|Type of business||Private|
|Founded||October 30, 2007
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, U.S.A|
|Key people||Daniel Ha (CEO)
Jason Yan (CTO)
|Slogan(s)||"Discover your community."
"The web's community of communities."
|Alexa rank||593 (March 2016)|
|Launched||October 30, 2007|
Disqus (pronounced discuss) is a worldwide blog comment hosting service for web sites and online communities that use a networked platform. The company's platform includes various features, such as social integration, social networking, user profiles, spam and moderation tools, analytics, email notifications, and mobile commenting. It was founded in 2007 by Daniel Ha and Jason Yan as a Y Combinator startup.
In 2011, Disqus ranked #1 in Quantcast's U.S. networks with 144 million monthly unique U.S. visits. Disqus has been featured on many major publications, such as CNN, The Daily Telegraph, and IGN, and about 750,000 blogs and web sites.
Disqus was first developed in the summer of 2007 as a Y Combinator startup headed by Daniel Ha and Jason Yan, who were undergraduates at the University of California, Davis. Disqus was first incorporated and launched on October 30, 2007.
According to a study by Lijit, Disqus was used by 75% of websites in March 2011 who used a third-party commenting or discussion system.
In November 2010 Disqus began officially offering three add-on packages for web sites: Plus for $19/month, Pro for $199/month, and VIP starting at $999/month. In mid-2011, the Plus package was removed and Pro was increased to $299/month.
Starting July 2012, Disqus offered just two premium packages, the VIP package and a single-sign-on-only package for $99/month.
Premium packages were quietly phased out beginning March 2013.
On January 4, 2017 Disqus announced new premium packages rolling out in March 2017. A later blog post clarified that over 95% of sites using Disqus, mostly personal blogs and non-commercial sites, will be unaffected by the new premium model. While pricing was not officially announced, Disqus support describes three paid tiers:
Both the Disqus site and comment system were translated into more than sixty languages in 2011. With the introduction of the new Disqus in 2012, language support dropped to seven languages and even though Disqus accepts applications for new languages, only one has been added since bringing the current number of supported languages to eight as of 2013 .
||This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (November 2012)|
As with other embedded web widgets, such as like buttons, the Disqus widget acts as a web bug which tracks a user's activities, even when they are not logged in, across different sites that use the Disqus commenting system. Information tracked by Disqus, which may be disclosed to third parties, includes pseudonymous analytics data, such as a user's IP address, their web browser version and installed add-ons, and their referring pages and exit links. Although these data are referred to by Disqus as "Non-Personally Identifiable Information", such data, when aggregated, has been shown to be usable for de-anonymizing users.
Disqus has also been criticized for publishing its registered users' entire commenting histories, along with a list of connected blogs and services, on the publicly viewable user profile pages. The option to keep profile activity private was later added.
Users wishing to avoid these issues may opt to install a privacy-enhancing web browser extension, such as Ghostery, NoScript, or DoNotTrackMe, which identify widgets such as Disqus as web bugs, and allow them to be blocked; this renders Disqus-powered commenting sections unviewable.
Disqus does not moderate communities which use its service, leading to controversial moderation in some communities. Disqus only intervenes when the Terms of Service have been violated, leading to criticisms that Disqus allows racist and otherwise offensive content to be created on the platform.
Disqus also was criticized for not giving users control over who follows them. Prior to 2014, any user could follow any other user, but a user being followed could not control or block who was following them, which led to harassment among some users.
If Disqus shuts down, hundreds of millions of comments would be wiped away from a wide range of sites, since by the very nature of the service, comment content is not being managed locally by sites implementing the service. However, it is possible for site administrators to export all of their comments as an XML document which can then be ported into other commenting systems.
In 2013 a Swedish group called Researchgruppen obtained and exposed a large number of anonymous Disqus identities through the application programming interface (API). The group cooperated with the Bonnier tabloid Expressen, who subsequently visited some of the commentators in their homes, confronting them with allegedly racist, misogynic, and derogatory sentiments. Researchgruppen, which includes people from the far left, said their database contained millions of comments from Disqus users around the world who are at risk of de-anonymization. In March 2014, Expressen and Researchgruppen won the investigative reporting award Guldspaden.
For years, the Disqus user interface showed logged-on users an Edit button and a dropdown menu containing a Delete button next to each of their own posted comments. If the user clicked Delete and then a simple confirmation, their comment disappeared from the page. But, upon refresh of the page, the comment was still there, credited to Guest. Instead of deleting their comment, Disqus "anonymized" their comment, immortalized the body of their comment, and hid those actions in the short term. The user forever lost the ability to edit or delete the comment, with no warning of what was actually about to happen. To effect true deletion of a comment, the user had to first Edit the comment to remove the undesired content, and then (optionally) use the "Delete" button to anonymize it. But users only learned of the failure to delete after the fact (if at all). Their only recourse was to flag the comment and/or contact the moderator of the host web site and ask them to delete the comment, though many sites' moderators are invisible or non-existent.
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