WordPress.com Kills Zemanta Writing Assistant
WordPress.com stopped using the “Zemanta Writing Assistant” on 2 January 2014. The end of Zemanta was sudden. The only notification I found was a post by jackiedana on the WordPress.com support forum posted the same day the service was terminated.
“On January 2nd, 2014 we’re removing our third-party integration with Zemanta, which added some tools like a manual related content tool, and suggestions for tags and images”.
The only reason given was a statement that WordPress.com is working on improving the editor. I can’t help suspecting there were other reasons to kill Zemanta on WordPress.com
A Not so Favourable Review of Zemanta
It’s only a few days since I published a critical review of the Zemanta 3rd party service on our WordPress technology site outlining some of the issues we had with this service (Zemanta Review). Some of the problems we discussed include potentially negative SEO implications if not used with caution and regard to SEO.
We also had issues with the Zemanta bot. While so far it hasn’t been a rule breaker, it does look for things that don’t exist resulting in a lot of 404 errors. I can imagine the wasted load this provides on the WordPress.com server network with millions of posts and millions of blogs….
The other thing we have a big problem with are the hosts and regions the bot operates from. Hosts (eg. OVH Systems) and regions (e.g. Slovenia) are not allowed to get access to any of our sites, or our client’s sites either. To test the service we had to specially allow a couple of IP addresses access to our site…
Other issues included hotlinking images and the risk of spam backlinks or backlink anchor text spamming.
Bloggers May Miss the Service
I’m sure some WordPress.com bloggers may miss this service. I have often used it with this blog. However, since looking into the self hosted option, I was thinking about disabling it on my WordPress.com blogs – WordPress.com simply beat me to doing so.
I should mention I took measures to improve SEO when I did use Zemanta to find relevant links and the occasional image, including manual “nofollow” markup with the link URLs and uploading images to the blog instead of hotlinking.
Last Words: Zemanta was useful to find related articles. While often these were re-blogs (even multiple identical posts) or low-value posts, it wasn’t hard to select the best of the bunch.