IDEA #29 – Your Vyous (comments) on Any Webpage


“Vyous” as mentioned before is a domain I own — it stands for ‘your views’ or ‘views by you’. The following idea might suit this domain well.

Quick Summary: I know there is commentful, co.mments and cocomment, but they aren’t what I’m suggesting here. I’m looking to create a community on a proposed website that pulls in thousands (millions?) of RSS feeds, has a webpage for every single article [headline, 100 chars], and allows users to comment on it. There’d be a browser plugin as well, to easily show users reading an article page on CNN, that there are 5 comments at this proposed website; and allow them to quickly comment; … then there’d be some social networking as well (allowing users of the site to communicate with each other; and would highlight comments on a webpage by people in your ‘network’). Even if you’re not a person that comments on things, I think a lot of people read comments if the article is of interest to them.

The Problem: One of my biggest qualms is when news articles or posts don’t allow you to comment on them. In particular, Pitchfork, which is THE indie music news website, doesn’t allow for comments on anything. It’s complete bullshit, because they are very opinionated themselves — and I know there’s lots of people out there that agree and disagree passionately with them on a variety of things (such as this 1.9 out of 10 review of Damien Rice’s latest CD). On that example, I want to be heard that Pitchfork can… (expletive; expletive; etc).

Another example is CNN — last night was the oscars, I’d love to see people’s comments on this news article.

The How: Obviously for this dream of mine to come true, it’d have to be an external service. Likely you’d have a browser plugin installed — much like one of these potential competitors: Google’s Blogger Web Comments, SiteSays, and Webride.


Market Opportunity: Now, although I find this as a necessary need on the web — maybe it really isn’t. There’s a passionate community at TechCrunch, but despite ~273,000 subscribers (which Fred Wilson points out is likely 50,000 active readers) — there is typically less than 50 comments on posts (the most I feel I’ve seen was like 160). Does that mean there really isn’t a need? I know that Pitchfork is very opinionated — and music listeners (readers) of that website, can be very opinionated themselves regarding one of Pitchfork’s album reviews.

Misc related features (if you comment on these features, refer to them in the comments as ‘Feature 5:’):

  1. Comments can be text, audio, or video.
  2. MyBlogLog type features — regarding leaving your trace/footprint that you were recently at a webpage (and whether you left any ‘vyous’ on that page).
  3. Eventually create a huge directory of topics where people can mouth-off [even live chat]
  4. People select a type of comment they are leaving — discussion, idea, rant, rave.
  5. Opacity of the pop-up can be altered; whether it expands all the way vertical can be altered
  6. Pop-up: highlight comments by your friends/network or people whose comments you have agreed with in the past or simply liked
  7. Embed widget to display your latest footprints
  8. Widget to display last comments you’ve left
  9. Ability to view footprints of others that you like/network/friends
  10. Ability to view singles or people near you, that have searched same page or similar ones
  11. Ability to leave anonymous comments — but they are +/- as well
  12. Display webpage title in this box, so user knows they are commenting on it; or the rss feed title — if on homepage, maybe it recognizes what article being viewed right now?
  13. User able to right-click on a link and comment?
  14. Our website will have a webpage for every webpage we’re allowing “vyous” on — we’ll index the title of the webpage with 100 characters of the webpage (blog post) — — “To be very clear with everyone in the industry: WE DO NOT ALLOW ADVERTISING AGAINST OUR *FULL* RSS FEEDS. If you want to put ads against our feeds you *must* use the headline feeds and no more than the first 100 characters of the post.”
  15. Social networking — create a profile; add as much as you want (myspace url, flickr, digg, slashdot) …. ability to add friends [email even if they dont have ]; see comments on pages by friends, see comments by people around where you live; see comments by people you’ve liked comments on in past; see what webpages your friends have been looking at OR commenting on.
  16. Blog readers — integrate?
  17. Flag people that you liked the commentary or didn’t
  18. What? music, politics, current news, tech news, sports —– agree or disagree? —– bear or bull?
  19. Focus is allowing discussion on articles, particularly that don’t allow discussing
  20. Leave comments on MySpace pages w/o being a friend of that person
  21. When on a page, also show blog results that link to that page —- highlight blogs I like and/or people’s comments I like
  22. Subscribe to notifications of new comments to a page via us or by a username anywhere
  23. Users select privacy level — all, none, friends — to view: my comments, pages i have visited (right now)
  24. Like, “friends and neighbors”.
  25. Others that have visited a page — singles; located near you.

Question for all: Why hasn’t SiteSays or Webride taken off?

IM conversation with Marshall Kirkpatrick on 12/14/06 —
Steve: do you know of any services out there that are allowing commenting on any news article / blog post? For example, you can’t comment on articles — because they don’t let you… Also, is basically the TechCrunch equivalent to the indie-music world — they post record reviews, but users can’t comment on the posts [they gave a recent album a 1.9 out of 10, which i loved]. I know there is commentful, co.mments and cocomment, but they aren’t what I’m looking to do.. I’m looking to create a community on my website that pulls in thousands (millions?) of RSS feeds, has a page for every single article [headline, 100 chars], and allows users to comment on it. There’d be a browser plugin as well, to easily show users on an article page on CNN that there are 5 comments at my website; and allow them to quickly comment; .. then there’d be some social networking.
Marshall: that’s a very sparse version
Steve: ok yeah — something similar to this
Marshall: or
Steve: so they are doing it niche-style
Steve: and i think niches are the way to go.. but i’m thinking big sha-bang here
Marshall: right on
Steve: yeah they seem offline –
Marshall: just very slow
Steve: you think there’s a need?
Steve: even if you’re not a person that comments on things.. i think a lot of people read the comments if the article is of interest to them
Marshall: totally
Marshall: the browser plug in would be key
Steve: absolutely
Steve: and small things like if you go direct to my webservice from an article page, we’d attempt to grab the referral URL and throw you to the comment page
Marshall: yeah, I don’t know how much need there is there. could be
Marshall: is one to check out too. I covered them at TC
Steve: I think there is opportunity here; 3 competitors [1 webride, appears to be dead w/traffic]… google’s blogger web comments [only finds blogger blogs that talk blog about the webpage]… and sitesays [which seems dead w/traffic]
Marshall: could be interesting. many sites without comments have forums though
Marshall: I think you should give a long hard look at how much demand there is as well
Marshall: but if you think there is, then I think you’ve got a good approach
Steve: like this page — i want to rip this writer to shreds, but have no way to do so ..
Steve: well, i want to do it in a fashion where others chime in as well 🙂
Marshall: I am not saying there is no demand, but I’ll be curious to see how much
Steve: yeah — and how to tap into getting users to install the plugin