New Disqus iOS App

Disqus, the USV portfolio company that powers the comments/community here at AVC, released an iOS app this past week. You can download it here.

The Disqus mobile app has two primary features.

The first is the ability to follow channels and discover content and conversations in those channels.

Here’s a screenshot of my home tab which features this discovery capability:

disqus home tab

The second primary feature, and possibly more interesting to the AVC community, is the notifications tab where you see your comments and related activity:

notifications tab

notifications activity

I have found that Disqus works really well on the mobile web now (a big improvement over where it was a few years ago) and so I mostly review and respond to comments in line in the browser, but it’s nice to have this mobile app to be able to read and respond quickly to all of your activity.

I expect that Disqus will follow with an Android app in due course and I also believe they will add features for the publishers (ie me) into these mobile apps as well.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Yipee! You’re up way too early for someone that just got back from west coast!And perhaps you should stay on iOS a little longer to enjoy the new Disqus app?

    1. fredwilson

      naah. i found a Nexus 6P waiting for me (thanks Google) when I got home and started setting it up last night. i will finish that off tonight and should be back on Android by tomorrow. phew!

      1. JimHirshfield

        Dang. No secret offshore accounts, but friends with benefits in GoogleLand

      2. William Mougayar

        So much for asking – which Android to get ;)We need a super Android phone that can run iOS Apps. That would be useful.

        1. jason wright

          Boot Camp for Android?

      3. Lawrence Brass

        I guess you save the Apple device between iterations to test things, right?As a developer I like to carry a few ‘representative’ devices, high end and low end in my suitcase/backpack to test things, both iOS and Android. The strange thing is that my official phone is still an iPhone 3GS, I don’t know why.

        1. JimHirshfield


          1. Lawrence Brass

            she gave me my first vertical swipe..

          2. JimHirshfield

            Is that a reference to Tinder?

          3. Lawrence Brass

            Ha, ha.. no! We are talking strictly about phones here. 🙂

        2. fredwilson


      4. JoeK

        ‘thanks Google’ as in free gift, or as in Gotham-gal-mandated politeness?

      5. kirklove


  2. William Mougayar

    Congratulations & looking forward to the Android version. Any time estimate on that baby’s arrival?

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Me too!

    2. Tony Hue

      No active timetable for an Android release yet. We’re one step closer though now with an iPhone app available.Do you use Disqus on your mobile web browser currently?

      1. William Mougayar

        yes i do. curious what’s the mix of your android vs. iPhone user access stats from mobile?

        1. Tony Hue

          Split of 1.5:1 of Android vs. iOS on disqus.comFor publisher sites, it’s 6.5:1 in favor of Android.

          1. William Mougayar

            Ah, so why did you decide to go with iPhone first then and no timeline on Android?

          2. Tony Hue

            two reasons: developing on iOS is easier and most members of the team use iPhones so there was a preference towards building a product for ourselves first. we’re a small team too with just a single developer dedicated to the iOS app so there are certain constraints and tradeoffs we’re making in the interim which we recognize.

          3. creative group

            Those metrics should convince the smart amoung us to start with Android.

  3. Shalabh

    It’s surprising that it took them this long to release an app.

    1. fredwilson


      1. Shalabh

        Already my engagement has increased on Disqus.

  4. creative group

    Blog app developers, hackers and technologists:Is the reason why iOS is developed first is because creating the iOS is more difficult than Android, you use the iOS in work and personal or just elitists to cater to the iOS ecosystem. Just give us anything logical why the majority of mobile users who use Android are second to receive apps?

    1. Jess Bachman

      If I were Disqus (or any company), i would look at which devices are used to access Disqus on mobile first… then build the app for that platform.

      1. JimHirshfield

        3.5M websites use Disqus. I’ve got to believe the distribution of devices mirrors general population at that scale.

        1. Jess Bachman

          Demographics will be a factor.

          1. pointsnfigures

            Silos too. Lots of finance people are lurkers. They can’t comment because of FINRA and other regs

          2. Jess Bachman

            Did not know that. Interesting. Disqus does allow pseudonyms, would that be an issue for FINRA?

