Livefyre is used across all of the CBSSports.com website to allow users to comment on are pages. It exists as a main component on virtually every page on the site that contains sports content. The types of pages include stories written by our editors, special event pages (e.g. Super Bowl), statistics pages, player pages, and team pages. Users can log into Livefyre using their CBSSports.com userid or, for non-registered users, login socially via Twitter or Facebook. It allows us to easily organize our comment structure without the need to maintain a large history of user comments. Each page is assigned a unique "article ID" based on a convention that we designed to fit each page, such that we can easily link the article ID to the piece of content that contains the comment board.
- It's pretty flexible. There were only a few things we found that were too specific to our environment and could not be easily done.
- The out-of-the-box GUI design was decent. It was also configurable with limited custom CSS, anticipating the need for each company to customize the look and feel to suit their own needs.
- Basic interface is good, providing the necessary data points like total comment count. Visual effects are good too, with fade-in effects for new comments.
- They also provide back-end APIs to gather information about the "hottest" threads. We used this to construct our own "Hot Topics" section that could link users to the related article so they could comment themselves.
- Good support, even after implementation. They were always available by phone and even through realtime IM chats direct to their developers, skipping awkward non-technical middlemen.
- Implementation was not easy. Although flexible, I personally wrote at least 1,400 lines of code to get this implemented over a few week's time.
- The social login aspect is cool, but again, hard to implement. They did not write any of those modules, although they could have. This required senior-level developmental skills and a knowledge of how social media is interfaced with programmatically. Lots of questions arose from this and it was difficult to implement with virtually no help from Livefyre, other than to provide the hooks into their system for when users were validated. I had to write at least 2 separate login/redirection scripts to accomplish this flow.
- CSS tweaking was tricky. We could override lots of common CSS classes, but to get things just the way we wanted it, I ended up writing LOTS of jQuery listeners and functions to transform the output into exactly what we wanted. This was a surprise since the software was sold to us as being 'fully customizable'.
- Documentation was sufficient, but not great. Getting the flow of the callbacks that are fired wasn't clear at first, and sometimes did not work as expected.
- It should be noted that, after this review was published, Livefyre contacted me stating they now have better documentation and process for implementation (for version V3, specifically) and urged me to revise this review. However, I can only write of my experience with V2, and it WAS difficult to implement over 3 weeks of dedicated time. Another developer on my team implemented version V3 and his evaluation is very similar to mine, claiming much difficulty with the CSS customization.
- The impact is positive. After its implementation, we have not had to touch the code.
- Our comments section now looks very modern, as many companies on the Internet use Livefyre and are used to its interface.
Since the product has met our needs without having to constantly maintaining it, I'd say the likelihood of keeping our contact up-to-date is very high, especially considering the effort for its implementation.
I was strictly the implementor of Livefyre (for my company only). That task alone was at least 3 weeks worth of work. From a user standpoint, Livefyre is a good product which is why this review is strictly about how difficult it was to implement. Therefore, if a colleague was to ask me if I recommend Livefyre, it's not a straight answer. Questions like, 'how fast do you need it?', 'how centralized is your user database?', 'do you want social login?', all come into question and were details that made my job not easy (hence, my review of 5/10 for suggesting it to others). Once implemented, Livefyre is a great product (notice my overall review is higher), but based on my experience with implementation, it certainly requires a senior developer's dedicated time and patience to set up exactly as desired. For smaller companies with small/simple user bases and websites, the process may be more straightforward, but from my experience, it wasn't out-of-the-box at all.