How a Q&A Session Saw Livefyre Change the Game for Blog Comment Systems

Livefyre comments system

Two days ago, I watched something very cool happen on this blog.

Using the Livefyre comments system as the platform, and the always awesome David Siteman Garland as the sacrificial guinea pig (or bunny!), I carried out an experiment on where I see the true strength of blogs – the comment section.

Because Livefyre is a real-time comments system, it’s more like a chat function as opposed to your standard comment options (whether core comments or other third-party systems). You get live updates, new comment alerts, real-time chat functions and much more. Think of it as comments on steroids (thanks, Philip!).

So what was the experiment, and why was it so cool?

Seeing the potential of Livefyre (I’ve been using it for about three months now), I wanted to show just how interactive both it, and the blog comments the system powers, could be. And what better way than a live, real-time Q&A with one of the most lively and passionate guys on the web?

So that’s exactly what happened.

Formatted like a chat show but with the questions and answers via blog comments, the experiment saw David come online for an hour and answer any questions asked of him in the comments of the blog post.

These answers included following your passion to start a business, making that business a success, building your online presence, being a trusted resource and how to gain collateral and support for your non-profit.

It was uncharted waters for blog comments, and could have been an unholy mess. But I think it’s safe to say that, instead, it was a huge success.

With Livefyre rocking the comment updates and alerts, as well as David knocking it out the park with the speed of his response, it showed what the future of blog comments is.

  • True real-time alerts and updates.
  • Instant back-and-forth interaction.
  • Interview-style conversations.
  • Social integration, with the ability to invite friends from Facebook and Twitter into the conversation.

Not only that, but it showed just how well a system like Livefyre complements the blogging experience. It encourages dialogue, and showed that – even in beta – it’s the most interactive comment system around. Basically, Livefyre is what blog comments were built for.

Twitter impressions for Livefyre experiment

It also showed it could handle a ton of calls to its service. During the Q&A session, which lasted just over an hour, the following numbers are indicative of how successful Livefyre and David were at showing the system off:

  • An average of three comments per minute coming into the post.
  • Just under 200 comments in the space of 70 minutes.
  • A constant of 60+ people in the Q&A at any given time.
  • 292,500 impressions on Twitter for the experiment.
  • 5,310 impressions on my Facebook Page.
  • 1,015 page views in 70 minutes from Google Analytics.

The post is also continuing to grab interest after the event, from the very positive feedback that was generated both in the comments section on the day, and online (Facebook, Twitter, email) from people that either attended the Q&A on the day, or simply watched the instant updates and alerts as they came through.

For a comment system on a blog to generate so much activity and interaction speaks volumes, both of the system itself and obviously the guest that made it such a blast. My thanks to both David Siteman Garland and Livefyre, for showing that blog comments can be as real-time as Twitter and as valuable as a great business seminar.

Somehow, I don’t think I’ll look at blog comments in the same light ever again.

As part of the experiment, David provided two signed copies of his book for the best questions. The first one goes to Genevieve Lachance for this question, and Philip Nowak for this one. I’ll be in touch soon for your mailing addresses!

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50 Comments

  1. jennalanger December 10, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Wow, thanks for including those metrics! I had a blast participating in the Q&A. This is just one example of utilizing what Livefyre has to offer. Can’t wait for all the future experiments we’ll come up with!

  2. ben December 10, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Wow, Danny. Great numbers. It’s so fun just to get people talking and learning.

  3. DavidSpinks December 10, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Very interesting results. Love the livefyre system. Have it installed on my blog already.

    Perhaps we should test out a u30pro chat using livefyre… Wait, @jennalanger didn’t you mention something like that a while back?

  4. DavidSpinks December 10, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Actually have a thought. Do you think that this format may put a lot of pressure on the person being asked questions? On twitter or other chat platforms, they can kind of pick and choose the questions they want to answer. On livefyre, it’s very easy to see which questions went unanswered and so there may be more pressure to answer every one.

