Zemanta Is and Isn’t History

A month ago a closed sticky post in the support forums featured the surprise announcement Zemanta dashboard integration was removed from WordPress.com. Yet some WordPress.com bloggers are still  wondering where suggested related content (images, links, related articles, and tags) in their dashboard went.

zemantaZemanta automatically provided content and was very easy to use. It was and is still available as a Zemanta browser extension with all the same features and I used it long before there was a dashboard version.

Our WordPress developers are working on  incorporating some functionality previously provided by Zemanta.

Related Posts
WordPress.com’s and related posts system will automatically place text links to three related posts from your own blog below the Likes sections of your post.

Tags and Tagging
For assigning the minimum combined number of relevant Categories and Tags to your posts see: Categories, Categories vs Tags, and Tags. Note the reasons for non-appearance of posts on WordPress.com Topics (Tags and Categories) pages. For tips on tagging read Quick Blog Post Tagging Tips.

Images and Media
There are many free sources of images and media: More Sources of Free Images for Blogs and Websites, Free Images for Your Blog or Website,  20 Gov’t Sources of Free Images for Your Blog, Public Domain Images, Finding Free Images and other Media

For history buffs: Aug 17, 2010 was the date of the Jazz Up your Posts With Zemanta announcement that  we had access to related content (images, links, related articles, and tags) in our WordPress.com Dashboards.

Discussion

Did you use Zemanta’s related content (images, links, related articles, and tags?

If you did then have you installed the browser extension?

If you didn’t use Zemanta, why not?

51 thoughts on “Zemanta Is and Isn’t History

  1. Sorry for the confusion. What I mean is that everything shows up in the printout of your post except the words that I listed. I noticed a change on my own posts within the last week or two – as I print out everything. Some of the words were not visible on the printout. But they are visible on the post itself. Hope that helps. Glad to hear that you’re OK with my printing out your post for my reference. ;-)

    1. I don’t have a printer so I cannot test what you mean. My hubby has one and when he’s not busy I’ll try using it to see if I get the same result you did.

  2. Thanks for this, time thief. Another interesting omission is that some of the information – when printed out – is missing. In my tags, for example, my name does not show up on the print out – along with other folks’ names.

    On this post of yours, some info under “Images and Media” is missing: (“There are many free sources of images and media” and “Public Domain Images” do not show up if the post is printed.) What’s up with that?

    1. No one’s name ought to appear in any Tag. Using a personal name as a Tag is viewed as spamdexing or tag spamming by search engines. One’s name is already in the byline.

      I don’t know exactly what you mean about Public Domain images. I don’t provide a print button because I don’t want people to print out my posts. I insert the read more tag into everyone of them to prevent the whole post from being emailed so subscribers. The amount of time I have to waste on chasing down content thieves deters me from providing a print button.

      I don

      1. WordPress had suggested my name as a tag so many times that I started to include it.

        In this post, under the “Images and Media” section, the words “Public Domain Images” are included. But that does not show up if printed out. I was able to print out your post – using Control and P – so I could look up the links on my own time. I have no other plans for that. Sorry. I won’t print your post again.

        1. Judy,
          Know that WordPress.com does not now nor have they ever suggested any Tags. It was Zemanta, a third party service that did that and using your own name is not good SEO practice.

          Do you mean when you click this link to my Images and Media category http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/category/images-and-media/ that all you see is excerpts? Or if you click this category http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/category/public-domain-images/ there are only excerpts? If so that’s intentional.

          Or are you looking for this post?
          http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2011/09/15/copyright-and-public-domain/

          P.S. I don’t mind anyone printing for their own reference. I simply didn’t make it easy for content thieves to steal my stuff and pass it off as theirs.

  3. I used the Zemanta photos a lot, probably too much. They were a crutch for not using my own photos or searching for better ones. Also, I don’t think the Zemanta photos could be used as a featured image. I’m still trying to find time to investigate the list of free photo sources you’ve provided previously. Personally, I think it’s better to find a public domain photo that I can download and then use as a featured image if needed. I love the new WordPress feature linking to three related posts. With the Zemanta articles, I often clicked six or eight of them, and that was too much.

    1. I have seen posts on blogs that had a string of zemanta links below them that made me groan out loud. Apparently bloggers don’t know that links are the currency in the blogosphere and what you ought to select to link to is high quality related posts in high authority blogs that do not have bad neighborhood links in them.

