Why CoCo and not MyCo?

I told myself a long time ago that I wouldn’t link to one of Robert Scoble’s articles. I have no sensible reason for this, just a mild distaste I found left in my mouth after reading some of his posts a year or so back. Nothing personal, I just… didn’t find his style to my liking. I don’t know why, but something simply rubbed me up the wrong way. You can’t like everyone in this world, I have discovered, and rather than be mean I just went elsewhere for my reading pleasure. I’ve stuck to my guns for over twelve months now and hadn’t even noticed I was missing anything until Stowe the other day pointed me at Scobleizer in my quest for CoCo codes.

I realised that, personal dislike of tone aside, I was cutting off my own nose to spite my face – here was a valuable source of information and opinion. Some people become A-Listers for a reason and, if I want to disagree with something, I should be as fully informed as possible. Know thy enemy!

Anyway, just because Vienna shows me the feeds, it doesn’t mean I have to read them, right? Subscribe I did.

Well…

This morning, he had a post about another CommentTracker (myComment) that was released around the same time as coComment, but that slipped through the net of public attention.

If ever there was a lesson in the benefit of getting the A-List on your side, coComment is IT!

Aside from genius viral marketing, now I am aware of the existence of myComment, why am I going to be sticking with coComment?

Well, from what little I can gather from the myComment site, MyCo relies on a plugin installed on the site you are commenting on. If the blog doesn’t have the plugin, then your comment will not be tracked. CoCo on the other hand simply requires the person doing the conversation to have an account.

A subtle difference, to be sure, but the main reason I was drawn to CoCo (and why I expect so many others were as well) is that it tracks all the comments I make, regardless of where they are. *1* MyCo on the other hand will only track comments I make on blogs that have the plugin. What of blogs such as .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com where people can’t install plugins?

Why the onus should be on the commenter, not the host, is a topic for another day. Perhaps it shouldn’t be. Perhaps it really should be up to the host-blogger to make this functionality available to us. But, at the moment, that is impractical. CoCo relies on a much lower level of market saturation to work than MyCo would. Whilst, at the moment, CoCo only tracks comments made by CoCo-registered people, it provides (semi-)automatic logging of all of the conversations you have participated in. I don’t (really) care that CoCo only shows my comments, and a few others, at the moment. I know that it will show a good 95% of the comments I have made across the Web. MyCo, on the other hand, will only supply a partial picture of the comments I make.

For MyCo to work, it needs for more or less the entire Internet to adopt it. For CoCo to work, it just needs me to remember to hit a bookmarklet (or to install a Greasemonkey script and forget about it).

Oh, and because I am dealing with something Scobleizer put me on to, I will deal with something else of his at the same time – congratulations Atariboy for your top-spot. Not that, you know, such rankings are really all that representative. High traffic doesn’t automatically equate to good content. I know blogs with a readership of five that I enjoy reading more than blogs with a readership in the thousands. Still credit where it’s due, Atariboy has some good content. So, I am forced to admit now, does Robert. And there’s no denying that a link from the Scobleizer is worth its weight in Blogosphere-Gold. Mildly ironic. Linking to the chap who knocked him off the top spot is likely to make it harder to get back up… At least for the moment.

It was a nice touch. Done with a certain flair. If I wasn’t feeling all grumpy this morning because I can’t get my hair curly like it was yesterday, I’d be forced to reevaluate my opinions of the afore mentioned Microsoft blogger. But, I’m feeling grumpy, so I don’t have to. Ah, don’t you just love being female and having the excuse of hormones to be nasty?

UPDATE: Pascal points out some potential security flaws with myComment.

Endnotes:
*1*Well, it has the potential to. At the moment it has to be on one of the big-six blogs that CoCo can deal with. Hit that snag this morning with Performancing.com…Back
coComment, comments, conversation, MyComment, Robert Scoble

22 thoughts on “Why CoCo and not MyCo?

  1. Wow Cas, do you get extra motivation from being grumpy because that was a great post and explanation for some very heavy topics. I agree that coComment works for me whereas MyComment is really not any better than the feature that is on some weblogs that allows me to get an email when someone adds a comment to a comment thread that I want more info on (can we say run on sentence?).

    Sorry about the curly hair issue. I have heard many women complain about trying to reproduce that salon look and feel.

  2. Why, thank you Dewayne.
    CoCo does seem to have eaten my content at the moment – I can’t seem to blog/think about anything else.

    I’ve started to get into a good conversation over at Performancing.com about it (ironically enough, a Drupal blog that CoCo doesn’t support!) – http://performancing.com/node/1088 and came up with a new thought, and the thought was this:

    Could CoCo be used to provide some form of reputation or identity for a commenter?

    Part of what puts me off commenting is that, often, I am commenting on a blog for the first time – how is a reader/the blog owner to know that my words have weight? Yes, they could follow my name back to Bright Meadow but what happens if one of my Penguin posts is at the top and not one of my more indepth posts? Heaven forbid, what if the Curly Hair post was the first (and only) post they saw? What impression would that give them of me?

