(Update: Look at the end of the review for a Greasemonkey script for coComment)
(Update: View the follow-up post for a new Greasemonkey script.)
Tracking comments that you make at a blog has always been a hassle. The way I usually do it is by making a comment and then bookmark the article with a tag of “comment.” It has worked for me, but obviously does not provide much information and does not notify me of replies. But now there is a new service that has been causing quite a stir in the blogosphere called, coComment. Robert Scoble seems love it and TechCrunch likes the core idea of it. coComment is a free service, currently in private beta, that lets you track comments that you or others leave on blogs that you have commented on.
The way it works is very simple. When you signup to coComment, you are given a bookmarklet that you are asked to add to your browser. Then, the next time you come across a blog post that you want to comment on, click on the bookmarklet before commenting. You will then see coComment logo and your username come up next to the submit button of the comment form to show that it has been enabled (clicking on it will show information about coComment). Click on submit and you will see a message saying that coComment has processed the comment and added it to your conversation page. That’s all to it. The only hassle now is remembering to click on the bookmarklet before making a comment! But if you do, don’t panic, there is a way to track it! According to the Help section of coComment, you can simply highlight the text of your comment and click the bookmarklet. It will then automatically try to pick it up and track it.
Once you have used coComment to track comments on a blog, you will then be able to track it in the “Your Conversations” section. The conversations section will show a list of every post that you have used coComment on. If a new comment has been made by either you or a different coComment user, the title will show up bold. You then click on a title and you will see a list of all of the comments that have made along with the name of the commenter, the comment, and the date the comment was made. It functions much like Gmail’s email conversation method of displaying replies to emails. The only downfall is that you can only track comments left by other coComment users, but that is understandable because it can’t possible track everyone’s blog, unless blogs can setup some kind of comment ping system sending a message to coComment when a comment has been made. But then again, the plus side to it is you won’t receive comment spam in coComment because it is only from coComment users.
coComment also has some other features that are very interesting as well as some features that are still in the making. One feature that I like is sharing. When you are logged into coComment, you will find a section called, “Share.” You will then see a panel on the right side asking for some appearance information and when submitted, it will generate a script that you can include on your site that shows your latest comments and comments from others on sites you left comments on. You can customize it with CSS, show only your comments or others comments, and even limit the amount of posts shown. Stick it in your blogs sidebar to let others see your commenting activity. Something else that I liked at coComment was how you can view other active commenters and latest blogs that have been commented on in a nice presentable format as tag clouds.
Finally there is an easy way to keep up with blogs that I leave comments on. I agree with Scoble that this service should be very popular with bloggers once it has been released. It isn’t even out of private beta yet and is already causing a lot of discussion. Great job to the coComment team.
Update: It just occurred to me that one could easily create a Greasemonkey script for Firefox that will enable coComment if a comment form has been detected. So, I decided to make one quickly! It is very simple.
I’ve got it working for WordPress, TypePad, Blogger, MSN Spaces, and Xanga. Let me know if you run into any problems and I’ll try to fix it. But, as I browse to various blogs, it seems to be working.
Update: Updated above comment as I have added support for more blogging platforms to work with the Greasemonkey script. Enjoy!
Update: To answer some questions in the comments below. No, you do not need to update the bookmarklet or the Greasemonkey User-Script if coComment has been updated. Both scripts call a specific coComment file that performs the core functionality.
But, if coComment adds more support for blog platforms, make sure to check back here for updates on the GreaseMonkey script because the script has to check for supported platforms in order to be enabled. If anyone wants to help out as well, just let me know. I hear they are working on Flickr support now which I will try shortly.
Also, some of you have been commenting and not seeing your comments appear below. This is because of the comment spam blocker, Akismet, has been blocking some of your comments. Just give me some time to mark them as not being spam. Thanks for your patience!