    • DannyBrown December 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm

      @DavidSpinks I think that makes it more fun, mate :)

      therisetothetop (David) did a bang-on job of answering pretty much all the questions asked. Additionally, you then have the option of going back after the event and answering any missed, so offering more value than a Twitter chat (at least from an answered question angle).

    • JMattHicks December 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm

      @DannyBrown @DavidSpinks therisetothetop I second Danny’s sentiments. It definitely adds pressure on the person being interviewed, but watching somebody handle that pressure in real-time so seamlessly contributes to the trust and respect that person already garners.

    • DavidSpinks December 10, 2010 at 7:18 pm

      @DannyBrown therisetothetop The option of going back and responding is a great point.

    • DavidSitemanGarland December 11, 2010 at 12:01 am

      @DavidSpinks @DannyBrown therisetothetop In fact, David..I have to go back and respond to a few more :)

  5. ariherzog December 10, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    I don’t understand. What did Livefyre do?

    • DannyBrown December 10, 2010 at 7:52 pm

      @ariherzog Facilitated an instantaneous live Q&A. Think of a townhall debate for politics, swap to a blog comment system and see an entrepreneur offering help to people needing answers, and you start to get the picture.

    • JohnHaydon December 11, 2010 at 9:38 am

      @DannyBrown @ariherzog Danny – doesn’t the fact that you scheduled the chat to take place play a role in these results? If I used DISQUS is the same manner, how would my results compare to LiveFyre?

    • DannyBrown December 11, 2010 at 9:55 am

      @JohnHaydon @ariherzog Yes, although it’s no different from scheduling a Twitter chat or a charity how-to webinar – people would still have to be interested enough to show up.

      You also wouldn’t get the instant ability to bring people into the Q&A from the likes of Twitter or Facebook, by using the “@” mention (much like using it in front of your Facebook profile john haydon ) straight from the comment system, as opposed to having to link directly.

      Looks like the true “real-time” updating on Disqus isn’t part of the free solution (though I could be wrong):

      http://disqus.com/addons/

    • JohnHaydon December 11, 2010 at 10:37 am

      @DannyBrown How much is LiveFyre each month?

    • DannyBrown December 11, 2010 at 10:52 am

      @JohnHaydon Free. There are Publisher and White Label versions, but the Blogger version is free.

    • JohnHaydon December 11, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      @DannyBrown Just signed up for the beta… πŸ˜‰

    • DannyBrown December 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      @JohnHaydon Nice – be interesting to see how it compares to Disqus, and looking forward to seeing some of the non-profit ideas you could run with it, mate. :)

  6. geoffliving December 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I like LiveFyre, and have applied to get the beta. It’s pretty cool!

  7. DavidSitemanGarland December 11, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Danny and everyone – It was a blast being involved. Sure, I had to have quick fingers, but it was awesome.

  8. JonHearty December 11, 2010 at 12:07 am

    This is a preview of the future. Thanks for sharing the numbers, dannybrown ! I’m excited to see this in action again (and hopefully I won’t miss this one!).

    • DannyBrown December 11, 2010 at 12:13 am

      @JonHearty How do we top @DavidSitemanGarland and his Flying Fingers, though? πŸ˜‰

      Here’s to livefyre continuing to grow and leading the way for real-time, real live comments. :)

  9. Justicewordlaw December 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Wow this is how the future of blogging and commenting is going to be. That was a really great blogging experiement and happy to see more come as well. @DannyBrown did a really great post and experiement. –

  10. MarketingHits December 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Danny thanks for testing this out. I can see so many uses for this type of commenting system. BTW ordered David’s new book should be a great read.

    • DannyBrown December 11, 2010 at 1:39 pm

      @MarketingHits Agree, mate. Yes, blog comments are (possibly) Livefyre’s core function, but it’s clear there are a ton of possibilities. Imagine having a Ustream video debate embedded into your blog, and Livefyre powering questions from the audience?

      Or a non-profit call-to-action where donors can ask questions in the comments of a charity blog, and have a representative of the charity on hand to answer them? Or news anchors on media sites, etc?

