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May 28, 2008

Disqus' Partner Strategy: Is FriendFeed Integration Up Next?

Today's news on SezWho's acquisition of Tejit stirred up, appropriately, a number of conversations around the Web regarding blog commenting platforms, and comparisons between SezWho and Disqus were common. But while some tried to paint the two products as competition, Disqus founder Daniel Ha publicly looked to open talks with SezWho, while, elsewhere, FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit confirmed that he's reached out to the Disqus team to make conversations on the popular social aggregation site two-way, which could mark yet another important name on Disqus' growing list of successful partnerships.

In fact, I didn't have to look far to spot Daniel's conversation with Jitendra Gupta, the CEO of SezWho, for it happened in the comments section of my coverage this morning.

See: SezWho CEO Jitendra Gupta Speaks on Tejit Buy: Comments

Although in coverage of the announcement both here and elsewhere, Gupta had made comments about Disqus' removing blog comments from the original site, and centralizing them on their own, rather than declare war against SezWho, Daniel instead played peacemaker, writing, "Congrats on the acquisition. Sounds like you guys are doing something a bit different than us. We should talk about doing something about this fragmentation. Game?"

This led to Jitendra's offering to grab drinks with Daniel, and the two now look like they're indeed game to set up a conversation which could lead to a great deal of collaboration between the two players.

Meanwhile, as FriendFeed continues its rapid growth, gaining significant mindshare, in part due to excitement displayed by top bloggers like Robert Scoble, Jeremiah Owyang, Fred Wilson, Loic LeMeur, Thomas Hawk and Steve Rubel, the fact that comments on FriendFeed aren't also migrating to the author's blog posts hasn't sat well with everyone. It's uncommon that a few days can go by without one blogger or another begging to have the comments on FriendFeed come back to their site, whether through a blog plug-in or some other way. While I believe a community should be able to hold parallel conversations, not all agree.

Buchheit, in response to a post from Wilson titled Web Discussions: Leaving The Instigator Out, said that he had reached out to Disqus to solve this commenting silo.

"I've been in contact with the Disqus team, and I hope to add the option to copy comments though to Disqus in the not too distant future," Buchheit wrote, also adding, as I believe, "Many of my (FriendFeed) comments aren't relevant in the original context... In many cases, (FriendFeed) is enabling new types of comments that would not (or should not) have occurred in the past."

By forging a partnership with Disqus, FriendFeed users could comment on FriendFeed items, and have comments also post to the originating blog, just as other services, including Fav.or.it and Plaxo have implemented. Combined with the recent introduction of video comments from Seesmic, and the above conversation with SezWho, you can see Disqus' strategy develop, to be open to partnerships of all kinds, establishing their service as one of the most versatile, almost default, in the nascent comment replacement market. It's very smart, and one that will get them a lot of good will in a blogosphere ready to accept new, innovative, approaches to communication.