1. nudelzrulez

    33 Disqus Communities for the New Year

    Posted on December 20, 2013 by nudelzrulez

    There are a lot of communities that help make Disqus the lively and illuminating network it is today. Out of all of these communities there are sites that continue to rise to the top and make us take notice. So, in the time-honored tradition of “End of Year” lists, we bring you not a lame, Top 10 list, but a GIANT BLOWOUT TOP 33 SITES ACROSS 11 CATEGORIES LIST! We’ve compiled this list based on Gravity, the trending visualization featured on the Disqus homepage, along with some good ole fashioned human selection.

    Bored at home with the family? Has the eggnog run dry? Are all your little nieces and nephews screaming in the living room? Then now is the perfect time to get logged into Disqus and join the fun.

    You may think Auto is an unlikely category (or one that we created just for our CEO, Daniel, who has a bit of a car obsession), but motorized vehicles are actually quite a hot topic on Disqus. Our top picks for you are Bike Exif, Top Gear, and Left Lane News.

    Business doesn’t have to be boring. These sites have everything you need to stay informed, from Tech, to Personal Finance, to increasing creativity. I mean, if one of the top business schools in the nation can’t keep you ahead of the pack, who can? We suggest checking out Bloomberg, 99u, and the Harvard Business Review.

    Don’t lie to me, people. All of us like to get down with a little gossip-mongering from time to time. These Celebrity and pop culture focused sites will give you all the dirt you can handle. You’ll want to get your shovels ready for Dlisted, Pajiba and for those of you with a particular proclivity, Robsessed Pattinson.

    Tonight, Ron Burgundy reports that it’s time to turn on the tube, head to the theater, or open *gasp* a book. Don’t make us take out the trident, just go visit Entertainment Weekly, NPR Music, and The Dissolve.

    No matter which console tickles your fanboy fancy, we’ve got something for you. We even threw in a pretty cool site featuring the analog counterparts to consoles…board games. Check out Destructoid, Major Nelson and Shut Up & Sit Down.

    This is a broad one. However, this time around, we’ve got a site “where women go when they are being selfish, and where their selfishness is applauded,” a cooking site, and a Millennial-listicle site anyone can enjoy indulging in. Try xoJane, Amateur Gourmet, and Thought Catalog.

    News and politics are equal parts emotion and intellect. These sites get you thinking and talking about both. Check out The Atlantic, Politico, and CNBC to feed your inner pundit.

    Unfortunately, it’s not a balmy 62 degrees everywhere else in the country right now (hey-O San Francisco!). If you’re going through tailgating withdrawals, why not try a virtual version? Test your online heckling chops (ALL CAPS ANYONE?) over at Slam, American Soccer Now, and MLB Trade Rumors to get your fix.

    Ladies, ladies, ladies I’m talking to you now (dudes, you’re invited, too, but these sites are mostly geared toward women). For the latest fashion, beauty and general female-friendly advice, head over to Tom and Lorenzo, Refinery 29, and The Man Repeller.

    Nerd alert! Tech time is here and we’ve got the latest on gadgets, startups, and Apple/Android flame wars. See BGR (Boy Genius Report), The Next Web, and Pocketnow for the latest and greatest in tech.

    Okay, so this isn’t technically a category we feature on our homepage, but we wanted to show a little extra love to our hometown, San Francisco. If you want to know about the best new restaurants, what Karl the Fog is up to, or which streets are finally getting bike lanes, check out SF Streets Blog, SFist, and Hayeswire (The Hayes Valley Blog).

    Well, that about does it! If you’re not totally exhausted by our blowout End of Year list (we like you, you can stay), check out our homepage for daily trending stories, and start following some of the cool commenters you found on one of the sites above to help diversify your Disqus portfolio (following other users helps you discover new sites!).

    Did we miss your favorite site? Share it below!

  2. nudelzrulez

    Bringing Commenters into the Spotlight

    Posted on December 6, 2013 by nudelzrulez

    A couple weeks ago we kicked off a new, regular series on our Community Blog called Commenter Spotlight. At Disqus, we talk a lot about the importance and value of community. But what is the keystone of community? People. Brilliant, funny, interesting people are what keep us going back time and again to our favorite communities. The Commenter Spotlight series is an effort to highlight some of the best of those people, the ones that provide the underpinnings of successful communities across the Disqus network.

