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.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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