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An e-mail was waiting for me when I got home, announcing that [Automattic has acquired Intense Debate](http://www.intensedebate.com/blog/2008/09/23/automattic-acquires-intensedebate/).
For those not familiar with it, [Intense Debat](http://www.intensedebate.com/)e is one of those centralised blog comment services, where you replace your own blog’s comments with a centralised service. The key advantage of this is that a commenter’s activity can be aggregated across blog. The commenter owns her own comments, if you like. Competitor [Disqus](http://disqus.com/) has been getting more attention, but Automattic’s acquisition will push the idea quickly towards the mainstream – and Intense Debate with it. 
Matt Mullenweg has already suggested that they’ll be [integrating Intense Debate into the WordPress core](http://ma.tt/2008/09/intense-debate-goes-automattic/), “as appropriate”, so we’ll rapidly see the concept spreading across the wide world of WordPress blogging.
It’ll be interesting to see how both Disqus – whose primary development has been around WordPress – and Six Apart – who have been showing more and more of a community focus in their products – respond to this.
But I think this is the first step major step towards making centralised commenting identities the mainstream – and default – way of working.