    Each spotlight features a 5-question profile, a custom illustration, and a fun, little section called “Up-vote or Down-vote?” Our first profile featured Hooded Justice, a frequent commenter on The Dissolve. Our second profile, published today, features NightOwl, a familiar face from xoJane. So head over to our Community Blog and check them out!

    If you know commenters from your own communities that you think deserve to be featured, we encourage you to submit their names! The best way to do this is by emailing us at favorites@disqus.com, or tweet us at @disqusfaves. (See this blog post for a little more information on our new “Favorites” endeavor.)

    What do you think about this new series? And don’t you all just want to hang NightOwl’s illustration in your hallway?

  3. simpsoka

    Words Not Required: Embedded Rich Media

    Posted on November 19, 2013 by simpsoka

    Hi, I’m Kathy Simpson, and I recently joined the Disqus team as a product manager. I have a lot of fun working on all kinds of products, but mainly I’m curious about how you use Disqus. You can follow me here. Oh, and I’m also Mogwai’s mom.

    Recently, we’ve made some updates to the way rich media works for posts and replies. We’ve added the ability to include media in your post by simply pasting in a link and letting Disqus handle the rest. You can now include links to media from a handful of providers including YouTube, Vimeo, Imgur, SoundCloud, Twitter, and more.

    Have you ever been to a house party where someone breaks out their phone or laptop and then pretty soon the conversation devolves into a best-of-YouTube-sharathon? This feature works a lot like that. If a picture says a thousand words, Disqus’ new rich media feature makes saying millions of words easier than ever.

    Ok, so that’s all awesome, but how does it work?

    As you’re typing your comment, copy and paste the URL from whatever media you want to include. In the example below, I’m referencing a nacho joke that someone turned into a Vimeo video.

    image

    When you paste the link in, we’ll show you a snippet of what that link is going to look like once you’ve committed, and pressed the ‘post’ button. This is how you can make sure we’re going to include the right thing and not just some random image from the page. Once you click ‘post’ it’ll look something like this:

    image

    Now everyone in the conversation can watch my silly nacho joke without having to leave the page.

    Sweet! Now what if I don’t want to post a video?

    Today, this new feature works with a handful of popular media providers. Obviously, it works with Vimeo and YouTube, but if I wanted to, I could post an animated gif and convey an entire sentiment. I can also reference a tweet using a Twitter card, or share an entire SoundCloud playlist that my Disqus friends can rock out to, while reading the rest of the conversation. Looking for inspiration? Check out how the folks at Destructoid, AVC, and Takuchat are using rich media to spice up their discussions.

    Not in the mood for an animated conversation? Here’s how to turn it down:

    We get that you’re sometimes not in the mood to check out lots of images and videos, or maybe you’re at work and don’t want your screen to be taken over with cat gifs, so we’ve given you a ‘boss-is-coming’ button. From within the Disqus thread, you can use the settings button to hide media.

    image

    When you do this, you’ll hide all media for a specific conversation, so if you go to another site, the media will show until you hide it again. After you’ve hidden media, your conversation will look something like this:

    image

    And you can click on the “view” buttons to see the media one comment at a time.

    Win Your Own Disqus Trophy

    We want to know how you use rich media, so we’re having a Rich Media Post-Off. Here’s how we’re going to do it:

    1. Go to your favorite Disqus site that has Rich Media enabled (if not, tell ‘em you want it!)
    2. Use rich media in the comments. Whether this is the perfect gif, a homemade YouTube video, or a perfectly composed SoundCloud playlist, we want to see your creativity shine.
    3. Post a link to your media comment here on our blog. Tell us why you think it’s the BEST!
    4. To grab a link for a comment, hover over the share button in the comment. (Hit the link icon and the URL for that comment will appear in your browser’s address box.)
    5. The comment submission with the most engagement wins. Engagement is defined by a combination of upvotes, replies and shares.

    What is the prize? A custom-made Disqus trophy. We may base it off your avatar, your comment or your rich media. It will be one-of-a-kind. It will be amazing.

