I find Blogflux Commentful to be a useful tool for keeping track of comments on posts which I am interested in. That is, I do when it is working properly. But, sadly, that is quite often not the case. I wrote here in January of serious problems which I was having with Commentful, and of the company’s failure to respond to support tickets. Indeed at that time I couldn’t even submit support tickets to them. I came very close to abandoning Commentful for another tool like co.mments (despite the unhelpful requirement at its main site to register even to find out what it is, circumvented by going straight to its wiki). But Jacob, one of the Commentful team, noticed my post and, despite not giving a working e-mail address, quickly sorted out my immediate main problem. So I decided to persist.
But Commentful has continued not to work well. It has never been properly able to track Blogger blogs. On my watclist page it is suppose to list WordPress blogs something like “MetaCatholic » Kirk and Bentley, dog and bone” or “An Open Letter to An Open Theist « New Leaven“, but instead of “»” or “«” I see the symbol “�”, which is a “replacement character” for an invalid character code. (Tip to Commentful staff: you need to copy this text from WordPress as Unicode and not read blog names with a specific code page.) And I would judge that over the last few months at least 10% of the time, often for several hours on end, the service has been down, meaning that I am unable to add new posts to my watchlist or read the watchlist.
More serious problems started about two weeks ago, when Commentful suddenly stopped checking my watchlist for updates. This is something which it is supposed to do every 15 minutes, but it has not done so for at least 15 days. Probably at the same time it stopped updating my personal RSS feed, and I can date this by the time of the last update on that feed according to Bloglines: “Thu, Jul 10 2008 3:47 AM”. I can still add new posts to my watchlist. But the only way I can tell which of them have new comments on them is by opening each of them from the link in the watchlist, which gets very time-consuming.
I reported this latest problem to Blogflux over a week ago, using their online support form, but have had no response and the problem has not been fixed.
Since last time the only way I could get any response from Blogflux was to blog about how full of bugs their product is, I will do this again, in the hope that in this way I can get a response from them. But if this doesn’t get fixed very soon now I will shift to a different product.
Another blogging product which I am getting fed up with is TTLB. I have had their “ecosystem” in my sidebar on and off for some time with the caveat “(but expecting to evolve to something larger when full statistics are picked up for this blog)”. But I have failed to evolve beyond “Crawly Amphibian”, and have recently slipped back to “Flippery Fish”, largely because of a persistent failure of TTLB to pick up more than a handful of the incoming links to my blog. This should be a nice humorous tool, but it is useless if it doesn’t work properly. If my incoming links are not listed soon I will drop it from my sidebar.