Livefyre: a Disqus Alternative for Blog Comments

Add Your CommentIf you decide to accept comments on your blog, you don’t have to use the default commenting system.

For example, in WordPress, you might integrate Disqus, Facebook or Intense Debate.

Livefyre has been around almost a year and a half and is starting to make waves too. Although it’s not currently available for Blogger, Joomla, Drupal or TypePad, support for those platforms is “coming soon”. WordPress, Tumblr and custom blogging systems are supported now.

Here’s our first impression.

Setting Up Livefyre Commenting

Livefyre is arguably one of the easier commenting systems to integrate.

Users fill in a short form and create a new Livefyre account or connect their site with an existing account.

If you’re a WordPress user, the next step is to download the Livefyre plugin, install it, confirm your account and import any existing comments.

The entire process will take about two minutes on a WordPress blog, with the comments import taking a few extra minutes on top.

Pros of Livefyre

Livefyre is speedy, clean and efficient. We didn’t notice a slowdown in our limited test. The interface is minimal, which is nice, as it removes barriers to commenting.

The social networking integration in Livefyre is also powerful. Comments can be shared on social media, and friends can be tagged directly in a comment.

The anti-spam system, which is based on Impermium, seems to work very well.

Livefyre Problems

Livefyre is not particularly customisable. It can’t be themed, and the features on offer can’t be tweaked or switched off. Email notifications didn’t work during the test we did.

Visitors can’t comment without signing in to Livefyre or one of its accepted services. Though I’m pretty sure nearly everyone will have a Facebook, Twitter, Google or Linkedin account, they might not want to share it. (To be fair, other commenting systems also present this dilemma.)

While its focus on real-time commenting is admirable, we felt that very few blogs get the kind of traffic to make that matter. It looks great on the demo, but you may never see it in practice.

Finally, the moderation features are odd. Tasks are split between the WordPress dashboard and the comment page itself. There are more options on the Livefyre site, but the login procedure is confusing and our comments were in the wrong order.

Is Livefyre a Contender?

Livefyre is simple, fast and powerful, and we liked the social networking features. However, it’s inflexible. You may have to choose between ease of use and customisation.

It’s a brave new product, but one that feels slightly immature.

Image credit: premasagar

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Discussion

  • http://livefyre.com Jordan Kretchmer

    Hi Jonathan, Jordan from Livefyre here! First off, thanks so much for the review of what we’re doing, and for taking the time to cover the angles. Wanted to address a few of the drawbacks you listed, because we take feedback like that to heart, and are always looking for ways to make what we do better.

    Design: As of now, we’ve made the CSS as customizable as possible, and you can change anything about the design that way. Now, I know that not everyone knows CSS, so we do plan on building customization options into the admin in the near future. What are the things you’d most want to be able customize?

    Anonymous posting: We go back and forth on this one all the time. We could turn anonymous comments on tomorrow if we decided to go that direction. But we’ve found that requiring some for of sign-in increases the quality of conversations, but doesn’t reduce the quantity. Especially as communities become more active, most of our bloggers end up liking not allowing anonymous. But again, there’s a good chance we’ll allow that in the near future.

    Moderation: I’ll admit, our blogger moderation panel is our weakest feature right now. But no worry, we have admin version two that will be released in the next couple of weeks! That will address all of the concerns and more that you mention.

    Again, thanks for thoughts, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help, or if you have more feedback!

    Jordan

  • http://www.plagiarismtoday.com Jonathan

    Jordan: Thanks for the response. I’m glad you liked the review.

    Regarding the design, I appreciate the info. I don’t really need it on my main site (plagiarismtoday.com) but I didn’t see any documentation on it. Do you have a link to the CSS hooks so I can add it to the article. Would much like to clarify this.

    As far as anonymous posting goes, I can understand the debate and, for the most part, I agree with your case. Still, there are some sites that value anonymous posting (often for privacy reasons) so it might be neat to have it an option that can be turned on by the admin. I probably wouldn’t, but I know many who would.

    Finally, RE: moderation, that sounds great. Looking forward to it and will update this article when it arrives!

    Thanks again for the reply!

  • http://Livefyre.com Jordan kretchmer

    Hey Jonathan, we have a guide on our CSS hooks in our forums, here’s the direct link: http://support.livefyre.com/customer/portal/articles/67016-css-guide-

    If there’s anything in there that you need clarified when you dig into it let us know!