A website used to be a business card in the beginning… then you could find some web apps (especially e-com sites) that “did something”.

On today’s internet social media has taken off. Most sites that offer up content in one form or another (like sports commentary, news sites, blogs, etc…) tend to want your participation. It’s in the interest of most site owners to somehow spark a conversation on a news article in order to keep you coming back.

I personally find some of the conversations on tech and sports blogs/sites to be quite engaging.

However, I’ve become a bit annoyed at some of these sites. Primary reason? Because they still require me to “sign up” to their site in order to comment.

It’s not really a big deal, in fact it’s a common marketing strategy to have you sign up as a member on their website because it’s a key link to subtly or directly market to you afterwards.

So what’s my problem with it?

Well, my problem is that it’s a “closed” approach and is very “old school”. In order to give my comment and keep me interested, I need to give the site owner something… that being signing up on their site, creating a profile and while that’s not a super big deal I find it cumbersome to think of having to sign up to 20 sites (maybe more, maybe less) that I care to follow…. especially since there have been tools available for quite a while that encourage a much more “open” approach to the social aspect of your website.

Take Disqus for instance.

With a Disqus comment system, I don’t have to sign up for an account on your site. I can use an existing account to comment with thus leaving an identity. This approach, in my opinion, really encourages a conversation. There is no condition on my participation in the discussion, a discussion which I may find entirely useful but might not comment on because I’m forced to sign up for a profile on your site.

I can use my Twitter account, Facebook profile, OpenID, Yahoo account, anonymous comment (which may even further encourage feedback) or I can use a disqus profile. All are, of course, configurable.

Sites like Mashable use Disqus and feature indented replies, comment rating…etc. Feature rich.

Facebook released “Comment Box” which is also a commenting system that ties to your FB account.

It just seems way to “old school” to me to have somewhat of a closed commenting system in today’s social media landscape.