          3. pointsnfigures


        2. LE

          Do any percentage of websites that use disqus pay for it in some way?Edit: It doesn’t look like any do.

          1. JimHirshfield

            I wouldn’t be able to say.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      Three parts to this from the literature I’ve read. The first is many developers (at least in the US) are on iPhone so they’re developing for themselves. The second is that more early adopters are on iOS (and iOS users are more likely to download apps). The third is that iOS users are more likely to pay for apps and it turns out money motivates people.

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        Really? Where did you read that? The data I’ve seen shows much wider and deeper Droid use.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Surprises me, too, just from personal experience. Most devs I know prefer Android.

      2. K_Berger

        I’ve mostly heard just the third one (more likely to pay). Although that wouldn’t matter here, though.

    3. Lawrence Brass

      A small developer with a limited budget usually builds for one platform at a time. In this scenario the business model defines the platform, if the plan is to sell apps to get direct revenue , Apple is a better place to be because the legend says that affluent people tend to use Apple devices more than Android and that they are comparatively more willing to pay for apps. If the plan is to build a huge audience with a free app first and get revenue from advertising later (years later), then Android is the place to start, because everybody uses Android.Developer personal preferences or competence on a particular platform can be a factor too in small projects, elites developing for elites could also be true.However, in my opinion, if the plan for the product or service relies heavily on expected network effects, then launching for a single platform is totally wrong.

      1. creative group

        Lawrence Brass:logic wins us over every time.Thanks_______________”Apple is a better place to be because the legend says that affluent people tend to use Apple devices more than Android and that they are comparatively more willing to pay for apps.”That is legend. The affluent (Not wealthy or rich) are some of the most frugal people we know. Always seeking out Wi-Fi and can afford broadband from any platform.

  5. Tom Labus

    Welcome back to Winter!!!

    1. JimHirshfield

      Merry Xmas

    2. fredwilson

      I am pretending its warm

      1. LE

        High line … just like a stroll on the venice beach boardwalk. At least it’s sunny today on the east coast where I am and in NYC.

  6. Salt Shaker

    Thought for sure today’s post would be about TWTR’s NFL deal. Most sports rights deals are about ad monetization, while TWTR’s deal is all about platform exposure and trial, at a relatively low cost. Will be interesting to see if it drives usage, although NFL play-by-play is hardly exclusive and spread across several distribution channels.

    1. LE

      Apparently they paid much less compared to what others have for those rights. I haven’t read enough about it to know why that was. TWTR is up only modestly today so the market doesn’t think it’s a big deal (like I did which is another reason I don’t do stocks).

      1. Salt Shaker

        They paid less cause TWTR only gets access to minimal ad inventory. This is strictly a marketing/promo play to drive usage.

        1. LE

          Similar then to what happens with syndicated tv shows which show limited local advertising revenue wise and promo the station as well as other content.My question is this. How likely is a person who watches sports going to view that by way of twitter?Since I don’t watch sports I wouldn’t know seat of the pants. No gut feel. And are most of the viewers going to be streaming this to their home tv set? On my tv I can automatically pull up youtube and some other things but not twitter (I don’t think I can at least). So isn’t that friction that will mean the majority will be watching on a laptop (since I thought someone else had the mobile rights?). How big is that market? The metrics won’t play out until the initial deal is done and data is available. Then, given the history of sports won’t this be a BOGU by the NFL? (Which they will then open up to other bidders with a much bigger vig..) [1][1] Contract wise I wonder what twtr has tied up to reduce the pain of that going forward. Since they are the pioneers.

          1. Salt Shaker

            Good points, LE. This is a classic case of the NFL squeezing more juice out of the lemon, but to your comments, at what point does a diminished, fragmented audience justify the investment? Clearly more viewers are gonna watch via CBS, the NFL Network, DirecTV, while Verizon has mobile streaming rights. That said, it’s not a high risk investment for TWTR, plus it gives the platform a “halo” of mainstream legitimacy. They need a strong tentpole/event strategy that is linked to mainstream events. FB and Goggle have promoted/sponsored select Presidential debates and TWTR frankly should have been all over that. Lastly, TWTR users don’t have to watch the NFL on the TWTR platform to participate in a conversation. It’s also a great ‘live’ 2nd screen.

