Backtype, known for its fast-growing comment-aggregation service, announced the availability of a new BackType Connect plugin for standalone WordPress blogs today. The plugin uses the newly-updated Connect API to integrate comments from a variety of different sources around the internet directly in to the WordPress comment system. Supported sources include Twitter, Digg, FriendFeed, Reddit, other blogs, and of course, Hacker News (since Backtype is a YCombinator startup). Installation is straightforward and comment import happens quickly.
Backtype Connect is an offshoot project of the larger comment aggregation service that Backtype provides. While the primary service tracks all comments by comment author (optimally, no matter where they are posted), Connect focuses on tracking comments made around a specific URL on a number of different services. To further facilitate getting a true count of URL links in Twitter, they developed BackTweets as well, which we covered in more depth here. Thanks to Zee from TheNextWeb for the tip.
The way the Backtype Connect WordPress plugin works is fairly straightforward with no additional registration needed. After installation and activation on a WordPress standalone blog, the plugin queries the BackType Connect database with the article URLs and starts importing them in to the WordPress comment database, including a footnote with a source of the comment. Icons for all of the BT Connect services are also included so that the comments indicate clearly where they are coming from.
I took an hour this morning and installed BT Connect on my personal blog, Scribkin. Installation when smoothly, but I will warn you that if you are using a comment system that is a full replacement for the one built in to WordPress (like Intense Debate or Disqus) you won't see what Backtype Connect is doing since it is acting directly on the built-in comment database. The new comments will only start showing up after a sync. If, however, you are using other WordPress comment enhancement systems like SezWho and JS-Kit, there shouldn't be any problem.