Catching up With Backtype [en]

[fr] BackType: pour voir les commentaires que je fais dans la blogosphère, l'impact "social" de mon blog, les derniers tweets qui le référencent, et un plugin WordPress (TweetCount) qui va remplacer TechMeme pour moi, simplement parce qu'il liste effectivement les tweets référençant l'article en question, ce que TechMeme ne fait pas.

Image representing BackType as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

A few weeks ago I read that BackType was going to discontinue the BackType Connect plugin that I had used some time back here on CTTS, which prompted me to (a bit hastily, I’ll admit) make a comment about how you’re really better off not relying on a third party for hosting your comments (which is not what BackType does, my bad).

The BackType Connect plugin took offsite reactions to your blog posts (tweets, for example) and published them as comments. I have to say I was never really really happy with the plugin: installing it made me realize that most mentions of my posts on Twitter were retweets (or spambots) and that I didn’t want to mix that kind of “reaction” with my comments. At one point the plugin really stopped working (or gave me some kind of grief) and I dropped it.

I actually liked BackType a lot when they started out, and I owe them big time for saving hundreds of my blog comments when I dropped my database early 2009. Even though I wasn’t using their plugin, I was unhappy about the announcement — and even more unhappy when I discovered that my user page had disappeared (yes, the one displaying all the comments I’d made on other blogs and this one, which replaced what I’d used coComment for).

BackType, however, did something I liked a lot, and wished TweetMeme had done: allow me to see all the latest tweets linking to Climb to the Stars. This prompted me to take a closer look at what BackType was actually still doing, and report my findings of interest back to you, dear readers.

  1. Good surprise: BackType actually does still allow me to track comments I make all over the blogosphere — but it uses my URL rather than my user account to identify me.
  2. Already mentioned: tweets linking to my blog. Including old ones.
  3. The social impact of any URL: tweets, comments and friendfeed mentions over time, complete with mugshots of “top influencers“.
  4. TweetCount plugin, which is probably going to replace the TweetMeme plugin I was using until now,  because BackType actually lists tweets linking back to a post (compare with the TweetMeme page for the same post). I’ve always found TweetMeme a bit too close to Digg and TechMeme (you know I’m no fan of the race for popularity or breaking news). TweetCount counts a few less tweets than TechMeme, and I suspect its results are cleaner.
  5. If you like displaying tweets mentioning your posts on your blog, you should also check out the BackTweets plugin.

Does BackType do anything else that seems precious to you?

Conversation fragmentation is still an issue in today’s blogosphere, but tools like BackType (and even the Facebook Like button!) are helping is stitch the different pieces together.

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Please Don't Be Rude, coComment. I Loved You. [en]

[fr] J'étais une inconditionnelle de la première heure de coComment. Je les ai même eus comme clients. Aujourd'hui j'ai le coeur lourd, car après le désastre de la version 2.0 "beta", le redesign du site qui le laisse plus confus qu'avant, les fils RSS qui timent out, le blog sans âme et les pubs qui clignotent, je me retrouve avec de grosses bannières autopromotionnelles dans mon tumblelog, dans lequel j'ai intégré le flux RSS de mes commentaires.

Just a little earlier this evening, my heart sank. It sank because of this:

Steph's Tumblr - rude cocomment

That is a screenshot of [my Tumblr]( And what [coComment]( is doing here — basically, inserting a huge self-promotional banner in their RSS feed — is really rude.

I’m really sad, because I used to love coComment. I was involved (not much, but still) [early on]( and was a first-hour fan. They [were even my client for over six months](, during which I acted as a community manager, gave feedback on features to the team, and [wrote a whole bunch of blog posts]( This ended, sadly, [when coComment finally incorporated](, because we couldn’t reach an agreement as to the terms of my engagement.

Inserting content in the RSS feeds is only the latest in a series of disappointments I’ve had with the service. I used to have a sidebar widget to show the last comments I’d made all over the place on my blog, but I removed it at some point — I can’t remember when — because it had stopped working. I tried adding it again, but for some reason WordPress can’t find the feed. It seemed very slow when I tried to access it directly, so maybe it’s timing out — and I think I recall that is what made me remove it in the first place.

