exploring-blog-audio-comments-hd

In a previous post, I wrote about 10 creative ways to use Drop.io. Drop.io is a free online file sharing/collaboration service.

One of the ideas was using Drop.io’s voicemail as a way to let visitors leave audio comments.

Audio Blog Comments—A New Idea?

sound wavesShort answer, no.

The idea of audio comments isn’t new.

Paul Boag, of the excellent Boagworld, allows (or allowed–can’t seem to find it now) visitors to post audio comments. Paul also has posted audio responses to text comments on some of his posts (via AudioBoo).

This is logical because of the podcasts they publish. Audio comments could be used in future podcasts.

People could record a message to MP3 and then save it to their computer. Boagworld gave visitors an option to upload the saved MP3 file to their site right from the comments section.

This is a nice idea, but unless you’re really motivated, you’re probably not going to go through the hassle of doing all this just to leave a comment.

Easier Audio Comments By Phone With Drop.io

So far, I haven’t really found any sites implementing audio comments on their site besides Boagworld (though I’m almost certain to be proved wrong ;) ).

How could you make it easier for visitors to leave audio comments on your blog?

Every drop you create with Drop.io has its own phone number and extension.

The simplest idea would be to create a drop, then place the phone number and extension at the end of the post or right in the Leave a Comment section.

Visitors will find this to be fairly easy:

  1. Simply dial the drop’s phone number from any phone
  2. Type in the extension at the prompt
  3. Start talking and hang up when finished

Since all comments are automatically converted to MP3 by Drop.io, a lot of comments could be left on a 100MB drop.

Site Admins

For site/blog admins, email alerts can be setup in Drop.io. When new audio comments are left, the admin knows within seconds.

  1. The site admin can listen to the message
  2. Copy the embed code for the MP3 from Drop.io
  3. Create a new comment on the blog post
  4. Paste the embed code into the comment

Using the embed code allows a player to be added right in the comment itself so others can listen to the comment right on your blog without the need to download the file or go to Drop.io to listen to it.

Another option could be to set Drop.io to tweet links to the audio comments to your Twitter account. Though this is automatic, so you wouldn’t have any control over the comments and couldn’t really moderate them.

See It in Action

How does it work? You can see hear it in action, by going down to the end of this post to the comments section and listening to my sample audio comment.

You can also try it out for yourself—Leave us an audio comment—call this blog post: (646) 495-9246 ex: 62621

Pros

  • Setting up a new Drop.io account is a piece of cake and takes practically no time
  • Simple to implement on your existing blog
  • Dead-simple for visitors, which means they’re more likely to leave audio comments
  • Most people have mobile phones with free long distance, so the call would cost nothing

Cons

  • Only useful if most of your visitors are from the United States. The drop’s phone number is a New York number
  • If the phone number or extension is mis-dialed, the comment will either be lost
  • No option for the commenter to redo or delete an audio comment once they start
  • More work for site admins since they will have to listen to each message and manually add the link to a comment
  • No easy way for people to add a link to their site or email address in their audio comments

Actually, Drop.io has an API that could be used to automate a lot of these things. Maybe set up a button similar to a Google Voice call widget?

It would require more work for the site/blog owner to initially set this up. But it would also make it easier for people and easier for themselves in the long run.

Other Ways To Add Audio Comments to Your Blog

The Drop.io option is an easy way for people to record their audio comments even if they don’t have a mic handy.

Here are some other options for adding audio comments to your blog.

  • Riffly–Free online service for adding audio comments to your blog. There’s also a Riffly WordPress plugin to make adding it to your blog even easier. There’s a Drupal plugin too.
  • Wagwire–Paid voicemail service that can be used for audio comments and feedback. There’s a dialing widget available as well.

Pros

  • Specifically designed for audio comments
  • More automated that the Drop.io option
  • Both of the above services offer either plugins or widgets, so adding them to your site is pretty hassle-free

Cons

  • Visitors must have a microphone
  • What if the service goes belly-up? Do you have the option to download the MP3s to your computer like you do with Drop.io.

Suggestions?

Have you implemented audio comments on your site, or do you know of sites that do?

Have a better solution for audio comments?

Tell us about it in the comments.

Better yet, leave us an audio comment—call this blog post: (646) 495-9246 ex: 62621

Note: This is a New York number. Long distance fees may apply.

Have fun!

Photo credits: Silver Microphone Near Laptop by Yevgen Timashov. Sound Waves Oscillating by clearviewstock. Stock photos from Shutterstock.

Similar Posts: