has acquired IntenseDebate, a blog commenting plugin that works on almost every blogging platform. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed. This is the third major acquisition for Automattic after buying Gravatar in 2007 and BuddyPress in early 2008. Automattic promises that IntenseDebate will remain platform agnostic, just like Aksimet, Automattic's comment spam blocker.Automattic, the company behind the popular blogging platform Wordpress,
More Than Just Comments
It is noteworthy that IntenseDebate's infrastructure goes far beyond being a simple commenting system. The service also includes profiles for commenters and spam control, which should integrate very well with Wordpress' own products.
A few of us here at RWW have used IntenseDebate in the past. Even though we liked the service overall, we found the reply by email function a bit lacking and undependable at times. Also, the plugin does not degrade well when commenting on a mobile device, though this is a typical problem with commenting plugins.
One feature we really like about IntenseDebate is that it supports OpenID, even though we called the actual integration "a bit clumsy" in an earlier review. IntenseDebate also stands out because it allows you to easily switch away from the service whenever you want to. You can just export your data and import it back into your native blogging software's comments database.
What About the Competition?
IntenseDebate's direct competitors include JS-Kit, SezWho, and Disqus, all of which have a very similar feature set. It will be interesting to see how these companies react to this news, especially because Automattic has also announced that WordPress 2.7 will implement some of IntenseDebate's features, including reply by email and threaded comments. Automattic's WordPress.com already hosts millions of blogs, and integrating IntenseDebate there might just make it the de facto standard for blog comments.
Hat tip to VentureBeat for alerting us to this news.