I’m sad also to see blinking ads on the coComment site, confusing navigation, pages with [click here]( links, and [a blog which has no soul](, filled with post after post of press-release-like “we won this contest”, “we’re sponsoring this event”, “version xyz released”, “we were here too” — all too often on behalf of a mostly faceless “coComment Team”. CoComment used to have something going, but to me it now seems like an exciting promise that lost its way somewhere along the line.

[Last August](, the [version]( [2.0]( [beta]( [disaster]( made me cringe with embarrassment for my former love (who on earth takes all their users [back to beta]( when 1.0 was stable?) and left many blogs paralyzed, including my own. I started writing a blog post, at the time, which I never published, as other things got in the way. Here’s what I’d written:

> I reinstalled the extension yesterday (I’d removed it a few months ago because I suspected it might be involved in a lot of browser hang-ups) but had to uninstall it a couple of hours later:

> – too many non-comment textareas get the coco-bar
– blacklisting seems broken
– pop-up requesting info confirmation for website blocking form submission of non-comment forms, even though coco-bar was removed AND extension was deactivated for the page.

> It would be nice to be able to read some clear and detailed information about these issues and their resolution on the blog, so that I know when it’s worth trying the extension again.

> Also, a **major** issue is that when the coComment server isn’t responding, people cannot leave comments on integrated/enhanced blogs (like this one, or my personal blog). I had to remove coComment integration from my blog so that coComment downtime doesn’t prevent my readers from leaving comments.

***Update:** in case this wasn’t clear first time around, these problems have since then been solved and [coComment apologized for the mess]( It doesn’t erase the pain, though.*

So, coComment — and Matt — are you listening?

You’re in the process of alienating somebody who was one of your most passionate users — if you haven’t lost me already. I cared. I forgave. I waited. I hoped. But right now, I don’t have the impression you care much about me. I’ve seen excuses, I’ve even seen justifications, and now I see large ugly banners in my Tumblr. What happened to you?

*You’ll have understood, I hope, that this is not just about me. This is about the people who use your service. The service you provide is for us, right?*

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Blogging 4 Business: part 2 [en]

**Next panel: Heather Hopkins, Kris Hoet, Scott Thomson, Simon McDermott, moderated by Mike Butcher**

*steph-note: again, partial notes, sorry*

Blogging 4 Business

Simon McDermott: [Attentio]( monitoring all this social media stuff. Analyse the buzz. Identify what influencers are saying about your product. What are the popular bloggers saying? Reputation monitoring. What issues are being raised?

How to interact with this media?

– monitor and analyse brands
– identify influencers
– communicate with key influentials

Case study: Consumer Electronics Player — monitor buzz around gadget with lower momentum than other recent success story. Better understand online consumer opinion and identify key forums and bloggers. Delivered a dashboard with relative visibility and trend information, etc.

Mike’s question to Heather: what would [Hitwise]( do differently?

Heather: blogs are a rather small category. Two examples: one (Sony Playstation virus or something) story which spread like wildfire amongst the blogosphere (hardly anybody has heard about it in the audience here) and the Coke-menthos video (many more people). Use Technorati,

Kris: Microsoft go to blogger events, try to keep conversations going — for that, they need tracking (what are people saying about Hotmail?) Also use Technorati and, comment tracking *(steph-note: with [coComment]( maybe?)* Best way of tracking is to read all these blogs, of course, but it’s a lot of work.

Moderator (Mike): comments very influential!

Kris: Comments can influence what the blogger writes, so it’s important to engage there. You don’t need a blog to engage with bloggers. Leave a comment. Everybody is a customer.

… *steph-note: sorry, tuning out*

Woman from public: blogged about her Dell nightmare (computer broken after guarantee), and was tracked down two months later by Dell, comment with apologies for the delay in tracking her, got somebody from the UK office to call her, pick up the laptop, repair it free of charge, and then ask her to get back in touch if there were any problems.

Simon: if Dell had been monitoring 18 months earlier, they would probably have saved themselves some trouble — they grew very fast and customer service didn’t follow.

Question: tracking in different languages. Short of one person for tracking each language in each country, what can we do?

Simon: solution is identifying top 5 bloggers in the area we want *steph-note: not sure I agree with that*

Kris: if you’re in contact with bloggers, ask them if they know anybody else who might be interested in joining the conversation too. They know each other.

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