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Testing Apture vs Zemanta Balloons

Filed under: Blogging — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

I’ve long been impressed with the rich-media popup tool Apture. If you’re actually on my site and not reading this in a feed reader, you can see the little book icon in the previous sentence. Hover over it and you’ll see a Wikipedia entry I selected to appear here. It was really easy to do using the Apture plug-in for WordPress.

Last week semantic web company Zemanta released a very similar but open source program called Balloons. I’m going to try to install that next here and compare the two services. Alex Iskold got me thinking about it. (Oh wow, look at that double LinkedIn and Twitter pop-up – that is awesome! I hate reading peoples’ names online and not being able to see where they work. This is great.)

So far Apture is pretty impressive. I did the wrong thing with it a couple of times, but I think I’ve got it down now. This post will evolve as I find the time to try out Zemanta.

Here's how a link I added to an RWW post about Zemanta looks....in Apture!

Here's how a link I added to an RWW post about Zemanta looks....in Apture!

Ok, Zemanta plug-in now installed. The company says the Balloons feature is automatically included. Let’s see.

Update: You can’t really use both at the same time on the same blog – Apture hijacks all of Zemanta’s balloon links. You probably won’t be able to see Zemanta links now, but I’ll be posting a full comparative review of the two services tonight or tomorrow on ReadWriteWeb.

Test: Pablo Picasso

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  • I sent you a message on Twitter. Let me know if we can help fix whatever issues you are having with Apture.

  • I’m a die-hard fan of Apture. I’ve used it on my personal blog for about a year, and I depend on it heavily to help tell my interactive story The Miracle in July. Occasionally it is persnickety, but it’s awesomeness far outweighs the trouble IMHO. It has a ways to go as far as linked-to media goes, but still…it’s badass. Have you tried Apture’s new Super Embed feature? Apture is also great about asking for feedback from their most active users (um…ME!) and are adding new features to make it easier to use all the time.
    That being said, I hadn’t heard that Zemanta (which I also use) had this balloons thingy. I’ll definitely check it out!

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  • Jakob

    I’ve noticed that on your page, when I highlight text I get the Apture “Learn more” popup link.
    I can do that too, but not without having that (somewhat annoying) Apture search bar appear at the top of my page.
    How do you enable the Apture “learn more” highlighting, without having the Apture search bar appear that the top of your page?

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