          2. PhilipSugar

            This is a really interesting discussion. TWTR paid $10mm seems like nothing.OTOH. The NFL must HATE that so much conversation goes on their product with TWTR. No bust on TWTR the NFL hates that Vegas makes book on their games, even though that has caused popularity.They really took control of Fantasy.The NFL has no control at all over TWTR (free speech, they could ban their players but that would cause an outrage)So interesting. The NFL, etc are so popular and profitable because of attention. But what about TWTR???I know an very senior exec at Walmart. Sports Leagues came to them and said they need to sponsor. He said we have more people in our stores on Sunday than you do in your games.OTOH: Coke and Bud pay huge amounts to sponsor sports.Interesting. I’d love to see the TOC of that deal. I’d love to know what Facebook said.

          3. Salt Shaker

            Since the TWTR/NFL deal really is a marketing play, w/ limited ad inventory to sell, my hunch is TWTR negotiated a slew of in-game promos whereby on-air announcers–irrespective of the viewing platform–prompt viewers to participate in ‘live’ TWTR polls, quizzes and conversations to drive trial/usage. The deal has limited value to TWTR w/out strong in-game, on-air promo support.

  7. awaldstein

    Cool-honestly hadn’t thought about Disqus for a long while though of course use them every day.Will install and give it a shot. Obviously something we were waiting for.Congrats to them!

    1. LE

      What’s interesting is that they send those wrap ups daily which I have found roughly correlate sometimes to when Fred makes his next post.

  8. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Looking good! Very nice user experience.It’ll be neat to see if they get into using what they know about my network to power the discovery/recommendations bit.One of my favorite features of Disqus is being able to check out someone’s profile and learn more about them, including where else they’ve been commenting (I *love* that). I discover new people and blogs to follow that way (and frankly, get a quick idea if I *don’t* want to follow someone). So it seems natural to automate that behavior to make recommendations for content and people to check out.Seems like Disqus has a unique angle on making content and follow recommendations that could be powerful.

  9. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Just got a notification about a new follower (very nice singing bowl sound). I can see this really moving the needle on engagement.

    1. LE

      And you will hear it again now.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        LOL. And now!

  10. DJL

    I am curious to understand how they make money? Do they license the platform to content publishers?One of the challenges is that I need different “personas” when making comments. I prefer not to co-mingle my professional comments (regarding information security, business, etc.) with my personal comments (politics, sports). I can “switch” which is kind of cool.

  11. pointsnfigures

    Does it make it easier to comment? Was a pain in the butt to comment off my phone because I had to open up another browser window, log in, then get redirected back to the other browser window, then enter the comment and press post.

    1. LE

      That’s just disqus being tone deaf. They could have easily fixed that with cookies not expiring. [1] I have seen the same behavior.The biggest issue with commenting on mobile is that it doesn’t allow for long form answers. Anyone who types quickly or even touch types is deprecated by commenting on mobile. Editing is a real issue even if you use siri to voice dictate.[1] Not like someone stealing your phone and breaking through the password is like your banking info.

  12. Rob Larson

    Love the content discovery platform potential. The current options are lacking. This feels like the right approach – discovering content based on who is reading and commenting.

  13. RichardF

    Hope they get an android app out soon because any disqus email notifications I get either get chucked into spam by Google or just don’t turn up and its been like that for literally years.

  14. jason wright

    Huawei revealed the P9 today in London…

  15. creative group

    Merle Ronald Haggard (April 6, 1937-April 6, 2016 died on his Birthday, has that ever happened to someone famous?) who sung about his experience in prison at 21 was one of the only country singers we could ever listen to that we felt was sincere in what he sung. RIP…

  16. Perry Ismangil

    Shows how hard it is, if a well funded Disqus can only bring out apps after so many years.

  17. daryn

    Hmm, surprised that there’s nothing on my home screen by default, but I’ve got the app installed now, and this is my first comment from it!

  18. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Yeah, oembeds for comments would be super cool. I loved it when they added the Share> stuff. Adding “embed” is a logical next step.