E-comments are submitted to an agency or company through an input box on a web page built specifically to solicit those comments and stored in a database for evaluation and/or review and response. Unlike written or emailed comments, which are stored as separate entities and must be manually organized, electronic comments can be sorted, analyzed and responded to through a software solution, and are considered the most efficient method of written dialogue in the commercial or regulatory realm.
Electronic comments are perhaps most commonly submitted in response to a blog or article, but are also used by agencies and companies to solicit information or opinions from the public about their services or a proposed project or course of action.
Because their data can be easily mined for information or trends, electronic comments have become the preferred method of interfacing with customers for many businesses and governmental bodies. Many regulatory agencies, however, continue to rely on email or letter-based methods of communication, due to reluctance to change their internal processes or claiming a lack of access to adequate technology. This persists despite urging and lawsuits from citizen groups that claim all regulatory agencies should offer electronic comments to the community as a matter of responsive and engaged governance.