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Voice blog comments?

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Friday August 4, 2006 )

Here’s an interesting idea – haven’t struck it before. I stumbled across a blog today that gave readers the opportunity to leave a comment via voice; and their comments were then made available for others to listen to.

This might greatly appeal to blog readers who have a lengthy and involved view on a post, but aren’t crash hot on the keyboard.

UPDATE August 28 – If you’re interested in experimenting with voice comments, I’ve just posted up some details of a free voice comment plugin service that can be used with blogs.

It would also encourage voice spammers and I guess some of the more colorful characters in our society :).

Unfortunately, I’ve lost the URL where I saw this implemented, but if you would like to experiment with the idea, basic functionality for voice comments for blogs could be easily/cheaply set up if you have SkypeIn (or another similar VOIP service).

It would definitely be a little time consuming in processing the comments – not anywhere near as quick as clicking the “approve comment” button ;). I’m not suggesting that this replace written comments, just a nice little feature to perhaps generate more interest in your blog – a dash of buzz.

If you have SkypeIn, I suggest renting an extra inbound phone number from Skype for the experiment, it’s only a few bucks a month; then set up a voicemail greeting; something along the lines of:

“Hello, thanks for calling X, if you’d like to leave a voice comment to be published on the X blog, please leave your first name, the post you’re commenting on and your comment after the tone. We appreciate your input!”

Place the phone number for people to call at the end of your post and the recorded comments will then appear in your Skype Voicemail.

From there, you can record the voicemails onto your system using something as simple as the Windows Sound Recorder. If it’s not on your Start menu:

– Click Start
– Click Run
– Type sndrec32.exe

That should fire it up.

Then simply hit record (the red button), play the voicemail through your speakers and stop the recording when it’s done. Then save the file as a .mp3 by selecting “change” once you select “save as” on the Windows sound recorder – you’ll see the mp3 option on the “format” dropdown box.

You’ll then need to embed a player on your page and include your comment files for playback. Something like Flash MP3 Player 2.3 (free) should do the job. There are also links to blog plugins available from the site.

OK, it’s all a little clunky. I’m sure there’s a better way of going about it and automating the process – that’s for you to research if you find it’s a useful feature on your blog ;).

Bear in mind though that search engines cannot spider voice comments – and comments are very valuable fodder for search engines. The people who leave a voice comment won’t get the opportunity of a little link love through leaving their URL’s as they do with a written comment.

Also, many people probably prefer to read comments rather than listen to them; I know I do – so I mention this idea mainly for the whooo! factor it might generate for you.

Anyway, I hope someone finds this idea of value; let me know if you do implement it, I’d love to take a look!

Related article:

Free blog voice comment plugin – review

Learn more about VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)


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