          Damn you wikileaks.

          1. howardlindzon

            wiki wiki wiki is always watching

    2. baba12

      So you have earned a name for being rude when invited to the Wilson residence. I guess Mr.Wilson and company still feel the need to invite you, guess disqus keeps you all together as a community :)….So dinners with Mr.Lindzon involves being insulted is that the default value…

  16. howardlindzon

    i love disqus though. shoudl’nt they come to this dinner….data data data (I am an investor)

    1. Mark Essel

      *insert jealousy*My updated prediction for ten years:You’re gonna get eccentric old man rich off of that bet.

  17. Mark

    I like Disqus. The thing that struck me some time ago, was that using Disqus seems to grow a social network that is completely dependent upon interactions. This is much more like offline life, and Fred, I think your dinner party idea is proof of point.I don’t tag my real friends, and if I cease to interact with someone, I shouldn’t need to untag them. I hope Disqus really does get the value of the ephemeral quality of real relationships. What they are enabling right now feels very natural. I like an availability of networking information. I don’t like tagging and artificial relationship statuses.

  18. Matt A. Myers

    when’s disqus launching free floating?

  19. msuster

    Thanks, Fred. I shall check out the new Disqus features – I’m a big fan of the product.Disqus creates a “community” around blogs, no doubt. It humanizes the commenters and allows them to interact with both poster and with each other. In fact, I have often thought of Disqus as creating a bit of a “social network” around my blog. I would love to think about how it could become even more interactive.I have often thought it would be useful if related blogs could have cross-blog conversations and thus Disqus acts even more like a social network.I have another more specific idea for Disqus but I’ll send you that one by email 😉

    1. RichardF

      c’mon Mark you can share your idea here….we won’t laugh too much if it’s rubbish 🙂

      1. Mark Essel

        It’s likely to do with monetizing and could be sensitive to competition.

        1. RichardF

          it’s just a bit of banter Mark, I don’t really expect him to share it 😉

          1. Mark Essel

            I wouldn’t mind hearing those suggestions. I’ve got a vested interest in Disqus succeeding. Although I have no financial ties to the company, I like them, and I rely on them to enhance visits to my blog.

      2. msuster

        It’s an idea in which I need to mention a company that competes with one of Fred’s other companies and I didn’t want to do that on his blog. Otherwise I would have written it.

    2. William Mougayar

      Exactly. Let Disqus grab the related conversations from you, Fred & others.Kind of like “related conversations”. Zemanta+Disqus.

    3. sbmiller5

      Mark, the cross-blog conversations is something I was working on for six months this year.Ultimately, after spending time with a lot of potential customers, we determined this was more of a feature and we weren’t exciting about building a whole new product, when Disqus has such an awesome product already.I think Disqus will tackle this at some point, but their are a number of issues to work around, including searching and tying together stories that are very closely related, moderation, ownership of content, etc

    4. markslater

      totally agree mark. As i mentioned above there is commenter trust that can be unlocked and socialized across platforms and blogs. i’ll guess alot of people found your blog from here not just because Fred has referred to it, but by looking at commenter’s other lurks.

      1. msuster

        And you get a sense of who people are by the types of comments they leave much more so than on Twitter or Facebook. For example, I know you’re the guy who will tell me when you think I’m full of shit but not hold that against me when I write something you agree with. If memory serves, we’ve only violently disagreed on advertising. But I know you a lot better for it. More so than many Twitterati.

        1. markslater

          absolutely. And i am a much more thoroughly informed person on topics thanks to guys like you who make the effort to share your thoughts daily – whether i agree or not.

    5. obscurelyfamous

      Hey Mark, I’ll take the idea too if you’re just giving them away… 🙂

  20. Mark Essel

    Daniel Ha and team are top notch.There have been moments where I freaked out because posts were auto locking but those problems worked themselves out in a day or so.No doubt I’ll be using disqus as long as I have a blog. I’d prefer paying a monthly fee if they helped connect me with folks who enjoy and appreciate reading my blog. I know there are a few out there, but they’re spread out ;).

  21. ErikSchwartz

    The thing I love about Disqus is it’s a dynamic network built on implicit data. It’s who I really interact with, not who I wish I was interacting with.

  22. reece

    Suster’s blog didn’t take off for me until he started using Disqus.The engagement (via Disqus) is what legitimized it for me.I’m glad to see that Brad Feld is now using Disqus as well – must’ve been hard to let go of Intense Debate (as it was a TechStars company).

    1. sbmiller5

      Agree, while IntenseDebate had a good product for a while, Disqus has really cemented their lead over the past 12 months. It was great to see Brad and Seth and the others at Foundry Group using Disqus, it’s just a better product.

      1. fredwilson

        made my day, week, and monthfoundry is one of my favorite firms in the VC businessgood guys, every one of themthat’s saying something in VC land

        1. howardlindzon

          i could tell you stories. meh:)

        2. sbmiller5

          Great to hear, being in Colorado, I have similar views – Brad and Seth have both been very helpful to me in the past and I barely know them.

  23. Aaron Klein

    Huge fan of Disqus. Recommend them to everyone I know.One thing they need to do is make it easier to customize the look and feel of comments on your blog. Having a template for narrower blogs is important (I had to move comments down and out of my post frame to look decent in my new theme).But they also gained and lost a big user in a single day last Saturday because that user thought it was too complex to try and customize the CSS for his site. I’m thinking they need a tool that “reads” a blog’s color scheme and auto-adjusts its CSS to match.