  4. Hi Timethief

    Completely off-topic, but I was browsing your “Basic Blogging” page and clicked on “Blogging: Real Name or Pseudonym?” and it took me to a post on WordPress themes. Thought you’d want to know as your blog is so very well organised.

    Back on-topic. I didn’t know about the browser extension until you wrote about it. I rarely used Zemanta, but it’s nice to have it around for in case. I especially like what you mentioned above about setting the preferences to supply related content from your own site. I might be using that feature quite regularly.

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know about the link. I have fixed it. Why not give the Zemanta browser extension a try and see if you like it or not?

  5. I have no problems with it at all. I think it’s a plus since it sometimes saves me time looking for public domain images. Here’s a funny note about Zemanta, though. I got so used to it always being there that I was pulling my hair out of my head recently because it disappeared and I couldn’t get it back. Frustration. Cursing. And why? You guessed it if you said, “Because you were making a new PAGE – not a post!” Sometimes my enthusiasm gets the best of me!

  6. Thanks so much for that. I have used Zemanta in the past when I didn’t have appropriate photos of my own. I have installed the browser extension and am very pleased to see it back again on my edit post page.

  7. I did use Zemanta for related articles, depending on the nature of my post. I love having my own related articles to encourage traffic around my blog, but depending on the post, it was sometimes more helpful to refer readers to related articles from other sources. (My own “related posts” are usually not directly related because I have so many categories and subcategories.)

    I briefly installed the Zemanta extension but removed it because, since I didn’t use it with every post, I preferred to keep it at the bottom of the right column. With the extension, the Zemanta module was stuck much higher up (therefore more conspicuously) in the column, could not be moved, and worst of all, could not be closed when not in use.

    My own suspicion is that WP’s dropping of Zemanta was related to advertising income and WP page views vs. referrals to external pages. Just a theory. I find virtually all business decisions are $$$-related.

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      The reason I stuck with the Zemanta browser extension is I was able to define my preferences for sources which naturally included my own site. Therefore I had easy and instant access to links to my own related content articles before publishing new ones.

      With the extension, the Zemanta module was stuck much higher up (therefore more conspicuously) in the column, could not be moved, and worst of all, could not be closed when not in use.

      Really? I can collapse the Zemanta module it with a single click using Firefox 26.

      Of course all business decisions are focused on $. We didn’t want to become starving artists but were willing to live a very basic simple life that most consider to be rustic. And, if my hubby and I had not made intelligent decisions based on all available financial information our business would have failed years ago. Then we would have had to work for others again and that has never been our preference.

      WordPress is now a decade old. WordPress ie. Automattic now has a large enough contingent of talented and skilled Staff to lean towards developingtheir own in-house features and functions rather than relying on third parties to provide them. So I think this is a natural evolution.

      1. Hmm, I may have to take another look at the extension. I don’t recall being able to define sources, including one’s own blog. That could really be useful. And I was using it on Chrome. It might be different on Firefox.

        1. Just took another look at the extension. In both Chrome and Firefox, it’s default position is as the second item in the right sidebar. It can be moved but when a new page is loaded, it returns to the second spot. It’s default presentation is open. It can be closed, but when a new page is loaded, it will be open. That makes it more intrusive and less manageable than it was before.

    1. If you want to use it in the future you can install the browser extension.

      P.S. My health is always a roller coaster ride. Today is a good day but who knows what tomorrow will be like? I don’t.

  8. i did use Zemanta and when it disappeared you graciously left a wonderful comment on how to download them back into my blog site. of course, i still need to complete this project, along with all the other blog goals i made. sigh. thanks for another great informative post, TT.

  9. Whatever. It used to be automatic. My last 6 posts have gone without related content and I highly doubt that I’m that original. I’ve got other projects that require my time and don’t know if searching for related content on my own or trying to understand the more complicated process is worth it. Why must people fix what isn’t broken?

    1. It’s not a case of fixing anything as far as I can tell. I think that WordPress developers are working on introducing in house features and functions and that all third party ones will be replaced over time. I also think that the techo world is one where nothing has been, is now, or will ever be frozen in time. That means those who use technology every day as I do have to be resilient.

  10. I used Zemanta and am still upset it is gone. I downloaded the extension, as directed, and I have nothing. It shows up in my computer files, but there is nothing on my blog site to use. I finally uninstalled it. Also, my “Related Posts” don’t remain on the page once published. I understand there are other ways to do these same things, but Zemanta was SO EASY!!

