Goodbye Echo, I’ll miss you!

Some of you have noticed that I’d changed the commenting system on my blog recently. Here’s the full story (with a question for you at the very end).

I was totally fed up with Blogger comments years ago and decided to look for an alternative. JS-Kit was a perfect solution and it even allowed me to import Blogger comments and synchronize new entries with Blogger (so I could turn it off at any time and retain my comments).

However, it turned out JS-Kit (later renamed to Echo) was simply too good and attracted attention of very large customers paying big bucks for a scalable commenting platform. Echo (the company behind JS-Kit/Echo) thus decided to focus more on those customers, and the effects have become visible in the last few months (ex: Twitter integration was gone).

Finally, Echo decided to cancel the JS-Kit commenting service, giving us six months to migrate and making it very clear (yes, I asked) that they’re not interested in small users even when they want to pay. Still, six months is a long period and I put the problem on the back burner until the Blogger synchronization broke (again).

I’ve experienced at least half dozen similar Echo-to-Blogger synchronization problems in the past, and they eventually got fixed, but this time I simply couldn’t get rely on that. It was time to move, and I had to do it fast (or risk losing too many comments). The only fast alternative was to go back to Blogger comments (at least almost all of the comments you’d made in the last years were already in the system).

Stone Age Called and Wanted Its Comments Back

Going from Echo to Blogger is like going back to the Stone Age. I’ll eventually fix the formatting (I might also be able to write my own script to override Google’s threaded comment format), but so many features that I came to rely upon with Echo are simply gone, among them a good spam handler (Echo used Akismet).

I don’t have time to delete hundreds of spam comments each day; I’m thus left with two short-term alternatives:

  • Allow anonymous comments and use Captcha to stop those spammers that are too thrifty to pay someone to solve them;
  • Allow comments from logged-in users, where you could select from Google+, Worpress, Live Journal or any other OpenID account (unfortunately neither Facebook nor Twitter act as OpenID providers).

What would you prefer?

10 comments:

  1. logged-in users best option to me. at least no one pretends having anonymity on the Internet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. That's the long-term plan. No time/energy to even consider it at the moment.

      Delete
  3. I prefer logging in to leave the comment. Captchas are somewhat annoying.

    On the other hand... Have you considered moving away from Blogger to WordPress? You would absolutely love the platform, I'm certain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a total fan of Italian cuisine, but not spaghetti code.

      Had to implement single signon with Wordpress a few years ago and decided never to touch that bowl of mixed pasta again.

      Delete
  4. i prefer also the loggin-in method. OpenID is ok for me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Like I said on Twitter: Disqus, not too hard too migrate and since you are not running a dynamic blogger template easy to implement. But agreed, it has to be done, carefully. So time/energy is useful.

    Talking about Spaghetti code: Albert Hitchcock, CIO of group Vodafone, said yesterday at ManagementWorld in Dublin "Agility is about transforming spaghetti into lasagna", meaning standardizing their networks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Both methods are fine, but captcha is a little bit annoying. If you're looking for alternatives, Disqus is OK as already mentioned and I found this Livefyre (http://www.livefyre.com/) which seems to be interesting. Free plan, integration to WP and they are focused on conversations more than just comments. Can be a nice service, but I didn't try it yet.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your previous posting system didn't work with Windows 7 and so I could not read or post comments properly at work. This is better.

    ReplyDelete

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Ivan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354, is the chief technology advisor for NIL Data Communications. He has been designing and implementing large-scale data communications networks as well as teaching and writing books about advanced technologies since 1990. See his full profile, contact him or follow @ioshints on Twitter.