Technology Review: How Zemanta screwed up a good thing

Technology Review: How Zemanta screwed up a good thing 5.00/5 (100.00%) 5 votes

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 [email protected].)

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network online news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley).

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. He hosted a live weekend Radio Show on WLS AM radio from 1980 through 1991, and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM and shows on WSBC AM in Chicago and WNZK AM in Detroit.

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. 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. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate and his column is feature every Sunday in the Saudi Gazette in Saudi Arabia. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, 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 Chicagoland political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News on several Chicagoland blogs including the and

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.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected].
  • Bostjan Spetic

    hi ray,

    thanks for this writeup,

    let me try to explain some details around your complaints:
    - getty images are indeed new feature, and one we are pretty excited about - they are beautiful, they are legalized, and they work for some use cases.
    - getty images are not the only source of images in zemanta editorial assistant - you can still choose from wikimedia commons, the largest database of ‘potentially free’ images on the web. not sure if you are aware of that?
    - it is true that getty images cant be resized or used as featured, and we are in conversations with getty on how to fix that. however, wikimedia images still support all those features, just like they did in the past,
    - we definitely care about bloggers like yourself, we care about you above all. i’m sorry if you got a different impression, and hope we can amend it.

    best, b

  • Ray Hanania

    Well I appreciate your responses and hope it is true. But Getty Images do not work. In fact, I have noticed that I get fewer other image options now than I did before. DId something change there? I do get some other free image links that can be inserted but now, and more often, I only get Getty Images. You had a great thing going. Getty Images doesn’t help at all. They are great as Second Reference photos for inside the story but they are unusable as Thumbnails and they allow no setting options at all. Dump them.

  • Ray Hanania

    And one more problem that I also blame on the change to Getty. The INSERT AS A FEATURE IMAGE option on Zemanta doesn’t work any more on ANY of the news websites I run. Pretty pathetic and such a big disappointment from what I expected from Zemanta.