Apture Turnover: RSS, SEO, And Link From Draft

While discussing with the Founder of Zemanta on a previous article on HyveUp, Dan Martell notified me of new updates that Apture just released. Here is his message from the comment thread:

Xavier, this hasn’t been officially announced, but voila: http://apture.com/plugin – this fixes the “Apture: Bad” concerns. Our users spoke, and we listened.

Four big benefits to using the Apture Editor Plugin:

Transmit Apture links via RSS.
Google combs through your Apture links enhancing SEO.
Eliminates the need to visit your published post to add Apture links.
Preview posts and Apture links – see what you’ve got and make adjustments before you publish the post.

Let me know if you have any feedback?

Thanks for the write up.

Originally posted as a comment by Dan Martell on HyveUp using Disqus.

Apture/Zemanta: Battle of the SmartLinkers



Recently, I stumbled upon Zemanta, a service that instantly integrates tags, links, pictures and more in your blog post. More precisely, I was reading a post of Fred Wilson in my reader, and saw those “related posts” links at the end of the article. In less than 5 minutes, Zemanta was running on my Firefox. As soon as I started using it, I realized that the app was doing the work I was expecting Apture to do, except automatically: links to Wikipedia, Crunchbase, and so forth. So for those of you who haven’t decided yet on which provider to go for, I’ll compare the two services for you:

Zemanta: Good

Zemanta automates a lot of the painful side-works of blogging: tagging and linking. The engine cannot guess if you want to link to a specific url, but it will do the basic work of linking to the Apple (see) website if you wrote Apple somewhere on your blog. The automatic tagging is a blessing. It’s not 100% what I would tag, but it does the job, and if you happen to have several blogs where you blog in a somehow semi-automatic way, Zemanta is a life-saver.

The suggested picture is a nice feature; it helps when you were not planning on inserting one. The related posts at the end of your article are also an amazing addition to your content (again, if your blog provider is not already offering that feature). Instead of being a closure, the end of your article leads to more browsing and discovery. Cool!

Zemanta works on Blogger.

By creating a Zemanta profile, Zemanta will also consider your network of friends (from facebook, Mybloglog, Twitter) and suggest their content in your automatic linking process. You can also add your Amazon affiliate number, and if someone clicks on an Amazon link, you get the $$.

Apture: good

Apture is focused on providing a new type of visual browsing experience on the Web. Therefore, in a lot of ways, it can’t be compared to Zemanta. When visitors click on your Apture links, a pop up window displays the content of the link. This way, visitors don’t navigate away from your page. To add an Apture link, double click on the word you wish to hyperlink, and the link suggestions are way richer than Zemanta: Videos (from several video providers), maps, articles from newspapers, IMDB. You can link to any kind of media online, and again it will appear in a pop up window.

The media files can also be integrated directly into the post thanks to a wicked tool where you just point at a place in your post between two paragraphs, and the app creates a space there to insert the media.

Zemanta: bad

With Zemanta, there is no undo list: Say I click to link to the Twitter homepage. Done. Say I want to undo this: I have to sort through my text (in edit HTML mode) and manually erase the link. The picture will only show on the top corner (right/left), and it seems like you can’t add more than one, so in a long post like this one, you can’t rely on Zemanta for more eye-candy in this ocean of text.

Since it is a firefox add-on, its design can conflict with other add-ons or scripts (like the large window post editor for Blogger).

Apture: bad

The major problem with Apture is that links are loaded in a layer that sits on top of your site. If someone visits your site, Apture takes up a little bandwidth to load its links, but most importantly, all of the links and additions you made through Apture do not follow in your blog’s RSS feed. Recently, I used the Apture video insertion tool to specify the start and stop time of the video. I had not thought of the fact that my RSS readers wouldn’t see the video, since its insertion was programmed in the Apture layer of my post.

The obvious other problem is that once you hit publish in your blog’s editor, you now have to view your post on your blog, hit ctrl E, sign in to Apture, and create all the links. It adds time to your editing effort, and there is this awkward moment for people who visit your post right after you published it, but before you had time to add the links. I am pretty sure that the automated linking for Apture is coming up, as larger publishers like the Washington Post use Apture, and I doubt that they have monkeys manually creating the links for them.

Neither good nor bad

The two companies are at a young stage in their development, and I expect this post to be outdated in less than 2 months. However, I like comparing those two companies, as they represent two different smartlinking paradigms for bloggers.

Apture Launches Publicly: Get Your Blog Linked In


Apture recently opened up their rich multimedia linking platform to the public. Apture allows site publishers/bloggers to easily find content related to their articles and link to it. The major appeal of this tool is that the linked pages appear in a HTML overlay window (ie pop-up).

Don’t get lured by generally accepted ideas like the readers of Techcrunch: Apture’s popups open up a world of infinite knowledge that superbly completes any written article. Apture is a convenient compromise for publishers: it provides great links which readers can browse from the original site. While the discussion is leaving the blogosphere, richer content is settling in.

“With our linking platform, websites can now be enriched with background articles, images, maps, videos, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, music and even interactive widgets in a way that’s never been possible before. Our solution will shift the way we currently publish and communicate on the web and will generate empathy and knowledge transfer, which will create fresh opportunities for distributed commerce.”
Tristan Harris, Founder/CEO

The public launch of Apture comes with the release of a few cool additional features to the service. In pole position is the first non-pop-up feature of Apture: the easy embed feature. Just select a spot in an article where you would like to place a media, and Apture intuitively creates an area to embed content, by brushing aside the existing content. Once the free space has been created, simply use the Apture tool to easily select what content you want to place in this embed area. This way, Apture makes the embedding process shrink from over ten clicks down to less than 5 (and it finds that content for you, in case you don’t know what to look for).

Apture also offers a new tool to have more control on videos. If there is a specific moment of the video a blogger wants to link to, there is a “start viewing at time” feature that allows to do this. That makes linking to videos much more compelling.

Even in private beta, Apture received a lot of excellent feedbacks. Now that it is public, I recommend any site publisher to give it a twirl. As a media producer, I strongly recommend it to other media producers/bloggers: It is a great way to suggest a lot of your videos to your readership in an unobtrusive manner.