WordPress maker buys IntenseDebate commenting system

Matt Mullenweg announced today that Automattic (the maker of WordPress) is acquiring IntenseDebate, a blog commenting system with lots of features that WordPress doesn’t have available yet except through third-party plugins.

IntenseDebate currently works with a number of different blogging platforms, including WordPress, TypePad, Moveable Type, Blogger, and Tumblr.  They say they plan to keep it that way, and to extend support to even more platforms.  For now at least, IntenseDebate will also retain its separate brand.  We can expect that WordPress will gradually incorporate some of IntenseDebate’s features into their core as time goes on.

Features of IntenseDebate include:

  1. Threaded comments.  Lots of people currently use the Brian’s Threaded Comments plugin for WordPress, not without problems.  Matt says that threaded comments will become part of WordPress 2.7.  How much of that comes directly from IntenseDebate?
  2. Reply-By-Email.    Just send an email to respond to a comment.  Hope they have a good spam plan.  This seems to imply built-in email notification as well.
  3. Importing/Exporting from/to other commenting systems.  They would be smart to provide an importer that understands Brian’s Threaded Comments’ comment relationships.
  4. Commenter Profiles.    Sort of like the optional user registration on WordPress?
  5. Reputation Points & Comment Voting.  Make your blog a mini-reddit.
  6. Moderation/Blacklisting.  Sounds a lot like the moderation that’s already built into WordPress.
  7. Widgets.  More ways to waste space on your sidebar.
  8. RSS Readers and Tracking.  This one sounds really interesting.  They’ve integrated with Google Reader and Bloglines so you can read and respond to comments right within the feed reader.  Sweet.   More feed readers to come, they say.
  9. Twitter.  Make any comment you post an automatic Tweet.  Noise * 2.
  10. FriendFeed.  People make comments about your blog on FriendFeed.  You can automatically pull those comments over to the blog itself.
  11. OpenID support.  One less extra login.
  12. HTML formatting.  That’s sort of expected, I should think.

I haven’t had a chance to try out the service, and they have gone back into closed beta since the acquisition, so my statements above are based on information from their web site only.  I sent an email through their contact form to ask a few questions not covered there, but haven’t received a response yet.

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