Avid, Topic-Driven Communities

Ro Gupta from Disqus and Martin Remy from Automattic

An interview with Ro Gupta from Disqus and Martin Remy from Automattic.

This session saw Chris Moody interviewing Ro Gupta from Disqus and Martin Remy from Automattic about their respective commenting and blogging platforms. Chris’ questions looked into the evolution of their products, both from a technology perspective and as well as how users are interacting with each other and other platforms. The really exciting aspect of their responses was learning just how much reach both Disqus and Automattic have created.

Disqus has surpassed the 1 billion monthly uniques mark in terms of user visits, a sign that Ro’s audience has certainly moved beyond simple conversations and into organic communities. WordPress, on the other hand is now the CMS behind 22% of the top 1 million sites on the web. Marty talked about how Automattic has really worked to “humanize” the relationship between users on WordPress.com and has a stonger mobile focus than other.

A common theme that both Ro and Marty commented on in response to Chris’ questioning was the idea of proactive content discovery. That is to say that both platforms are working hard to introduce users to new topics and discussion threads that they might not have otherwise found on their own. Part of this strategy is making it easier for users to take their conversations across platforms and mediums, and then back again. WordPress has the Publicize feature that automatically generates a Tweet anytime a user creates a new blog. And Disqus has event taken some of their online discussion communities into the real world with in-person get togethers focused on avid foodies and gamers.

Both Ro and Martin talked about their platforms’ continued push into international markets, and don’t see any slowing in this trend. There is a huge opportunity for international growth for each, and Disqus is already available in 51 languages and 64% of its visitors originating outside of the US. WordPress has an equally undeniable global presence and continues to add new countries to the list, with especially high interest in Brazil.

All in, it is readily apparent that long-form data is far from dead and each platform continues to prove the incredible level of engagement that comes from their topic-focused audiences. Whether via comments or blog posts, both platforms continue to create strong stand-alone communities while also enabling users to discover exciting new areas of interest.

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