  24. Dave Pinsen

    It will be interesting to see what sort of ad system Disqus ends up offering (I’m guessing that’s inevitable). Whatever it launches, I bet it will get a surge of initial business, if only due to Google AdSense fatigue (I’m guessing the same was true when FEEDJIT started offering ads). But Disqus will have a good shot at retaining ad business if its ad system is as thoughtfully designed as its commenting system.

  25. aanwar

    This is awesome. Opens up a whole host of opportunities for publishers/bloggers. They get to know their users better.

  26. Harry DeMott

    One interesting comment that came out of messing with DISQUS today:When I click on all of the profile pages and see where people comment, the overwhelming number of comments come from this blog. It is generally 5/1 or 10/1 over the next commented on blog.Perhaps this is due to the fact that Fred writes every day and it has become a habit like reading the New York Times – or perhaps the conversation is just good, and remains that way on a consistent basis – so people feel comfortable writing.Whatever it is – it is working.

    1. fredwilson

      frequency mattersa lot

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      Some thoughts on that:I like to hang around here because the content and the discussion are great. But it’s also time consuming. If you read the daily post and engage in the conversation –usually above 100 comments–, you can be here for quite a time. I would love to do the same in more places, but there’s only a certain amount of time everyday and I have to choose.Also, at A VC comments are real discussions. They require a higher number of comments per commenter per thread than in other places where you just drop your opinion and leave, most of the times unreplied.Quality, frequency, intensity.

      1. Harry DeMott

        That’s very true – if you are looking for 1 good conversation in the AM -AVC is certainly the place to go.For whatever reason, many of the other blogs just never get the full scaleconversational element going – even with the moderator commenting back withfrequency (Suster comes to mind)

  27. vruz

    Now you mention Winer, Disqus should create an easy way to work with “Winer links”. (subparagraph linking and commenting, often across blogs)I toyed with a project I dubbed “Blogversation” back in 2005, which was exactly that.Also, make sure Winer and Lindzon wear helmets, I don’t know them personally but it feels like their exchange could get dangerous :-).

  28. AdExchanger

    It would seem that Disqus can potentially create an ad network or resell ad targeting data by dropping cookies with its embedded app. Any plans here, Fred? Just curious.

  29. Tereza

    I’m a big fan too. (or was that obvious).What I personally want is better searchability in my OWN comments. LOL!Because I often don’t remember the sh*t I write, but sometimes I need to track it down….thinking, I need to package and syndicate that a little better.It all just flies out of my fingertips like lightening. (for better or worse)In fact I like DISQUS so much I hate commenting on anything that’s not DISQUS. Blech. Phooey.Oh — one more thing — hey daniel if you’re listening. I would love to see Points on my iPhone and iPad views. Because I’m competitive and it’s all about the Pointz. 😉

    1. Dave Pinsen

      What I personally want is better searchability in my OWN comments. LOL!Because I often don’t remember the sh*t I write, but sometimes I need to track it down+1 on Tereza’s suggestion — that would be a great feature. It might also encourage more thoughtful comments, because commenters might be more willing to invest more time in writing their comments if they knew they’d be able to find them later and repackage them as a blog post or something else.

    2. obscurelyfamous

      You can search your own comments. Visit, and select “You only”. There’s a search box on the upper-right. :)Edit: Actually while confirming this I realized we just broke it with a recent update. Should have a fix soon…

      1. Tereza

        Cool will give it a few days then check out.Also cool would be to sort by popularity. Ways to quickly analyze what resonated most.Or are ya gonna tell me you have that already, too? 🙂

        1. obscurelyfamous

          Not yet, but pretty soon you’ll be able to tell which of your comments are getting liked the most.(next week or the week after)

          1. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

            That was a feature I wanted. I see that my comments are being liked but don’t know which comment and by whom. That will be sweet!

          2. obscurelyfamous

            HI Kelley – be sure to check out the newest release which introduces these features:

  30. nickfenton

    Network add on is very creative Disqus! I like it.I also like your thoughts on how to utilize and improve the network feature. Hope Daniel is listening.

    1. dz

      The whole team is listening 🙂

      1. nickfenton


  31. markslater

    checking disqus to see whether a comment sparked a conversation is far easier than bookmarking my top 10 blogs and looking for a comment i made

  32. Nathaniel Whittemore

    Thanks for this post. I had passed on the add-ons previously but your slide above convinced me – I had no idea this was featured and is super valuable for me. I signed up for the addons for after I saw this!Interestingly enough AVC was the #1 blog that my network reads 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      that makes me feel very goodthanks for sharing that

  33. Guest

    I know this is a bit off topic but, what are your feelings lately on your freemium model? Is it still relevant in the space you invest in? Or, has another model materizied?

    1. fredwilson

      yes, freemium is alive and wellyou might notice that is exactly what disqus is using to monetize

  34. Jill Stern

    Can you write about Google buying Groupon for $6 billion tomorrow? I have been obsessed about the power of group buying and Groupon nailed it. They are changing retail as we know it, faster than expected too!

    1. fredwilson

      i have never used groupon and i can’t talk intelligently about itwe never looked at investing in grouponi don’t and can’t invest in things i don’t use and don’t understand

  35. falicon

    For what it’s worth there is only one thing I actually hate about Disqus…and that’s that I didn’t build it.

  36. David Dostal

    I like Disqus. More and more sites use it. Thinking about to use it on my blog too 🙂

  37. paramendra

    Disqus has really grown, and deservedly so. The blogosphere collectively has more buzz than Facebook.

  38. William Mougayar

    What are you doing with it?

  39. howardlindzon

    so funny