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Photographer of the month: Markus Henttonen

As a great fan of professional photography, ThingLink has teamed up with Viewmasters, one of the best Scandinavian photo agencies, to introduce outstanding photographers each month. This means from now on our front page features photos by new artists who will tell the story behind their images.

It is our belief that the primary benefit of image tagging is to enrich the viewer’s browsing experience, not to fill it with advertisement. A nice example of this kind of rich browsing is the discovery of details and secrets behind professional photography.

This month on we’re featuring images by photographer Markus Henttonen, who we asked to select three of his favorite shots, and tag them with information about what is going on in the images and what was his inspiration.

Markus Henttonen
Markus’ interest in photography started with skateboarding, out of a need for better images of a passion he loved, and he learned the craft from the bottom up. His studies at the Turku Arts Academy was followed by stints at different agencies and he now works a freelancer photographer. He has travelled and resided in Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona as well as in Finland working as a photographer for both editorial and commercial assignments, while also focusing on personal projects. His series, Night Time Stories, got second prize at the International Biennale of Photography in Russia in 2009, and he has been nominated for the Fotofinlandia Prize 2011.

What inspires you?
“For me the world is a confined space, in which there exists different visual rhythms and compositions. I always start with the location and then try to find the models for it. It is the environment and how people find their place in it that is interesting to me.”

What are your views on in-image tagging?
“It is interesting, since you get more information about the photo and it can be used in versatile ways. Of course it could be distracting on some images but it does contribute to them.”

Markus tagged three of his favorite images:

Rooftop Party, 2008 from the Night Time Stories series

 

Platja d´es Codolar, 2004 from the To Be On View series

 

Wall # 1 from the New York series

 

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Today’s release: ThingLink Twitter tags!

Now you can really make your images work for you – and for your friends! The new ThingLink Twitter tag lets you tag people in images with their Twitter account. What a neat way to know more about the person in the photo and get social!

Think about all the portrait/promotional/conference/seminar/party/any other photos that people like to browse after an event. You can remember faces, yeah, that was an interesting person but what was her name? With our new Twitter tag, you can enable Twitter-follow right from your images.

How does it work?
1) Make sure you have signed up and added the ThingLink tagging tool on your site,

2) Copy-paste a Twitter profile url into the ThingLink tag editor, and you’re done! The person’s name, profile image, and a follow option appears on your image.

The feature is automatically activated for all users and you’ll see the result immediately. Naturally ThingLink also makes all existing Twitter tags interactive, so there is no need to update them.

Here we are:

Image credit: Kai Widell

What we think is cool is that you can also leave your images open for people to tag themselves. This is handy if you you don’t know who the people in the images are or if you for example want to identify people in historic photographs (we were surprised to notice that several historical persons are still tweeting). Anyhow, here is an other example: organizers (not all of them) of the recent Summit at Sea conference.

Image credit: Elliot Bisnow

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Collaborative editing for user-generated images: 7DayPic enables ThingLink image tagging

This week’s feature release enables collaborative editing of tagged images for entire websites. The idea for this feature came from Julio Castillo who runs an image sharing website 7DayPic. As the name indicates, the service lets you host and share images for 7 days. One day Julio emailed us and asked: “I have an image-hosting service, and would like to try enabling ThingLink tagging for my users. Is that possible?”

We thought this was a great idea, and a first step towards enabling image tagging for community sites. In this release the feature appears in its simplest form: upload an image, tag it with ThingLink’s in-image tags and share it with the world.

Examples of use cases:

1) party/event images
Share photos of your party and invite your friends to tag them. Who is in the picture? What is happening? Who is wearing what? Don’t worry, these image will not be around forever!

2) short-term campaigns
Creating a 7-day campaign site has never been this easy! Just upload your image to 7DayPic, tag it and share it. This can be used for a conference, product launch or a music event.

3) education
A biology home assignment for 5th grade students: identify plants using digital image archives.

Try it out for yourself by using one of the many apps that 7DayPic features. Be creative, crazy and wild. Remember that the images only last seven days.

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Engage your clients with in image webshops: how to set your own using ThingLink

A few days ago we released an in image shop integration together with web shop entrepreneur Savalanche and although it was a launch mainly centered on Finland, the response worldwide was overwhelming. We have since received requests from our users for instructions on how to set up in image shops yourself. Well here goes.

Naturally you need both a ThingLink and a Savalanche account, both of which you can create for free by either creating a new account or signing up via Facebook.

