A few of the Automattic developers are announcing a new beta program for WordPress.com blogs in which blog owners can enable Intense-debate and Disqus-style e-mail replies to comments on a blog (this blog uses Disqus comments). Such an announcement comes on the heels of Automattic’s purchase of Intense-debate, and according to Joseph Scott (one of the developers), the feature was actually co-written by one of the Intense-debate developers, Jon Fox.
According to the various posts, soon users will be able to comment on WordPress.com blogs, and when they comment, the blog owner will receive notice of the comment via e-mail. The blog owner can then respond straight from the e-mail without having to go back to the website to comment.
This integration seems to be just the first step of Automattic integrating with Intense-Debate. Other competitors that provide similar offerings are Disqus, and JS-Kit. Disqus doesn’t seem to be worried however, claiming that only 5% of Disqus blogs are based on WordPress (I personally, am a big fan of Disqus). Such a unified effort should worry the competitors however – where so many blog owners are now seamlessly integrated into a hosted commenting solution, every reader of those blogs will now also be required to integrate. It will be interesting to see what the response from the competition will be.
The beta is for WordPress.com users only. No word on if self-hosted blogs such as Stay N’ Alive will be provided an update.