Could this be the fix to online commenting we have been waiting for?
While the Internet has opened up new and exciting ways for people from around the world to express their opinions, the commenting apparatus on most websites is far from perfect. Many times, comment sections resemble cesspools of negativity rather than productive discussions, making site moderators’ jobs all that much more frustrating.
Thankfully, startup out of Hungary believes that they have the answer to bring up the level of discourse while allowing visitors to express their viewpoints on all websites, even those without a comment section. Xime-in’s service comes as a plug-in that publishers can add to their site, creating a separate comment section without the need to add one to their own site.
Xime-in was founded in March 2015 by Tamas Kovacs-Bernardt, who serves as the CTO. James Digby is their CEO and Orsolya Dormon helps to lead as a project manager. Currently based in Budapest, they plan on moving to Redwood City during Q2 of this year. They have raised a seed round from angel investors already this year but are still before a major funding round.
Giving a voice to the people
Users of the site can make their voices heard via the mobile apps for iOS and Android or the browser extensions for OS X, Windows or Linux. On the user side, they can use the service for free, without any annoying ads.
Xime-in believes that having an open forum where people can express their natural need to throw in their two cents about any topic under the sun is a positive, and can signal that the publisher cares about their visitors. Kovacs-Bernardt says that when the commentators know that there is a moderator in the conversation, it can lead to a more civil setting for dialogue.
Publishers pay a fee for a subscription to utilize the Website Host Console that gives them important insights about their users’ demographics, location, and social media follower base. The platform allows them to engage directly with their visitors, highlighting what they see as the best posts, and are clearly identified as the moderator.
The company says that they now have around 100 users on their service but are continuing to grow.
Xime-in wants to be the best of both worlds, offering publishers a way to give their visitors a voice while removing much of the responsibility for managing what can often be a chaotic space. As a writer, it is always a good thing to generate dialogue and engagement.
The problem is that comment sections have a way of sullying a page with a lot of hate that publishers would frankly rather avoid. Xime-in gets points here for making the comment section a completely separate entity from the website, viewable only to the users of the service. There is an option for adding a comment button that will let non-members get in on the conversation for that page.
The company says that since they provide an external service, the publishers hold no legal liability for the content on the comment section, a detail that will likely make a lot of websites breathe easier.
The key advantage for the publishers is that they can gain additional analytics about the people who visit their sites and open up new avenues for user engagement. When it comes to brands over news sites, which could be a target market for Xime-in since the platform can be used on all kinds of sites, this can be a very powerful tool for the community manager.
While I am still skeptical about the value of comment sections, the Xime-in team has come up with an interesting idea for making talkbacks a more civil and productive space.