Zemanta Blogging with Training Wheels – But Worse

nick learning to bicycle - _MG_0141

Blogging with Training Wheels On sean dreilinger via Flickr

Here is my follow-up post on Zemanta plugin.   I didn’t think it would be this soon.   I thought I could live with it and try it a little while longer to give it the benefit of the doubt.   I’m glad Tilly has been providing some feedback the past couple of days.   I still   keep finding more things I don’t like than I do.

I found out by accident that I could get back some control over captions if I removed the zemanta div tag in which the images and captions were imported.   The one you see to the right on top is one I removed the div tag from and the caption shows up and the entire caption frame is visible.   The second one is leaving the zemanta div tag in place.   Notice the frame is cut off on the bottom and the caption won’t show up till you mouse over the image.

Images Always inserted at the top

Here is another annoyance.   With the media insertion from WP I put the cursor where I want the image to be inserted into the post.   With Zemanta it always put the image at the top of the post.   I have to go into the HTLM tab and cut and post the code where I want it.   Most new blogs aren’t comfortable doing this. So they will leave it at the top.

Why is this bad?   Because unless those bloggers are filling in the excerpt the image code starting with Zemanta div tag will be the text under the indexed link in Google.

Is this what you want to appear under your post title?

div dl class = wp caption alignright dt a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/8306673@N02/3867153187″><img title=”Cycling with Training Wheels” src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2652/3867153187_b5ec958b1a_m.jpg”

Or do you want your excerpt under the link to be like this?

Here is my follow-up post on Zemanta plugin. I didn’t think it would be this soon.

Zemanta should change the code so insertion is where the blogger sets the cursor.

Make the Zemanta Edit Panel Collapse able

If I don’t want an image, or have already selected one to use for the post I don’t need the images suggestion section open.   And if I’m not using latest updates or previous updates, I want to collapse those, but I can’t.   This means my save draft and preview buttons are pushed down where I have to scroll down to select either.   This is annoying.   Make those sections so I can opt to collapse them and keep my buttons for publishing where I don’t have to scroll down to use them.

Zemanta is Intrusive

Cycling with Training Wheels
Zemanta Div   Code in Place Image by paulhami via Flickr

Zemanta is to intrusive.   It really is like riding with training wheels on a bike.   I never had a pair.   (Unless you call my banged up knees training wheels).   But I know the kids that did have them relied on them way to long.   They prolonged the learning period for really riding a bike.

Then once you take off the wheels and experience the full freedom of bike riding can you imagine having to put them BACK ON YOUR BIKE?

I’m sorry, but that’s what it is like for Zemanta on any of my blogs.

  1. It is intrusive.
  2. It makes suggestions I would never use.
  3. It displaces my much used save draft and preview buttons in my editing sidebar.
  4. It always inserts images at the top of the post
  5. It puts that crappy reblog thingy at the bottom of my posts. (You can remove with preference settings but the link back code is still inserted)
  6. And it adds those zemanta class codes all over the place.

Maybe a new blogger will find it useful. Yet as I’ve pointed out the way it is now there is a price to pay for using it. You might think it is free but it isn’t. It isn’t as much a symbiotic relationship as it is parasitic. It provides some tools and resources but it does so in such a manner that it intrudes upon you to do things “IT’S Way” NOT how you want to do it.  

So off with the training wheels.

Goodbye Zemanta, I wish I could have loved ya, but it’s okay because you didn’t break my heart.


  1. Heya Dave!

    Thank you for the awesome, and very detailed follow-up! You have some really great suggestions, such as your thoughts regarding image placement, and the excellent idea about making the widget collapsible. Lemme give a shout out to the developer team and see what we can come up with!

    We appreciate the time you took to review our service, and provide such helpful constructive criticism! I encourage you to drop us a line anytime if you have any additional comments or concerns 😀

    Tilly McLain
    community manager, Zemanta
    .-= Tilly McLain´s last blog ..Goodbye BlogWorld, Hello Web 2.0 Summit! =-.

  2. To all Readers!!

    Tilly McLain ROCKS. She gets it. She knows how to respond to criticism and manage a company presence on the web.

    Tilly, I’ll work with you any day, any time, any where.

    Hope you are @misstillytilly.

    If you have features in the future you want Lab tested let me know. I’ll be glad to take Zemanta for another spin.

    If you are just getting your feet wet with blogging and especially if you are blogging for fun. Give Zemanta a try. You might find you love writing with the help and security of Zemanta training wheels : )

    Thanks for Dropping by the Lab Tilly. You are always welcome here.



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