Goodbye Yahoo! Shortcuts, Hello Zemanta!

When it was released, the Yahoo! Shortcuts plugin seemed like it was going to be a HUGE help in making my posts more useful and more attractive, and while it helped, I finally got fed up with it and turned it off. There seemed to be very little development going on for it and some of the major bugs, like stacking the photo credits if you use the same picture for multiple posts and the fact it blew up and spewed code on my archive page led me to deactivate it. The Yahoo! search links were also not very helpful in adding other relevant content, and for some reason it didn’t like double spaces after a sentance. so blah! and bye bye.

Now, new on the scene is Zemanta, currently available as a Firefox plugin. I’ve installed it and am giving it it’s first run and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s still in heavy development but is very impressive, here are a few of things they are doing better than Yahoo! shortcuts:

  • Zemanta puts everything on the Write Post screen, With Yahoo! you had to jump to a new page, make your additions and then jump back and fix anything the plugin made a mess of.
  • Link suggestions are single click and go where you would naturally want. Right now you can generally pick between the site’s home page or a Wikipedia entry, more options are on the way.
  • Tag suggestions! Zemanta suggests tags for your post from your content and semantic search for related keywords you may not have written about.
  • Related Article Suggestions from around the web (see below). You may not like this if you hate the idea of sending a reader to another site, but it increases the benefit to your reader and that’s important for return visitors.

There are a few things that I would like to see added, or if they exist make it easier to find them:

  • A WordPress plugin. It’s not hard to install Zemanta, but if it were a WordPress plugin I could use it on any computer and any browser. Then it would have access to suggest from my existing categories and make use of other internal WordPress functionality.
  • Gallery Scroll for more pictures, everything I see now is Firefox and WordPress none of which I want to use so let me scroll for more than just the 9 available.
  • Internal links – give me a section of related links that are only from my site
  • OPTIONS! Give me options! What if I don’t want suggested articles with adult content and want all my inserted links to be no follow? Even changing the color scheme or the ability to turn off some of he features would be nice.

Overall, I’m impressed. I’m not real sure about the Zemified button down there, but I’ll certainly leave it up for this post!

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  • andraz

    Hi from Zemanta!

    Glad to read such a positive review, it really is an award for hard work we are putting in…

    Let me give you some first hand answers:
    * A WordPress plugin.
    - yes, but not primary priority, we first have to cover some more platforms and browsers from the extensions side. so we are thinking about it but not so soon.

    * Gallery Scroll for more pictures
    - yes, this is probably most requested feature right now, we hope to bring it about in quite a short time. Hope you can wait a month or so.

    * Internal links – give me a section of related links that are only from my site
    - Yes, we know users want this, and are looking into it

    * OPTIONS! Give me options!
    - definitely, in next bigger iteration! You will have basic options, and we will expand from there.

    Hope I’ve answered all of your questions.

    We simply stopped adding new features at some point in time and decided to put it out and then hear from users what they want. Hopefully soon we will have some improvements in right directions!

    If you have any additional ideas or comments about how Zemanta could be more useful please mail us or use to leave us feedback so we can discuss it!

    (it’s really hard to track all the reviews in blogosphere for us, so we would really appreciate more direct methods of giving us feedback)


  • andraz

    oh, about the button yes, feel free to remove it from each post.

    we are contemplating adding it as an option in the future. but really need some credit at the beginning :)

  • Jure Cuhalev (zemanta)


    thanks for a review. I’d just like to quickly answer your wishlist:

    - there will be wordpress plugin, but because of quick development and ease of distribution we decided to go with Firefox Extension. Our initial testing showed that people don’t upgrade WordPress or their plugins and we wanted to avoid having users stuck in alpha version. Expect also WP plugin in upcoming iterations.

    - Better image handling is on the way as are smarter image suggestions. Options too are on the way :)

    About the Zemified button, feel free to remove it inside your editior while you write if you feel that using us in that specific post did not add enough added value to deserve our button.

    — jure

  • color_chart

    Yeah I agree.. I had the same problems as you until i switched to zemanta… there are still a few little twaeks i would like to see in future releases but overall its a very sturdy alternative and is much better supported.. nice review by the way, very well written ;)

  • KnightKnetwork

    Thanks, I've switched to the Zemanta WordPress Plug-in and love all the new
    features that have been added since I posted this. My interactions with the
    development team have been wonderful and while I can't say Zemanta has made
    me a better blogger, I can say without doubt that it has made this a better

  • Mike Post

    Great article, man. Keep up the good work and please do keep sharing.

    Thanks in advance!


  • Iv

    I like it!

  • Joneandtang

    I totally love this article. I think you could write some other things to make your blog more complete.For example:
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  • Eddie

    Thanks for the great Article! I'm going to go install it now!

  • Mike

    Thanks for the review. I just finished reading it, and I too thought the Yahoo Shortcuts would work.