Snap Shots: Should You Use Them or Not?

You’ve seen them on the web. You may even use them on your blog.’s Snap Shots system quickly spread across the web, infiltrating many popular and semi-popular blogs. Some people like them, others loathe them. The question is: Should you use them or not?

It depends. Snap recently introduced more functionality into the Snap Shots lineup. Some of the features are actually useful, while others are just annoying. Let’s take a closer look.

RSS Shots

“RSS Shots” display the contents of any RSS feed you link to. The usefulness-level of this is debatable. It could be useful if you link to other sites’ feeds.


Forget it! “ProfileShot makes it easy to deliver the vital details of social network profiles”? As I’m sure a lot of you know, I don’t like MySpace, Facebook, or any of those types of sites. They’re simply a waste of time. Is you’re blog really useful if you link to MySpace profiles often enough to use this?


Formerly known as “Snap Preview Anywhere,” these are the “classic” ‘Shots that most of us think of when we talk about Snap Shots. They’re kind cool, but there’s not much point…unless you run a design gallery.


If you’re into stocks, you may like this one. It has a few valid applications, but the majority of us won’t see it much.


Bloggers tend to link to Wikipedia entries a lot. Since the most important parts of Wikipedia articles are generally at the top, this is one of Snap’s best ‘Shots. With this, your readers don’t even have to leave your blog to see what Wikipedia has to say. You’re saving your readers time, and keeping them on your blog.


YouTube, Revver, MetaCafe. Web video has taken the web my storm. With VideoShots, you can link to a YouTube video (instead of embedding it), and anyone who hovers their mouse over the link will be greeted with a word-bubble carrying a video player. This is great for users of WordPress MU blogs, since WPNU makes it a little hard to embed videos.


If you haven’t heard of IMDB, you must not watch many movies. The Internet Movie Database allows you to look-up any movie, actor, director, etc and find out a ton of information. Which 007 films had Sean Connery as James Bond? Who directed Pirates of the Caribbean? Using Snap’s MovieShots, any IMDB page you link to displays some of the page in a “SnapBubble.” Depending on your blog’s topic, you may want to look into this.


What? “PhotoShot” is only one letter away from Photoshop! If you’re into Flickr or Photobucket, you may like PhotoShots. Using PhotoShots, you can easily preview Flickr galleries and such.


Hey, podcasters! AudioShot plays audio files, and can display metadata like the title, album, artist, and cover art.


This one displays the contents of any Amazon page you link to. Now, if it plays nice with your Amazon Affiliate links, then this is great. At least, I think it is. Would people be more or less likely to click through if they can see a preview? Think about this carefully if you use Amazon Associates.

So, should you use Snap Shots? It’s up to you. Personally, I don’t care for them too much, as it’s pretty much hall or nothing. If you want Snap Shots, you get all of the ‘Shots. If you read Snap’s help page, you can find instructions to only display ‘Shots on links with a certain class. You could use that feature so as to have only one type of ‘Shot, but I don’t think it’s worth it personally. It’s up to you, though.

  • JYang

    These are very innovative. I think they are onto something that will transform the way we consume the web.

  • Paul Angles


    Thanks for a very balanced rundown of Snap Shots. Obviously, everyone has their opinions and as long as you’ve thought yours through, as you clearly have, then we’ll certainly respect yours.

    Three things I’d like to clarify:

    1. It’s not entirely “all or nothing” with Snap Shots. There is a level of customization possible, it’s just techy. has more details.

    2. ProductShot very carefully avoids messing with your Amazon code. That would be a good way to REALLY make people hate us.

    3. I think you’re unjustifiably harsh with RSS Shots. It’s relatively similar to WikiShots in giving you a summary of an article (if it’s permalinked) or headlines (if it’s site linked). The latter is particularly useful with blogrolls where you can mouseover a lot of links quickly to read their headlines.

    Paul D. Angles
    Marketing Director See what you’re looking for
    Snap Shots: Let content find you
    Snap Shots Add-On: Yes, you can take us with you

  • Matt

    1. I haven’t really used Snap Shots too much since all the new Shots were added, so I didn’t know that.

    2. :D I suppose it would. It’s good to know that it leaves the Amazon code alone.

    3. Sorry, I wasn’t aware that I was bashing RSS shots. I should clarify. I don’t think they have much use internally, but for external links they’ve got plenty of use.