If you're a blogger who is into covering live events, like keynotes, press conferences, meetings, or sports events, you may be interested in the new, free service from CoveritLive. In development since 2006 and emerging from beta in November of 2007, the CoveritLive platform gives you an easy way to blog events as they happen and it also provides tools to interact with your readers during the event you're covering.

As you use CoveritLive's software, your commentary streams live to your web page or blog. Readers viewing the commentary can ask questions and participate in polls you create, giving them a reason to stay online on your website for the duration of the event, instead of checking in every now and then. Readers viewing the live blog stream don't have to create user accounts to participate or download any software.

While blogging, you can also add pictures and videos in real-time, keeping the stream updated with interesting content. The text, images, and videos can be drag-and-dropped into the application's interface and linked with ease.

The CoveritLive Console

CoveritLive also provides a way for multiple editors to work together in real-time. One writer could be focused on uploading content and writing while the other answers questions and responds to comments.

How it Works

When you use the CoveritLive service, a resizable AJAX Viewer Window of your live blog is embedded into your website or blog, similar to the way you would embed a widget. However, the CoveritLive team is quick to point out that the service is really "anything but a widget or lightweight tool." Don't be fooled by its ease of use, they say: CoveritLive is a scalable application designed for anyone to use whether they have just a handful of reader or hundreds of thousands.

CoveritLive on a blog

The one-click publishing feature lets you use Google image or video search and then, with one click, post the image or video to the live blog window. There is also an online Media Library and Showprep tool where you can load up your media in preparation for the event. This lets you build up a collection of items beforehand so they are ready when you need them during the live event. 

The one-click Quick Polls can be created on the fly or in advance and stored in the Media Library. You can create as many polls as you would like and can turn the different polls on and off in the "Now Playing" section of the app.

Readers can comment on the live blog, but it's not like a chat window or forum. The comments, or "Audience Messages," as they're called, stream into a window in the Console that only the author can see. By clicking the comment, the author can post the question or comment directly into the live blog for everyone to see and then respond to it. The Audience Messages feature can be turned on or off as desired during the event.

Another nice feature the Console provides is a Viewer Window built right into it. With this, you can see exactly what your readers see, making formatting problems no longer an issue.

At the event's end, the Viewer Windows becomes what they call an "Instant Replay." This new window has the entire live blog for site visitors to read if they missed viewing it live. The latecomers can still view the poll results, which are automatically linked to by the app when the event is over. The live blog you created is stored on CoveritLive's servers where you can access it at any time or delete it if you decide you no longer need it.

Why Do We Need Liveblogging Tools?

Today's standard publishing and blogging platforms are not really created for live blogging. You have to write, save, and publish and then refresh your blog's page to make sure that it looks right. If you don't know how to set your blog's page to automatically refresh, your site visitors have to automatically refresh the page on their own to see the new content. Even if your page is automatically refreshing, it is still not the equivalent of real-time blogging as your posts are not being displayed as you write them. With CoveritLive, you can instantly blog the event without having to worry with those sort of technical details.

Unfortunately, when put to the test during this year's Macworld conference, a minor technical glitch, the equivalent of "one loose screw" (so they said), managed to crash the service. However, CoveritLive responded that this was not due to being overloaded by traffic, rather an issue in their Quality Assurance process, and hopes that everyone will give them another shot in the future. Yikes!


As web-based reporting relies more and more on live coverage of major events, it will be critical for CoveritLive to make sure that outages like this past one never occur or no one will bother to use the service again. Many may have already decided that one crash is one too many and have already sworn it off.

Still, if they get the kinks worked out to deliver a more stable platform, a liveblogging service with the feature set and ease-of-use of CoveritLive is worth keeping an eye on.