    • Contest ends at Thursday, November 21 at 6:00 PM Pacific.
    • Submissions must be made about using Rich Media on a Disqus-powered site.
    • Submissions cannot include rich media submitted directly at the Disqus Blog.
    • Disqus employees, friends and pets are not eligible.

    Please note: because we’re using this post to run the contest, we will be pre-moderating comments during this time.

    image

    contest instructions, please see above

    Update 11/22/13: Thank you for all your submissions! We are going to consider each of them over the weekend, and announce the winner early next week. Thanks again!
  4. mls888

    New Research: Who Are the People In Your (Disqus) Neighborhood

    Posted on October 24, 2013 by mls888

    I’m Michael Son and I work with companies that use Disqus to build and participate in great online communities.

    There are many stereotypes about people who comment online. In our own experience across the 3 million sites that use Disqus, we see more good than bad. Here’s one example: across Disqus, people can vote on comments to quickly show how they feel — 85% of comment votes are positive upvotes. But we wanted to seek out some independent validation and learn more about how and why you use Disqus everyday.

    So we recently commissioned an independent research study (conducted by NetPop Research) to better understand you and how you use Disqus. Our thanks go to the 1,000 of you who took the time to share your thoughts. What we learned will help us make Disqus even better, for everyone.

    What follows are some excerpts from the research whitepaper that we thought you may find interesting yourself. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

    Geeks Searching for Stuff Worth Talking About

    What we found is that people who are active on Disqus are more like “geeks” — in the best sense of the word. They have niche interests and passions. And a lot of times, mainstream content sources don’t fill their needs. So they consume more content on independent websites, the types of sites that use Disqus to make the community a part of the experience.

    More specifically, Disqus users are visiting twice as many websites a month compared to the average person. They share and contribute 3 times more often. They tweet twice as much. And, as experts and geeks, they tend to have larger influence with more social followers than average.

    Their personal motivations also run counter to stereotypes. It’s not about building a personal reputation or even to be entertained. They’re motivated to learn from others, contribute something that was missed and share an expertise.

    Devoted and On the Hunt for More

    Each of us knows a little too much about something that we’re passionate about (and may care to admit.) Maybe it’s comic books, celebrity gossip, fantasy football, modern art, or whatever else floats your boat.

    Our study showed that people on Disqus are devoted to their passions and hobbies, exploring them online more than the average Internet user. They spend more of their time on smaller, organic sites that offer them the space to properly “geek out.” Each month, they are visiting 15 sites related to a specific passion on average, which is over 50% higher than seen with the typical user.

    Consumption Habits: More Sites, More Sharing

    Our research confirmed Disqus users simply spend more time online, seeking more news, information and social content across all areas of the Web. The data makes it clear: people who use Disqus visit nearly twice as many websites per month (23 total) than the average Internet user (13 total.)image

    Disqus users consume more. Here is why we know:

    • They share comments and opinions 3x more often than the average Internet user.
    • They consume more. They’re 2x as active on Twitter.

    Participation and Influence Go Hand-in-Hand

    The Disqus audience doesn’t just want to read the story, they want to be part of the story.

    An especially compelling finding was around why people comment. It’s not about building their reputation of benefiting personally. They are motivated to share their expertise, influence opinions and contribute something that was missed or overlooked. image

    In addition, as experts and geeks, they tend to have larger influence, with over 100 more social followers compared to the average Internet user.

    Natural Brand Advocates

    A key challenge that brands face today is finding those who want to actively engage. Connecting with the people who use Disqus is becoming a core part of the modern brand playbook whether it’s by adding our discussion service to their content sites, participating in Disqus discussions or bringing scale to content-advertising with our ad product Promoted Discovery.

    Our study revealed that the Disqus audience is talking about brands in more ways online than regular Internet users. They are more likely to take specific brand-related actions including commenting, writing reviews, providing endorsements, or sharing and posting links to content about brands and products.  image

    That wraps it up at a high level. We invite you to request access to the full research report on our Advertising page.

  5. rogupta

    Partner Spotlight: Measuring Awe.sm Communities

    Posted on October 16, 2013 by rogupta

    Recently, we announced the Disqus Certified Partner Program, and we’re happy to include awe.sm as one of our launch partners in the Monitoring & Analytics category.

