ESPN Launches Article Comments
I noticed ESPN launched ESPN Conversations recently.
ESPN Conversations enables logged-in users to comment on an article.
The implementation is smart: only the first five comments are displayed, with a link to the extended discussions that ESPN's passionate audience is sure to generate. Each comment has an "inappropriate" flag and an "ignore this user" button, which is a really smart feature. Would be nice to see permalinks though.
More importantly, this is a sign that ESPN is finally taking larger steps to embrace its audience. I had conversations with several ESPN people three or four years ago about adding story comments, and the prevailing attitude was either arrogance or fear. It's exciting to see that a large media property with an community that's dying to be heard is working to give it a voice rather than fearing it.
Also cool to see ESPN is smart about scaling--they're using community comment policing--rather than stick to the "editorial approves everything" model that is suicide on the web. Looks like the classic argument of "it works for Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon, why not us" finally changed some minds.
To top it off, I bet that ESPN will see an already-high enagement metric jump even higher now that it's even easier to
waste spend time on the site, which will only be good for ad revenue.
Good stuff, ESPN. Now if you could do something about that obnoxious ad that makes it impossible to scan your headlines...