First, the numbers. The Disqus commenting system (which we use on TechCrunch) is now reaching over 200 million people a month, according to their Quantcast data. That means it took them only about 6 months to double traffic. And by that measurement, it makes them the fourth largest U.S. network, with over 95 million of those users based in this country. There are now 500,000 communities and websites using the service. And there are over 18 million profiles and over 160 million conversations across the network.
And so today it’s time for the next step. Currently rolling out across their network, the latest version of Disqus (technically, version 4) brings three key things: a new design/interface, premium add-ons, and a new API.
While many of the features users know and love about Disqus remain intact, the service has given a fresh coat of paint to some areas of the commenting system. The biggest changes here are in the deshboard area which admins and moderators use to control the comments on a site. Things have been cleaned up quite a bit, and the end result is a simplified moderation system. End users will also be able to more easily manage their own comments from here.
The bigger news is the availability of add-ons. It used to be that certain power features were only available to VIP members of the service that paid for it. These were mainly larger blogs (like this one) that needed and/or wanted more data about their comments through tools like analytics. Now Disqus is giving other sites access to these tools bundled together in smaller packages. For example, while VIP service costs $999 a month, you can pay $19 a month for the Plus service at get access to analytics, realtime updating, moderation reports, admin logs, and preferred support.
There is also a Professional package for $199 a month that adds a few things like single sign-on, an advanced theme editor, and partner API access.
Speaking of the API, with this version 4 roll-out, it has been completely redesigned from scratch. It’s still a bit of a work in progress, says co-founder Daniel Ha, but it should be more powerful. In fact, the new Disqus website is running off of it.
This new API will allow people to better integrate the service into mobile apps, allow them to write plug-ins, and eventually be able to even write their own frontend end for the commenting system. Here’s the link to the new API docs, and the new console.