An interview with Daniel Ha and Steve Roy from Disqus on mining opinion in comments.
Commonly known as a comment system, Disqus facilitates comments from over 2.5 million sites. The team at Disqus, Daniel Ha and Steve Roy, like to think of themselves as a community of other communities. But how do they distinguish themselves?
Communities and Identity
Any discussion that happens on Disqus, by its nature is its own community. Disqus found that the majority of users’ time was spent below the fold, in the comments. Part of what fuels this is the ability to act under a pseudonym. Disqus maintains that by embracing a pseudonym, people can act as their “real” self. They find that people who embrace a pseudonym reveal a more passionate interest than they normally would. It gives people a voice they wouldn’t typically be able to use, enabling a user to pursue things that mainstream media may not be covering, or to be part of a community they couldn’t otherwise.
Brands can tap into Disqus in a couple ways:
- On their properties utilizing Disqus: Brands like HP have launched destination websites with Disqus to participate in the conversation naturally happening.
- Disqus’ ad product: Brands can pay to have a presence in other websites (like a Tumblr blog) and place their content above the comment feed. The response to this placement of content is higher as well because it’s located where the audience is more engaged.
- Learned Insights: Brands can use pattern detection to learn stories about their brands. A great example of this is when there needs to be a product recall, because a lot of this type of discussion takes place in these stories.
Disqus recently achieved a major milestone, reaching 1 billion monthly unique visitors. Often considered US focused, the majority of their growth in recent months is international. Disqus supports 40+ languages worldwide. Through its many users, Disqus has been able to understand the behavior patterns on their networks and noted 3 things in particular:
- Comment Length: The amount of characters can tell a lot about the level of interest in users. Steve says 57% of all comments are essentially the lengths of Tweets (under 140 characters) and not using links.
- Time of Day: The worldwide pattern for commenting shows a peak in volume at 10 am in every time zone. Not only does this mean more people comment at this time of day, they also engage with other comments and read comments then too.
- Categories: Disqus buckets their sites into about 45 different types. Each category has various statistics associated with their category as well. For instance, gamer sites average about 10 characters per comment. Religious sites, on the other hand, average closer to 600 characters per comment. As a brand, this is valuable data that can help shape how they engage with users.
Disqus is proud of the use cases of their data too. Several examples were mentioned, like Gooqus, a search engine utilizing both Google custom search and Disqus.This allows a user to not only see the top Google results, but also add a layer of richness, allowing for more sentiment to be derived from the data.
In February, we announced that the full Disqus firehose of public comments is available through Gnip. Our customers love the conversations in Disqus, but have asked for tools to filter the stream so they receive only the conversations they want. Today, we’re announcing our new Disqus PowerTrack offering. Similar to our Twitter PowerTrack product, Disqus PowerTrack offers powerful filtering so customers can filter the full Disqus firehose of public comments to extract the specific conversations they’re looking for. With over 500,000 comments created each day on Disqus, there are a huge range of conversations taking place and you don’t want to miss the ones about your brand or products.
With Disqus PowerTrack, you have a wide array of filtering options. You can filter for specific keywords. You can constrain that filter to specific websites. Or you can look for just the mentions that have links. So, if you’re looking for brand mentions of Apple, you can track conversations about the iPhone or brand mentions in general. You can also monitor for comments mentioning the iPhone that have links in them so you can understand what online stores are being promoted along with your products. See the full list of Disqus PowerTrack Operators in our documentation.
To see the power of the full Disqus firehose, check out this graph showing all mentions of Apple on Disqus. On a normal weekday, there are almost 10,000 comments about Apple. For big events, like WWDC, you see a spike to almost 40,000 comments per day. That’s a lot of conversations.
We’re big proponents of the conversations that happen in comments, and we’re committed to making it easier for companies to understand and be able to participate. Our new Disqus PowerTrack makes it easier than ever to understand the types of conversations happening in comments.
If you have any questions about the new Disqus capabilities, please contact your sales rep or our sales team at email@example.com.
Imagine going to a dinner party and listening to the first thing each person said. You’d learn a few things, but you’d miss out on the meat of the conversation that happens in the give and take of the dialogue.
In the world of online public social conversation, blog posts are the monologue and comments provide the dialogue. Each is valuable on their own, but to see the complete picture, you need both. Conversations happen in comments, and it has been a huge struggle for brands to be able to keep up with comments to fill in their understanding of this key piece of the conversation.
I’m excited to announce that we’re making it easier to access these public conversations with the addition of the full Disqus firehose to our publisher portfolio. As the largest third-party commenting platform in the world with 70 million commenter profiles, the Disqus firehose provides coverage of more than 500,000 comments every day, spanning almost every topic imaginable and reaching over 700 million readers each month.
Comments last forever. They appear in search results and remain part of the discussion long after the day they were written. With their staying power and depth of discussion, the commenting ecosystem provides an important — and different — social signal. Disqus further embodies this by allowing users to react to others’ comments with up or down “votes” creating significantly more engagement. The 2 million “votes” on Disqus each day provide insight into what comments are generating the most reaction.
Our Disqus API partnership provides authorized access for the first time ever to full firehoses of discussion content and interaction across the Disqus network. To the extent that any of this data has been available before, it’s been provided by technologies like content scraping/crawling that pulled pieces of the discussion, but did not guarantee full coverage in real time on a publisher-safe, consistent and reliable basis. Because this new service is being provided via a direct partnership with Disqus, with Gnip’s full firehose, you get low-latency streams that provide full coverage with the support of the publisher to ensure the availability of the data over the long term.
We’re thrilled to have data from Disqus available on our platform and can’t wait to see the amazing ways that our customers are able to apply it to their businesses. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about Disqus and set up a trial so you can see the data for yourself.