CoComment Gets Half the Job Down

Okay, I track blogs. I always have. It's not a big deal, it's part of PR and what I hope to convey to others in the industry and the agency life - that it's not just enough to be tracking the media, but you need to get your Pubsub / Technorati / Blogpulse on (yes, all three).

But, part of the big problem - especially for PR people - is that it is not possible to track the conversations. And, let's be honest - that is a big part of what blogging is really about: the comments and trackbacks that add to the conversation. The best way to do this so far - and what I have had to do with certain posts that I think can be detrimental to clients, or lead to something more - is to go back again and again.

From Robert Scoble comes news of coComment. After I read the post - damn, it only had 12 comments at the time - I signed up for the beta, and actually got one. It's pretty cool, and an interesting service. You download the bookmarklet and then add it to your Firefox toolbar, and prior to commenting, you click on coComment and ... voila, your comment becomes tracked, as does any other comments on that post, and you have one page to view your comments and other comments. It's an all-in-one stop to view comments and conversations on blogs, without the original post. Stowe Boyd has already taken the time to break down the system step-by-step.

Now, this is not the first service I have seen for tracking comments - actually, Blogger has a tool that plugs into Firefox. To quote: Blogger Web Comments for Firefox is an extension that makes it easy to see what bloggers are saying about a page you're viewing in Firefox and
even make your own blog post about it, all without leaving the page you're on.


I have that one also installed, and I ran into two problems: first, it was overwhelming and too much. Second, it's not centralized. While it was a great way to track comments to my blog and on other blogs - and posts on the same issue - it was too much a pain. I think coComment is a better application for PR people ... but you have to comment on the post to be able to start tracking. Often - well, almost always - there is no reason for me to be commenting on a post on a client, nor should a PR person entertaining such a thought (unless it's to correct erroneous information). In that instance, the Blogger Web Comments might be a better tool - but it's not centralized on one page, like coComment.

So, a mashup of the two might work best for PR folks, and help track the second part of the blogging conversation - the comments.

An interesting sidenote ... as most people know, I strongly dislike (read hate) moderated comments and only use them when I have no control/choice on the platform. Well, I posted a comment using coComment on another blog ... and while it does not show up on the blog, it does show up on coComment. Here's an interesting twist: a blogger can moderate all he/she wants, but on coComment it shows up immediately; it's going to start showing out some people quite quickly who try to control the conversation flow for their own purposes.

This, in itself, is going to be dangerous and become ugly for PR: the outing of comment moderators, which includes clients' blog. If clients have a blog and do not let through comments ... well, that is now a wasted effort and perhaps more detrimental than letting through a comment and answering it. Likely, most corporations are going to opt to just turn off all comments, thinking that is the best way to control and not track elsewhere.

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16 comments

  1. I didn't even realize that Cocomment gets around moderators who block you from commenting. Very cool.

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  2. How did you/do I get an invitation to be a beta tester -- this is a great tool, and I don't want to wait.

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  3. Dis-regard my comment. By simply singing up on their site to receive information about the service, they will email you an invitation.

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  4. Yep, was about to say "nothing special - just signed up on the site, and was shocked I got an account so fast," Jeff.

    And, Robert, I see the value and potential issues with it. Someone on TechCrunch wondered if this would lead to an increase in SPAM comments on coComment which don't get posted to the blog itself ...

    Hopefully they have a solution for that (but not a delete function, as I can see that being abused).

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  5. Someone on TechCrunch wondered if this would lead to an increase in SPAM comments on coComment which don't get posted to the blog itself ...

    I had the same reaction.

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  6. My understanding is that whether bloggers can be held liable for comments on their blogs is still an open legal matter. I started moderating comments when some comments that I thought were potentially libelous were posted. That said, I'm fine with CoComment because I have no control over it and it doesn't appear on my blog. People can say whatever they want; I just don't want to be held responsible for it if it crosses the line.

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  7. Some months ago I hatched a similar idea called GoJot.com. It tackles the problem of comment spam by allowing users to 'watch' or 'ignore' other GoJot users. After ignoring a user, you never see his/her comments again.

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  8. It says something on your blog, though, about abusive comments being removed (which I agree with). Isn't this moderation of a sort though (forgive me if moderation is something else entirely - I'm not very up on it all).

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  9. But, Scott ... you post the comments pretty dang fast. You don't sit on them.

    That's the issue - and that kills conversations.

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  10. Patrick, it's somewhat comment moderation, but more like comment control. If someone is attacking me personally with nothing to do with the post, yes, I will remove it. But, it usually is up there first before I get a chance to delete it.

    Moderation in other ways is that no comment makes it to the blog, until the blogger "approves" it. Yes, I delete SPAM comments, and if someone attacks, I'll delete that (hasn't happened in a while).

    While Scott moderates, he does it the right way. There's no huge delay from comment to comment moderation - he gets it, that while he moderates, he doesn't sit on stuff to stop the conversation.

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  11. I have an extra code on my Website, that is if no one has snapped it up yet. I also have a list of the a few limitations as I see them. And yes, I noted that my comment showed up before the moderator released them too.

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  12. Since the comments are getting off topic, I'll continue it . . . .

    If I get you right, Jeremy, you don't mind moderated comments?

    Maybe I'm looking at it too broad, but moderated comments are okay for you:
    > for spam
    > for off-topic insults, etc.
    > if done timely (which is subjective).

    From a corp viewpoint, I see nothing wrong with moderated comments -- assuming it can be done timely (within a couple hrs? Not sure yet what I consider timely.).

    What about the comments where someone just says a post is BS or a lie, and doesn't go into detail. Yes the corp can respond by another comment asking for details, but does a post like that really contribute to the conversation?

    I'm still forming my thoughts on moderated comments, but am definitely against wide open comments, from a corp viewpoint.
    Mike

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  13. Hi Jeremy,

    My name is Cheryl Dunlap and I'm a student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. I'm in a class that is focusing on the best practices in PR, and I'm fairly new to this blogging thing. I know this has nothing to do with your post, but I'm looking for some help on one of my assignments. Besides building close relationships with the media, what have you found helps the most in getting the best exposure for your clients? If you have the time, please let me know some of your experiences or tips you might have for a struggling PR student! If you want to find out more about my class you can visit http://smuccpaclass.blogspot.com, or you can also visit my blog at cheryldunlap07@blogspot.com. Thanks so much!

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  14. My name is Lauren Shults, I am a CCPA major at SMU. I am fascinated by your blog in particular. I am in the middle of writing a research paper about PR. Although this does not pertain to this particular article, I was wondering if you could give me a couple of tips about PR. How have you been successful getting ink for your clients?
    You can email me at Lshults@smu.edu or you can blog me at www.laurenshults.blogspot.com

    Thank you so much for your thoughts and consideration and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Sincerely,
    Lauren Shults

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  15. I've been using CoComment myself for a couple of days now too, and have so far tended to like it. (For example, I'm tracking this comment page as well now; and those who are interested can simply go to my public page to see all the other comments I'm currently tracking.) However, I did want to warn people that it's still not working at about half the sites I've now left comments at. Please, hosting companies, more partnerships with CoComment!

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  16. I too have some beta invites on my site.

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