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Some thoughts on Zemanta

June 26, 2008

Street pitch from zemanta.com

Image by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten via Flickr

For the last few weeks, I’ve been using Zemanta to blog. On their site, Zemanta suggests it will make “blogging fun again”. It also says it:

* saves time – relevant content from around the web brought to you as you’re typing.
* drives traffic – search engines love better tagged content. Plus, Zemanta links your posts to others across the web having related conversations.
* works everywhere – you can use Zemanta on any popular blogging platform or browser

Zemanta offers images for blog posts that it thinks are relevant to the post. The image here is suggested by Zemanta and it’s called: “Street Pitch from Zemanta.com”.

But I’m more interested in the links that Zemanta shares with me. At the end of each post, Zemanta offers articles that are relevant to my post. I figured I would add some of them because it didn’t seem to hurt. But there’s a metric here: if people click on those links, then what Zemanta is offering are relevant links. (Yes, part of it is me picking the links, but Zemanta had to throw them in front of me, I really just scan them.)

Thus, I get to share links that programming suggests. That people are actually clicking on the links is a good indication that this tool works. Zemanta is a free plugin, and one that I think has made blogging more fun.

But this has me wondering how on earth will Zemanta profit? They give away this tool that people love. Bloggers are using it, and loving it because it really does work. People are clicking the links at the bottom, and one click image adding makes it almost impossible to not add an image.

But I never go to their site. I never see an ad. Is this a case where eventually, people will have to pay money for the service?

When a new tool comes up, I try to see the manner in which that tool will make money. Fact is, if we start using a tool for a client, and that tool goes under, then the client’s investment is wasted.

And even though I have no idea how Zemanta will make money, I’ll recommend Zemanta to clients who have a blog. Because if it goes away, the blog won’t.

So the next question is, would I pay for Zemanta? I don’t make a cent on this blog, and I suspect the vast majority of people who use Zemanta don’t either. So it would cost me to blog and use Zemanta. I certainly might pay to have a client use it, since it makes blogging easier. I suppose like everything, it comes down to price. People pay for Flickr Pro. Perhaps people will pay for Zemanta. If you’re using Zemanta, how do you think they’ll make money? And, would you pay?

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