    If they could see all the comments I’d made via CoCo, would it give me more validity in their minds?

  3. Cas -
    Your welcome!

    That is too wild. I was just reading about identity on Identity Woman and then I come back to this comment from you writing about the same topic.

    I have been trying to figure out a way to highlight the posts that visitors to my site have liked in the past. I have found some blogging tools that have the very first section of the post area, like the recent features at Particletree, which would put those “more indepth posts” above the fold so to speak.

    Have you looked at AttentionTrust.org?

  4. Hi I’m Diego from MyComments, I understand your point of view and I want to copy the answer I gave to the post linked in your update paragraph:

    Well, about the comments email hash thing on MyCo, that’s because it’s made by me (Diego Gonzalez) to be used by me and my blogosphere, so there’s some trust in what I do and the potencial users knows that I’m not trying to get there emails.

    The primary milestone here, was to create a very simple tool to get noticed every time someone leaves a comment in a post i’ve all ready commented.

    But meaby you’re right when saying people won’t trust in an unknown service provider getting there emails in a database.. it’s a good lesson ;).

    Besides that, MyComments also has a bookmarlet, the thing is to the day this script is only in Spanish, so you can’t read about it.

    Anyway, I think it’s cool to have more than one alternative, so you can choice the one you like ;)

  5. hi Cas, Hi Diego,
    thanks Cas for your post, it opens an interesting conversation. As you said, by coComment we made the choice to give a tool first to blog readers and commenters and then to blog owners. As I mentioned, we are also working on the blog owner aspects and we will soon give more options to blogs owners to integrate coComment in their pages and choose how they want to welcome their coCommenters :-) http://www.cocomment.com/tools/integrate. We will also very soon relase a new version of the bookmarklet than has more functionalities and will enlarge the number of blogs supported. To integrate coComment into blogs, we are also working on plugins for blogging platforms. Diego – as you said, it’s great to have more than one alternative, but on the other side we both have the same objective: helping people to follow their conversations in the blogosphere (plus Flickr, Digg…). It’s our intention to make coComment a truly open and collaborative effort. If you’re interested, we’d be more than happy to talk about collaborating with you. Let me know what you think and we could have a chat whenever you’re available.

  6. Cas,

    I like where you’re going about coComment giving identity / reputation to commenters.

    I’m still pondering the idea, but expect a blog post in response soon (most likely today).

  7. Dewayne,
    Thanks for those links. My brain is a bit fried right now (and my feet have blisters the size of… very big blisters. Why this should affect my concentration I don’t know, but it does) but rest assured, I will be looking at them tomorrow :)

    Hola Diego,
    I genuinely think if I had seen MyComment first, I might have taken it for a spin. I like the idea behind it. My main reservation is still that it requires there to be a plugin on all the sites I comment on. Take it the next step – say there are five different systems that are all in general use – how is a blog-owner to choose which system to support? Should they support them all? I really don’t know if it should be up to the commenter to keep track of what they say, or the blog-owner to make such tracking easy. A bit of both I think might be the solution.

    Now all we need is to get everyone on the same page, and to decide which system is the best. But, taking into consideration the next comment -

    nicolasD,
    The post was my pleasure, I assure you. I saw the ‘intergrate’ tool mentioned and (I am mildly ashamed to admit it) did do a little happy-dance when I saw it was coming soon. Not soon enough!

    Josh,
    I’m looking forward to the post. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of sharing with people my CoCo page. I got me in mind a nice little extra link, like my gravatar, that follows me from site to site… I don’t want to give up on having my name link back to my blog as is now (becoming) standard though. Hmmm. *starts to ponder*

    *looks at the next comment*
    *falls over flat on her back*
    *blinks*
    *recovers customary grace*

    And hello Robert, welcome to Bright Meadow.
    I’m glad you took the post in the spirit with which it was intended. I posted, then spent the rest of the day thinking I might have been too harsh, but you like my style so all is well and shiny with the world.

    :D

    Right, that’s it for me. As previously mentioned my feet hurt so I’m going to go make flapjacks and then watch Desperate Housewives. Talk amongst yourselves, and play nice now,
    :)

  8. What of blogs such as .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com where people can’t install plugins?

    Hmm … I think myComments has plugins (or sort of) for Blogger, TextPattern and WP so far. Dunno WP.COM …

  9. Cas,

    Gravatar is something that actually came to mind, in regards to how it works. However, I can see handling coComment like that being a bit different. By this I mean:

    Gravatar yanks whatever picture you have for yourself via email address. The blogger puts the plugin on his site, you put a comment up with your email address, the plugin yanks the picture based on the email address.

    coComment could work like this, BUT, abuse of the system may be more difficult to swallow. As far as I know, I can go to a site, put “Cas” as my name, use your email address.. and have your picture show up. It sucks, but in the long run, it doesn’t make a great deal of difference. Gravatars are nifty, but they just don’t have a huge effect on things.

    What about comments though? What if someone went to a site to make a comment, but instead of using their email address, they used yours? Mine? Scoble’s?

    Does that mean if someone clicks on the “see this person’s comments around the web”, they see my comments? Yours? Scoble’s?

