“Given URL is not allowed by the Application configuration.”
Last night, these nine words were giving me the biggest headache I’d had since slamming my head against the ceiling of my friend’s Mustang a couple weeks ago after we had gone over a particularly large bump in the road.
Initially, I thought this was an error message that was popping up on just a couple posts – namely my last two study music features, 22 More Awesome Study Albums and 50 Killer Album Interludes. The message was laying on top of the content, which screwed up my embedded Grooveshark playlists and made the text it sat on top of hard to read.
A quick google search revealed that most people dealing with this error were getting it while developing Facebook applications. This finding made my stomach sink a little – “I’m having this problem with WordPress, not Facebook,” I thought dejectedly. So, with seemingly nothing to go on, I started pulling certain elements out of my content to see if the culprit was something like having too many links or pictures in a post.
Then, on a whim, I decided to do a CTRL+F on another post that didn’t display the error to see if it was hiding somewhere. Lo and behold, it in fact was hiding on every single post. At this point, I started to suspect that my problem actually was a Facebook problem. So I started looking for things on the site that interfaced with Facebook. I disabled the Like button on the sidebar – no change. I disabled the ShareBar that sits at the bottom of the screen – still no change. At that point, I thought I was screwed. I couldn’t think of anything else on the site that used Facebook.
Then it hit me – the Disqus commenting system I installed some months ago gave users the option of logging in with their Facebook profile. So, cleverly utilizing the scientific method, I disabled Disqus. Error message gone!
At this point, I faced a dilemma. I’m really not a fan of the default WordPress commenting system, and I loved Disqus. My Disqus profile has over 200 comments tied to it on multiple sites, and I really like how the system basically builds a social network out of blog comments. I had used IntenseDebate in the past, but I really didn’t like it.
That’s when I happened upon LiveFyre. The system is billed as an alternative to Disqus and IntenseDebate, and I wondered if it would play nice with my blog and not generate annoying errors. So I installed it, and was satisfied to see that it generated no errors.
I then went off to the four corners of the Interwebz in search of other opinions on LiveFyre. I found out that a good number of blogs are now using it, including The Next Web. I learned that LiveFyre actually has a leg up on the competition, as it lets you tag your friends in your comments.
This was huge to me. The ability to tag friends from other social networks in comments is something that’s likely to create a much more discussion-oriented comment experience, and will hopefully get people to engage with each other a lot more.
Now, inevitably, some people will get angry about a big change like this. Indeed, one drawback of LiveFyre that isn’t present in Disqus is the requirement to log in if you’d like to comment (Disqus lets you log in, but also lets you comment as a guest). However, LiveFyre makes logging in very easy – you can use your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google account to log in, and Gravatar support is included.
The really nice thing about this is, once you’re logged in, you stay logged in and can comment on any blog using LiveFyre with your account. You can easily have discussions on multiple sites using one nicely integrated and centralized identity. As a blog that heavily promotes both personal branding and efficiency through technology, this is a feature we love and want to have.
Like Disqus, LiveFyre also gives you a profile that’s tied to your comments. Using this, other people can see the other blogs you comment on and connect with you via the social networks you choose to share.
Other social networking features are nicely integrated; as I noted earlier you can actually tag your friends from other social networks in your comments. For example, you can tag a friend on Twitter simply by adding “@username” – as soon as you start typing, the system will give you a list of friends you can search through and select (as long as you’re logged into Twitter).
Once you post your comment, LiveFyre gives you the option of notifying your tagged friends that you’ve mentioned them. This is a great way to share content you’re interested in and start discussions.
All in all, I’m really happy with LiveFyre so far. It looks really nice on the blog, doesn’t generate errors, isn’t blocked at my work, and has some really cool features.
If you’re a regular commenter, try it out and let us know what you think. If you’re here for the first time, I invite you to throw in your opinion and join the discussion!