      Seems there are a ton of possibilities with Livefyre that (so far) I haven’t seen on other third-party systems. Cool stuff!

      Reading @DavidSitemanGarland ‘s book now, loving it – written EXACTLY the same as how he speaks, and one of the more entertaining books I’ve read in a while. :)

  11. GrantGriffiths December 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Danny – i watched this happen and was amazed. Going to have to give it a try myself on BFP. Livefyre is an amazing blogging and communication tool more need to be using too.

  12. PhilipNowak December 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Hey Danny! Thanks for the mention. I enjoyed being a part of your real-time chat session with @DavidSitemanGarland . @livefyre is impressing me more and more each day. Although it certainly has its quirks, it’s nice to be an early adopter and watch the product evolve as users make suggestions over time.

    • DannyBrown December 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm

      @PhilipNowak @DavidSitemanGarland @livefyre Cheers, mate, glad you were part of it. Agreed, still some quirks to be worked out, though nice to see Livefyre working on them as they get feedback from the beta community.

      Really looking forward to seeing the new features they’ve mentioned being implemented soon, too – true social interaction and bringing in readers of topics you’re talking about from clever search? Count me in! :)

  13. GenevieveLachance December 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Wow, so excited to read David’s new book! What a great Christmas gift!! Thank you to the both of you, it was a blast to participate and learn a little more about David Siteman Garland and get some valuable tips from such a pro!

  14. HowieSPM December 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Nothing beats tests and objective studies of technology and how they get used to determine the true value and utility.

    I actually blogged about Disqus and Livefyre outlasting Twitter and Facebook a month or so ago. These systems can be implemented across all websites which means actually better monetization prospects (but I recommend subscription vs ad based model). So I put them in the category of network infrastructure.

    Though curious how you come up with the Twitter and Facebook impressions since to me those tendto be very hard to estimate. But knowing you I doubt they are inflated. More likely underestimated.

    • JMattHicks December 14, 2010 at 6:05 pm

      @HowieSPM I always appreciate what you have to say on any topic because everything you say is always firmly grounded in fact/backed with facts and I truly appreciate that.

    • HowieSPM December 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      @JMattHicks damn dude! Thank you flattered sincerely. You make a great product just get that editing thing in place and your golden! BTW I am pretty sure Danny can afford at least $7-8mil a month for the service. (ok not all my facts are correct hehe)

    • DannyBrown December 14, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      @HowieSPM
      I think Livefyre has some premium services for both publishers and white label versions, mate. And I can see some cool opps for sponsored conversations (much like the Q&A) but for brand product launches.

      For the Twitter impressions, I used TweetReach – http://tweetreach.com – although this was just for 50 tweets. The post in question had more than 70 tweets (via Tweetmeme) so reach would have been more.

      For the Facebook impressions, I used the stats provided by Facebook Page Insights. This shows how many impressions come from a shared link. But this was just from my own Facebook Page – like you point out, there are probably more still from others sharing the link on their Pages/profiles, for which I don’t have access to that info.

    • JMattHicks December 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      @HowieSPM we appreciate your kind words and constant quality contributions to the community. Plus, the fact that you’ve been gaining points like a mad man means you can join us in the race to catch up to @DannyBrown ! πŸ˜‰

    • DannyBrown December 16, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      @JMattHicks @HowieSPM HEY!!! It’s that gini dietrich we all need to be watching…

  15. Danny April 29, 2011 at 12:54 am

    From my understanding, it’s only using the services to allow your log-in and to bring your friends into the conversation.

    On Twitter it only allows the Oauth service that every other third-party service users, which doesn’t store anything.

    On Facebook, it would access only what you allow it to. Again, you don’t need to use this option to get all that Livefyre has to offer.

    Of course, I don’t work for Livefyre so this is only my understanding. And you don’t need to comment using Twitter or Facebook – you can use a standard Livefyre account, and they’ve since added LinkedIn and Google.

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