IntenseDebate, the enhanced commenting system that was recently acquired by WordPress’s parent company Automattic, has relaunched to the public (the service originally opened its doors in late 2007, but reentered private beta as soon as it was acquired). IntenseDebate has also released the public beta of its WordPress plugin, which includes a number of features that make it much more appealing to blog owners.
The most important feature is two-way comment syncing, which copies all comments left on your blog through IntenseDebate’s system to your WordPress install. One common complaint about early versions of some comment systems, including InstenseDebate and close competitor Disqus, was that comments resided on their servers, leaving blog owners in a bind if they ever chose to discontinue the system. Disqus remedied this issue with their 2.0 release in August and IntenseDebate has done the same with this plugin.
Other new features in the plugin include integration with the WordPress admin panel, search engine-optimized comments, setting and profile sync, and trackback support. WordPress will also start integrating some IntenseDebate features into its standard install beginning with version 2.7, though details on the integration have been scant. And while the service is now owned by Automattic, it continues to offer support other blogging platforms, which actually comprise the majority of the service’s installbase.