Automattic picks up Intense Debate

Automattic is the company behind WordPress, Akismet, Gravatar, and now Intense Debate.

Much has already been written on this acquisition, but of course I wanted to throw in my two cents.

Intense Debate was one of the companies that came out of the Techstars class of 2007 that I was really excited about. Jon and Isaac are true rock stars, and did a great job of listening, testing, reacting, and cranking out code last summer. Right away at the end of last summer, they had some tremendous competition such as Disqus, SezWho, and JS-Kit. In fact, I think Disqus launched within just a few days of Intense Debate last summer. This competition proved to be really good for Intense Debate, and I’m guessing it was good for the other companies as well. It was awesome to watch all of these companies innovate and make each other better over the course of the last year.

It was mid summer at Techstars last year when Brad wrote about the problems with comments being the Dark Matter of the Blogosphere. It’s thanks to the efforts of all of these companies that the situation is now much better. And with this first deal (of what will likely be several) in the space, we’re going to see massively widespread adoption of an enhanced comment system for the first time across the WordPress ecosystem.

But, alas, things could still be much better. It’s still not possible to easily see all of the comments left across the blogosphere by one individual. Sure, search engines are emerging, but there is no open standard for comments yet to be developed. I always thought it would be interesting to build a ping server of sorts for comments, such that comments could travel with the related content wherever it goes. We still can’t search comments universally like we can do with blog posts. And, regardless of the good work of these companies, commenter reputation barely has even a start.

I hope these companies all keep innovating and improving the options we have as publishers to engage our communities and to increase the quality and quantity of what is being discussed on the web today.

Here’s Automattic CEO Toni Schneider talking about the acquisition at Techstars Demo Day in Mountain View, CA last week. Congrats to Intense Debate!
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