    1. Hi Beverly,
      I don’t understand why that happened to you. If you were running an updated browser version and have both JavaScript and third party cookies enabled the installation is usually a piece of cake.

      If you are not running one of the browsers and versions listed at http://browsehappy.com/ please try upgrading or switching first.

      If you are using an IE browser in compatibility mode please disable that mode. http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/1196-internet-explorer-compatibility-view-turn-off.html

      If you are running one of the browsers and versions listed at http://browsehappy.com/ then
      Make sure that you have both third-party cookies enabled and JavaScript enabled
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/third-party-cookies/
      http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=12654

      I suggest that you make sure those things are in order and then contact Zemanta support if the download doesn’t work for you after that.
      http://support.zemanta.com/

  11. I was not a fan of Zemanta. First, for the most part I prefer to research topics for myself. And second, whenever I used one of their suggestions, I was inundated with spam. So I disconnected from Zemanta and the spam disappeared + I got to explore the www on my own. A win-win scenario.

    1. Hi Ally,
      That’s interesting. I always do my research up front too but when I’m almost ready to publish I check out what Zemanta has available. I haven’t experienced any increase in spam that could be attributed to Zemanta related article inclusions. I check out every recommended post and the site it’s on very carefully before I decide whether or not to backlink to it.

      P.S. Due to your post I’m singing gospel music today.

  12. I did (and do) use Zemanta’s images with many of my posts. I was going to add the plug in, and then something about the install tripped me up…and then there it was, back on the page. I assumed WP brought it back. No? Did I install the plug in without knowing? lol, this is why “one cool site,” I’m terribly backwards when it comes to the tech end! :)

  13. I used Zemanta, and still do, but not the browser extension. I write my blog off-line using Windows Live Writer and there’s a Zemanta plugin which starts with WLW. Zemanta no longer support the plugin and I get a warning that it’s out of date but it still works and does as good a job as the browser or dashboard version.

    I never use the images because I use my own but the links, related articles,and tags are used in nearly every post.

    1. Hi Mike,
      I’m so glad you commented. I do know there’s a very popular WordPress.org plugin but I didn’t know there was a WLW plugin. I hope it keeps working for you.

  14. Thanks for yet another very useful post! I went wild when Zemanta disappeared – I thought WP had bugged. It was only after desperate googling that I discovered WP had simply zapped it. I tried to sign up for other “free” image sites, got lost in their downloading instructions then googled Zemanta, downloaded it the browser extension and have been using again it ever since. I will check out your suggestions of other sources, as I don’t always find what I want with Zemanta. However, it was very disturbing to suddenly find myself without this very handy tool…

    1. The sudden and jarring departure was disturbing. I’m happy to know you have downloaded the browser extension. I always search beyond zemanta before I check out what it provides but I like having it in my toolbox.

  15. I used Zemanta for a little bit, but eventually decided to stop using it. I used it only to find pictures. I never used the browser extension.

    I loved that it let me search for licensed media I could use on my blog. What I didn’t like about it was that it didn’t attribute anything properly. I still had to manually go and update the attributions to meet the licenses marking standards. For that, I still had to go to the media’s page to get that relevant information, so I figured, why not just search for a relevant image on Flickr instead of using Zemanta as a go between. So that’s what I did.

    Great idea, and I was sad to see Zemanta integration go, but I was too picky to use it completely.

    1. Hi Ken,
      Thanks for weighing in on this by sharing your experience. I too tend to be picky but I find zemanta easy to be an easy to a rough filter that also provides related content links to my own posts for me.

  16. What I would like to know is Why did WordPress pull Zemanta, was there a privacy or security issue?

    1. I don’t have a shred of information of any kind and I’m not inclined to wild speculation. As far as I can tell it seems that third party features and functions are going to be replaced with those that are developed in house.

  17. Yes, I was really surprised it disappeared. I used the keyword links to wikipedia, rotten tomatoes, imdb etc. quite a bit, and the related post window was helpful in seeing what similar posts had been written recently. Wonder what happened.

    1. I don’t think we will ever know the true inside story of what happened at the corporate level. However, you can use the browser extension. It’s easy to convert.

    1. Hi there,
      My experience was seamless as I was already using the browser extension. It seems yours was seamless in the other direction. Thanks for weighing in here.

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