Savalanche gives you the option of either creating a shop with your own products or featuring the products of others. These instructions are for setting up a shop featuring the products of others in your images, but uploading your own products works much the same way. In the case that you promote other people’s products and a purchase is done through your image tags, you will get a share of the purchase price. By uploading your products, other people are able to promote them, thus broadening the visibility of your products.

Savalanche’s user interface and instructions for setting up the shop are quite intuitive. Search for products that you want to add to your shop or use the list on the left side to browse around. Once you find a product press “Add to store” and the product is added to your webstore’s product selection. Savalanche has published instructions on how to set up the shop with your own products and using others’ products but at the moment they are only in Finnish. The English instructions are however on their way.

 

Once you’re done creating your shop, you can start tagging your images. It’s easy, the only thing you need to do is drop the product’s unique URL in the image tag’s link field and ThingLink does the rest.

 

You find the product’s unique URL by clicking the hashtag ” # ” up to the right of each product in your webstore’s product selection. The URL should look something like this: http://www.savalanche.com/full_shop/products/1271?shop_id=326

 

This is by far the easiest way of setting up an in image store anywhere on the web. Neither ThingLink nor Savalanche has a register fee and by using your images the chance of buyers getting interested and clicking are much higher than if the links were text based. Remember that you also have the possibility of adding text tags containing entertaining facts, links to more information about the products and music and sounds via SoundCloud to your images. Get creative and create an online shopping experience with the help of your images.

Voila!

 

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An image is worth a thousand customers – ThingLink and Savalanche join forces to introduce a new image-based social shopping model

ThingLink, the Finnish-American innovator of image interaction tools, and Savalanche, a Finnish pioneer of social shopping, have joined forces to launch a new image-based social shopping model. The partnership enables anyone to easily set up a web store and become a retailer for their favorite things, and make their shop appear on images. The service is free for both publishers and sellers alike.

“Images have become a platform for many kinds of social activities, one of them being shopping”, says Ulla Engeström, founder and CEO of ThingLink. She continues: ” Collaboration with Savalanche serves our publishers, because it makes social media exposure convert into sales. ”

In the background of the cooperation between ThingLink and Savalanche lies a new emerging demand: consumers looking for inspiration and recommendations online want to immediately locate where the product can be bought while also being served with its price and other information. Speed is of the essence – the less clicks there are between for example an interior design product display and the product’s buy button, the bigger the chance that there will be a sale.

“Our cooperation brings the buy button straight into images – no links or searches are needed”, says Pasi Vuorio, founder of Savalanche. “Savalanche lowers the threshold of founding a web shop. Anyone can set up their own web shop supported by social media in order to for example sell design products through a lifestyle blog. It is a risk-free new distribution model for retailers”, Vuorio continues.

 

(ThingLink offers interactive illustration for your story. Try embedding the image by hovering the top left corner, selecting embed, copying the code and pasting it in your own html code. Voila!)

The revenue model of the service is attractive to both the brand and the web shop owner. A design blog such as Sisutusblogi.fi may become a retailer and start earning sales commission from all sales via their shop. While the consumer might be buying products from different brands on a blog store there is only one payment and one order, even though the merchandise is delivered from many different companies.

Examples of pioneering retailers include Finnish Design Shop,  Valleys and Tiia Arkko.

Teemu Kiiski, the CEO of Finnish Design Shop, welcomes the new service: “Inspiring images are key in selling design. A web store should exist where consumers actually talk about the products, that is on blogs, web publications, and within social media in general.” Teemu continues: “With the help of ThingLink’s tools and Savalanche’s social shopping, Finnish Design Shop will radically expand its distribution channels and reach new customers.”

“Interactive images create new kinds of long-awaited revenue model for web publishers”, says Harri Kangas, founder of sisustusblogi.fi, and continues; “ThingLink’s tools are easy to use, the image tags fit even the most elegant of images and it enables easy image sharing worldwide. ”

“ThingLink currently serves thirty million image views monthly. Our users mainly consist of music and lifestyle publishers ” Ulla Engeström says. “This cooperation adds value to private blogs, long tail producers, and online stores, and we expect new users from these fields”, she continues.

 

(ThingLink offers interactive illustration for your story. Try embedding the image by hovering the top left corner, selecting embed, copying the code and pasting it in your own html code. Voila!)



ThingLink develops image interaction tools that allow content sharing via online images. ThingLink technology changes the way people interact with photos by transforming them into a surface for navigation, commerce, and social connection. Brands, publishers and bloggers utilize ThingLink in their images to share links, drive traffic, and set up image-based advertising campaigns.

