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Technology Review: How Zemanta screwed up a good thing
By Ray Hanania
Zemanta used to be one of the most essential services for WordPress news sites. They offered not only a great selection of public domain images that could easily be inserted into a story, but that also offered links to similar stories.
Well, the links to similar stories work but Zemanta has allowed success to go to its head, destroying the benefits that they once offered to writers and columnists who depended on them for graphic and image support.
Here’s the problem. Zemanta cut a deal with Getty Images, the worldwide source of photographs to many major news media. It gives Zemanta a lot of credibility to partner with them and to allow blog and online news writers to use those images int heir posts.
The problem is Getty Images don’t work. I’ll say it again, they don’t work.
You can insert a Getty Image into your post but you can’t align it. You can flush it left or flush it right so that text wraps around it. The image is grabbed from another online location controlled by Getty Images so you can’t download it and re-insert it so it formats properly, either.
Worse is this fact.
In the past, you could insert an image both into your post AND MORE IMPORTANTLY designate it to be the FEATURED IMAGE so that a thumbnail of the image displays on the front page of WordPress web site Themes.
The front page of a web site REQUIRES good images along with good writing to attract readers. But, if you can’t insert an image into the tease on the front page, which then links to the full story “inside,” then your site is a failure. And sadly, Zemanta is a failure because Getty Images are prohibited from being used as thumbnail displays on WordPress website themes.
You would think that the fine folks at Zemanta would know this, but they are too busy celebrating their success to remember the quality of the services they used to offer to writers like myself.
Tragically, there is now a need for a new system to work with WordPress that grabs public domain images that can be used (with credit to the source) in stories and as thumbnails on the front page.
I tried to bring this problem up to Zemanta, but they clearly don’t care. They’re BIG TIME NOW. They don’t need us little people. Pretty soon, they will be providing services to the mainstream news media and have offices in Manhattan, forgetting about the people they once served so well.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. He writes for the Southwest News-Herald, the Des Plaines Valley News and The Regional News. His Middle East columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This post has already been read 105 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com