    We invited Fred McIntyre, of awe.sm, to give a talk at the Dataweek Disqus Summit about how they apply their social analytics technology to measuring “community ROI.” Below is a recap that awe.sm posted on their blog. Check out some new data they uncovered on the social amplification value of commenters vs. ‘regular’ visitors.

    ——

    The term “social media analytics” is thrown around frequently, but publishers and marketers still struggle to find meaningful, actionable insights into how social media drives actual business results. This is the problem awe.sm is tackling.

    For an example of the kind of useful findings that performance analytics can reveal, we analyzed commenting and sharing data collected by Disqus and awe.sm. Our findings revealed a huge opportunity for content publishers and their community managers.

    The Publisher Funnel

    Marketers are familiar with the concept of a sales funnel, but it applies to content publishers, too. Think of visits at the top of the funnel, page views the next level down, then engagement (comments) and amplification (organic sharing).

    Filling the top of the funnel by acquiring traffic and increasing page views is a discipline unto itself. But we were interested in whether page engagement and amplification at the bottom of the funnel can help broaden the funnel’s top. Also, how are commenting and sharing behavior related to one another?

    Case Study — Both Sides of the Table

    When a website uses awe.sm’s earned-media measurement, we track every individual share of its content by site visitors: not just where it’s shared, but how many clicks it drives back to the site, and what on-site events take place after that. As we announced back in July, among the specific goals we can track is Disqus-powered commenting — i.e., which comments came from visitors driven by each Tweet, Pin, or Like?

    One website that benefits from this visibility is Both Sides of the Table, the popular blog of venture capitalist, Mark Suster. Mark gave us permission to explore the sharing and commenting on recent posts to see what we could learn, and the results didn’t disappoint.

    Let’s scrutinize a single conversation.

    A few weeks back, Mark published this Tweet to over 125,000 followers:

    The Tweet brought 777 clicks to his post, and resulted in 3,978 pageviews, 5 new social followers, 13 comments on the original post or elsewhere on his blog, and 8 re-shares — social posts made by individuals who either clicked share buttons on the blog, or copied a page’s tracking link out of the address bar and pasted it into their own social workflow.

    One of the shares was to a LinkedIn group for doing business in British Columbia. The LinkedIn post drove 122 clicks back to Mark’s blog, 156 page views, an additional Twitter follower, and this Disqus comment…which led to another LinkedIn post. That post drove 5 more clicks and additional page views.

    If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a Tweet to a blog post, which led to viewing another blog post, which led to comments and a LinkedIn post, which sent more pageviews and comments on the blog, which led to another LinkedIn post…

    …and this is just a single conversation path! For more highly-trafficked blog posts, it’s easy to amass thousands of nodes, four or more generations deep. The quantity of available data, potentially the relationship between every comment, every social share, and every pageview, is — (wait for it) — awesome.

    Consider that these conversations already were taking place, without being attributed or adequately understood, and it’s possible to grasp what’s possible for the first time by using a closed-loop system to connect all the social dots. This level of visibility makes it possible to identify which conversations drive visits and pageviews, which social posts create value, and, ultimately, the ROI of each share.

    What can we learn?

    When we analyzed social posts, pageviews, comments, and organic sharing across a larger data set, we found two striking conclusions:

    • Visitors who leave at least one Disqus comment on a site’s content are 23% more likely to share site content to a social network than non-commenters.
    • Those commenters’ shares receive 80% more clicks per post than shares of this same content by non-commenters.

    It’s not too surprising that people who engage with comments are more likely to share too. It is, however, somewhat more surprising that these commenters are also more effective sharers. Stay tuned for some additional data from Disqus on this…

    Regardless, these figures quantify the relationship between engagement and amplification, and raise a huge opportunity for publishers and community managers. Now that we know that conversations drive amplification, and now that it’s possible to identify which conversations and participants are most influential at driving amplification, we have a powerful tool for optimizing conversations, nurturing influencers and increasing traffic.

    ——

    For more information on the integration between Disqus and awe.sm, click here, and if you’d like to get in touch with awe.sm to request a demo head here.

    Have you been able to quantify the value of your community? If so, let us know how below.