    Considering we’re talking about reputation / identity, I think it’s important to consider reputation / identity *theft*, with a system like that.

  10. Pingback: joshteeters.org

  11. Hi Joe -
    The two are similar in that they try to solve the same problem. They just go about it differently. MyCo is possibly even the better named of the two – it does what it says on the tin, in that it tracks the comments I make (or has the potential to). CoCo though… CoCo was well named in that is has a contraction I like. Just rolls of the tongue nicely :D

    Josh -
    you make some good points there. With regards the security issue, you’re getting into the realm of territory that TypeKey tried to cover. I’m not sure of the mechanics because it is something I never really looked into (too few TypeKey enabled blogs), but that seemed to nicely associate the name of the commenter with their reputation etc.

    As you point out, at the moment, there’s nothing to stop me going to a site, typing “josh” and your url into a comment form, using a fake email address, and pretending to comment as you. Requiring an email address would make it one step harder I feel – I’d have to know which email address you’d associated with your comment identity. You have to think though, what would I have to gain from such behavior? Why would the average person do that?

    I hadn’t thought about people gaming the system. I guess I’m just too honest and forget people do things like that! Adding in layers of security, whilst essential if you were aiming for a hard-and-true test of identity, takes away (for me) from the idea of a simple way for the average person to go “this is me, this is what I have said in the past, this is where I said it”. I think one of the reasons TypeKey didn’t take off as it could have is that most people just don’t want that level of security. It isn’t necessary for them. It’s a comment – not state secrets. A quick and dirty solution will do me just fine.

    To be truthful, at the moment I’d be happy with just an added field in the comments form that allows me to add my CoCo address as well as my blog address, then displays it with a small graphic or something.

  12. Cas,

    You’re right in that a person would have nothing to gain, at least directly. However, I suppose if you were trying to harm the person’s name, you could gain by it. i.e., commenting as me, but making really stupid / rude / inflammatory remarks.

    However, coComment has nothing to do with that, really. You can do that now, you could do it before. Comment like you’re me, and you could make me look like an idiot.

    coComment could actually serve as good proof to otherwise. Someone comments as me, saying something inflammatory. IF I find out about it, I could comment, saying, “I’m not sure who that fellow is, but this is me. Here’s other comments I’ve made. I’m not this person above, and the proof is at coComment.”

  13. hia! interesting indeed this comparison between both services has brought me to think about to allow you to customize the way one goes back to the comments. Why do i say this? Because im worried about the fact that after a looong day everyone will end up reading and commenting via almost “plain” RSS like pages lossing all those particular quialities known as typography, color, icons, etc. I think this is one of those new features that the coCo team is in the way to develop.

    “The ability to customize the appearance (eg colors, fonts, etc.) of coComment elements, in order to better suit your tastes and needs”

    a discussion that also funkblogjob began in his blog http://www.funkblogjob.com.ar/?p=315

  14. Ok, I was having a play with the comments form (comments.php and wp-comments-post.php) to see if I could get it to display a person’s CoCo url if they submitted it.

    Sadly, whilst I can get the form to have the added field, I can’t get it to display the cocomment url someone might have used.
    My WP/PHP skills are just not good enough.

    If someone clever out there could work out a way to do it, I would be very grateful!

    Want to have a field on the comment form for “author_cocourl” (or something), then have the comments.php in my theme call the author_cocourl and display it alongside the author_name and the metadata like permalinks and gravatar. It also needs to be able not to throw a hissy fit if someone doesn’t add a coco url, much in the same way that if someone doesn’t submit a website URL, their name just isn’t a permalink, or doesn’t display a gravatar if they don’t have one.

    I even have the pretty little graphic I want displayed (http://brightmeadow.co.uk/wp-content/themes/k2/images/coco.gif), but… no way to display it right now.

    Help!?

  15. Hola Botanik!

    Whilst I’m not too averse to comments etc being in plain-text form in an RSS reader or the like, I can see where you might want to exert some visual identity over the CoCo standard.

    Many thanks for the link. Sadly, I my Spanish skills only stretch as far as being able to count to ten. Badly. I’ll have to set the Cute Canadian on to it… (or any other Minion/Minion-to-be who wants to show off their translation skills).

  16. My forte is German, not Spanish, sorry. :(

    In regards to adding in a box for commenters to put their coComment address – sorry, no idea. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have a vague idea of how it would be done, but my idea of it is far too vague to actually work from.

    Nifty idea though.

  17. Never mind Josh. The world would be rather dull if everyone was good at everything.

    I’ve not given up on the idea of adding the CoCo box to the comment form – I’m going to have a look at it in a bit more depth this weekend. I really don’t like to get beaten by things.

  18. Cas,

    I’m fairly sure that you’ll have to create a new field in your WordPress database, and have the form dump the coComment address into the database for each comment. At least, that’s how all the other info is handled.

    Good luck! If you figure it out, I’m stealing your code. :P

  19. Pingback: Bright Meadow » RSS - I just can’t cope any more

Comments are closed.