JS-Kit Acquires Commenting System Provider HaloScan

haloscan-js-kitJS-Kit, a provider of Javascript comments, ratings, and poll widgets for blogs, has announced their acquisition of HaloScan, one of the largest hosted comments service providers. This announcement is also coordinated with the launch of several major features. Financial terms were not disclosed.

HaloScan had previously partnered with JS-Kit in January to provide the users of their comment system with “one-click” deployment of JS-Kit’s ratings widget (providing ratings for articles, not ratings for comments). This acquisition will result in an exponential increase of JS-Kit’s customer base, providing new access to over 520,000 participating sites, bringing its total reach to about 550,000 sites. JS-Kit also claims that with this new acquisition, it will be registering 300+ new sites per day. HaloScan’s comment systems will integrate with JS-Kit’s Ratings, Polls, Reviews, Navigator, and Advisor widgets. JS-Kit’s comments also comes with full Akismet spam protection and profanity filters.

Blogger’s original comment system only allowed for comments from other Blogger users, so HaloScan gained popularity early on as an alternative to their innate system. Blogger also recommended it as the system to use for providing Trackback links. It’s seen a drop in usage recently because of temperamental server issues (possibly related to the transition), so hopefully JS-Kit can solve these issues when the transition is complete in 30 days or so.

JS-Kit will leverage its newly acquired users to launch important new features. One of which is the implementation of an open standards-based, portable, user profile. Users will have access to all of the comments made on any JS-Kit participating site through an OpenID login system (pictured below). The portable profile is accessible through a pop-up on the hosting site. This does lend itself to easier discovery, which could possibly help with adoption for new publishers.

Another feature will be easier synchronization with WordPress and Blogger. This could allow for easier adoption by existing blogs, with the automatic import of older comments from either site. In addition to the easier import, JS-Kit will also update a participating blog’s WordPress or Blogger comments when new comments are made in the widget.

This also goes hand-in-hand with another new feature that JS-Kit is implementing, SEO support. JS-Kit now sets up a static page for indexing comment content, which you can host on your server as a sub-domain, so search engines see the content on your site, and not JS-Kit’s.

There is no back end network to JS-Kit like competing comment providers Disqus and Sezwho. Disqus and Sezwho offer social networks based on the comments left in participating blogs, leading to better content discovery. The competition has significantly less users than JS-Kit (reportedly 550,000 participating sites, 8 million users, 80 million comments left), so JS-Kit adding a social network functionality to Haloscan’s already massive user base potentially puts them on top of the market. But Disqus has been gaining a lot of momentum (reporting 20,000 participating blogs), and could give JS-Kit some very real competition.

One major difference is that Disqus uses a proprietary login system, while JS-Kit uses OpenID, which is what the social web is trending towards. To get involved in the Disqus community for a blog, users are directed to the Disqus site, instead of remaining on the blog, like with JS-Kit, which may explain why the Compete graph below shows Disqus gaining so fast on Haloscan. The graph does not count widget users.