Savalanche is a new webstore solution that combines online commerce, social media and affiliate marketing in an effective way. With Savalanche, anyone can set up a webstore – even without any products of their own. Savalanche users can sell their favorite products imported and produced by external product suppliers. For importers, manufacturers and marketers, Savalanche offers a new kind of channel with the ability to reach a wide, targeted consumer base through the different social networks operating on the Internet. Savalanche is owned by Vuole Oy.

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Generate revenue with your images and ThingLink’s Amazon Associates integration

ThingLink just released an Amazon Associates integration. This means that you’ll be able to link your in-image tags to Amazon products and generate revenue on sales completed through your links. You might already be doing this with banners or text links but with the help of your images, your click through rates and the number of possible sales will go up.

ThingLink allows you to tag objects in your images and link them to products on Amazon while they are simultaneously registered with your Amazon Associates account. Whenever someone purchases a product via the in image tag link you will get a share of the revenue.

We made the process of getting started as easy as possible. To start off, you need to sign up for both ThingLink and the Amazon Associates program.

Once you have registered, you need to link the two accounts. You find your personal Amazon Associates tracking ID on the left side of the screen. Copy the tracking ID, go to ThingLink.com and log in. On your account page you will see a section that says “Your affiliate codes”. Paste your ID in the box and you’re set.

 

After this, whenever you create a tag with a a link to a product on Amazon, the tracking code is automatically added. All purchases made through your links will be credited to you.

However, if  your personal tracking code is already included in the link that you paste in, Thinglink does not replace it. This means that if you make an Amazon.com affiliate link using some other tool (like Amazon’s own), you can safely cut and paste it into the link box.

You can check your daily earnings and visits on your Amazon Associates page. The more things you refer, the higher your referral rate will be.

Once we have more statistics on how our users are using and buying this through this new feature, we will create more tips on how to tag your images to get the best results. We’ll give you two hints for now – make your tags fun and create images where you can browse around. You can also check out how food blogger Chez Pim is using her images and the new feature to generate revenue by affiliate linking to utensils she herself uses in the kitchen.

Start generating revenue by tagging your images now.

 

 

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Keep track of your image tag statistics with weekly updates

Keeping track of your image tag statistics just got a lot easier. We just released a weekly update email feature, which will show our users how their images are doing and provide tips on how to increase the amount of people hovering and clicking the image tags.

The feature is an opt in service and you find the checkbox in your account preferences.

 

 

In order to provide our users with comparable statistics over a longer period of time we will release the update once every Monday. This makes it easier for users to follow the trend of the images and decide on how to turn possible negative curves into positive ones and gain even more clicks. The weekly update also includes tips on how to tag your images and news on new features we constantly develop to help your master image tagging.

Naturally, ThingLink’s dashboard will provide all users with realtime statistics in the future as well but the email update is another way of keeping track of how your image tags are doing. Remember, in order to receive the statistics update you need to opt in in your account preferences but that’s all. We’ll handle the rest.

Please let us know what you think of the weekly update by commenting on this post or on our  support forum.

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ThingLink’s help center: new, improved and decorated with buttons

Good news everybody: we released a new help section. We realized that the old one had become a bit disorganized in the midst of all our development work and we decided to gather and update the best and most useful content all in one place. This is a continuation of our efforts to make ThingLink’s dialogue with its users sparkle.

We divided the sections into five parts: “Setting up ThingLink” helps you get started and guides you through the installation process, “Support forum” puts you in contact with our team directly to ask questions or submit feedback, “Features and integration” tells you about other services that work with ThingLink, “Developer resources” features tips on how to tune the tool to your liking and “Frequently asked questions” answers all of the most interesting and thoughtful questions our users are thinking about.

The new help section helps you find information on virtually all aspects of using ThingLink. Visit it now to see what we did.

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Try ThingLink yourself and add sound, videos and social profiles to these images

Everybody should get a chance to try how ThingLink and Rich Media Tags work together. That is why we left a couple of photos taken by ThingLink’s team members open for you to tag. No strings attached. Consider it a test drive before signing up.

You tag by hovering the image and selecting “Edit tags” from the top left corner. Why not start by selecting a tune from SoundCloud, or video from YouTube or a Twitter profile and placing it in the link field in the tag. What kind of media association do the images bring to mind and what tags and links could give it another dimension?

Once you’ve tagged the image you’ll be able to share it through Twitter, Facebook and email. You can also choose to embed it wherever you like. Get busy!

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