Echo, a comment platform with a strong focus on real-time, has launched the latest addition to its suite of products: the Real-Time River, which allows publishers to tie real-time comments directly into portions of their sites that are typically static. In particular, the new feature allows publishers to add comments to their homepages and ‘top news’ sections, which often feature just headlines and brief excerpts.
You can get a feel for what this looks like on this demo page (an Echofied version of TechCrunch). Comments appear just beneath each excerpt, and flow in in real-time as they’re added to posts. Publishers can choose from a variety of display options: the comment count alone; the comments themselves, and/or other social signals like Diggs and tweets. Echo says that the system supports comments that are entered via Disqus, WordPress, IntenseDebate, and any standard RSS feed of comments.
This could potentially be a pretty powerful tool — while users might normally pass over an article that they’re only mildly interested in, an insightful or contentious comment could catch their eye and lead them to leave a comment of their own. Of course, exposing comments on your homepage always carriers some risk; large publishers will have to stay vigilant to ensure their content isn’t marred by trollish comments.
This release comes only a few weeks after Echo launched its recent comments widget, which allows publishers to display a steam of comments that are being left across their sites.