On the eastern end of New York’s Long Island, there sits a non-descript garage. Inside that garage, however, is another world — antique cars restored to perfection, a corner booth set up to be an exact replica of a nineteen-fifties era diner, model trains, vintage gas station signs — in short, a world made possible by eBay, and my father-in-law, the man who seems to keep that company in business.
eBay users and sellers don’t need anyone to tell them that the site can sometimes border on an addiction, and that it has created a whole new way to buy and sell goods. But now that everyone seems to have a store, how can sellers set theirs apart? Simple — by using ThingLink’s eBay tag to create interactive images and encourage deeper consumer engagement.
Say you have a blog that you use to direct customers to your eBay store. You’re probably posting images of your goods and a link to bid on them — but that requires readers to look in two places and can be cumbersome — you lost the impulse buyers if they have to scroll too much. With ThingLink you can embed a tag that will lead readers to your store with one click right in the image — they simply hover and click, then bid away. No need to for them to ever leave the image.
You can also embed links to similar items in your store:
Embedding a link to the store in an image is great — but really, not all that interesting on its own. But ThingLink can also be used to embed audio, video, and other rich media links in images — creating a whole new experience and enticing the reader to click and buy even more.
Take the example above. A thirty-something creative professional with fond memories of her grunge days and a bit of disposable income might be tempted to lay down a hundred bucks for an old magazine — but how to put her over the edge to make sure she buys? Try embedding a video of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or a Hole track and watch the nostalgia meter go to eleven.
Using ThingLink to make your blog more interactive can be a boon for your eBay store — and a heck of a lot of fun to do, too. Creating an eBay tag is as easy as grabbing the URL of the product and dropping it into the editor’s link field.
We thought we’d share the news of five brand new rich media tags. We’re very excited by the tagging possibilities each presents to you, and can’t wait to see what our users will do with them. And as a reminder, we do offer a rich media tag development environment that anyone with some technical know-how can use to make their very own tags.
Little Kids Rock campaign contribution tag: We’ve rolled out a number of tags that allow users to purchase different items, but this is the first that allows them to contribute to charities. Little Kids Rock, which brings free musical instruments and music instruction to public school children, embedded the donation tag in cards sent out by board members and on its website to solicit contributions.
Tweet tag: You can now link to any tweet, not just a Twitter user — for instance, if you want to embed a specific comment that’s relevant to an image. Previously, an artist could only embed a tag to direct users to follow them on Twitter; now they are able to embed a tweet about, say, a new album, in an image of the album cover.
Create a tweet tag by clicking on Details or the tweet date on a tweet on Twitter and copy the unique URL. Paste the URL in ThingLink’s editor. It’s as easy as that!
Google Maps tag: This works great for event invites — embed a map to the event right in the image and make it even easier for attendees to find their way. Or use in a new story — add a map to show viewers exactly where something happened and let them get a sense of the location in context.
Next to every map and street view on Google Maps, there is a link box. Copy the URL and paste it in ThingLink’s editor.
QwipBacks™ and Chirbit: Now you have two more options in addition to SoundCloud for recording sound in images — the QwipBacks™ and Chirbit tags. Users can record their own comments on an image and also encourage others to do the same — it’s a real time conversation embedded right in a photo.
Just copy the recording’s unique URL and paste it in the editor’s link field.
Digital PR photos can be enhanced to include links and other content through an expanding service called ThingLink.
Neil Vineberg, the veteran PR pro who is chief marketing officer of Finland-based ThingLink and heads its North American operations, sees the service as a “generational shift” in how users interact with images.
“The job of photo editor becomes more interesting and puts publishers or PR professionals in a position to keep people on their own content,” he said.
With the service, users can embed website links, video content and pop-up info within images, without learning complicated Flash or programming. The “ThingLinked” images are then embeddable by fans, users and journalists within standard web publishing software, creating a trackable PR image unit.
“Instead of emailing a publicity photo to journalists, you can tell them to ‘take my embed code,’” said Veinberg.
Updates made to the images by ThingLink users are distributed to the embedded content so, for example, if a reporter embeds an ThingLinked image in a story, the creator of the image can update the image’s content.
While adopted early as a publicity vehicle in the music industry, use of the service is spreading to publishing and beyond as infographics and other news illustrations are given interactive and tracking capabilities with the service. The popular rock group Evanescence, for example, used ThingLink for its album release Oct. 11 to include embedded links in an image of the album cover to the band’s Twitter and facebook feeds, iTunes and YouTube, among others.
Mashable recently used the service for an infographic on the iPhone (below) while Canada’s National Post created a powerful graphic of the twin towers embedded with links to the windows where victims of 9/11 worked.
Vineberg believes ThingLink has vast potential for the PR sector because of its measurability, ease of use and ability to include information directly from a client (captions, links to websites) within an image.
“It’s a generational shift in how we interact with images,” he said.
(Roll your mouse icon over the image below to see its embedded content)
Over the weekend of November 5 and 6, nearly 70 hackers crowded into the Katalyst offices in LA to build the future of the entertainment industry. Along the way, they were visited by Robert Scoble, Ashton Kutcher, Patrick Vlaskovits, D.A. Wallach from Chester French, and many others. ThingLink was happy to sponsor this event, as well as using it to debut our brand new image application development environment.
Another developer, who wound up taking the prize for the best use of ThingLink, created a tag where you can record a video. He also created a tag through which you can call to a cell phone (see below).
The ThingLink team also chatted with guys from Spotify, Topspin, RootMusic, SoundCloud and other cool startups like Mashery, Rdio, Rovi, MOG and Tracks.by, getting some new ideas and sharing feedback.
As always, the hack day had plenty of coffee, Red Bull, programming, and even a little controversy (was the Adobe team really presenting a hack or a corporate reel? The world may never know). We’re definitely looking forward to our next hack day and continuing to build great things.
We are today announcing the launch of our latest innovation, the Image Application Development Environment. Announced on the eve of Hollywood Hack Day, this initiative will allow users to build branded applications and rich media tags that take advantage of ThingLink’s signature image embedding technology and Image Network.
Until now, users and image owners were required to approach ThingLink for a customized app solution to service their needs. By launching the app development environment, ThingLink is inviting developers to create fun and interesting applications that make interactive images more engaging and relevant.
Here are some of our existing Rich Media Tags and you can now make your own.
“We’re looking to empower developers with tools that engage audiences around images,” commented ThingLink CMO Neil Vineberg. “We also invite corporations and small businesses to build a presence on the ThingLink Image Network by creating branded applications and promotional content for their services.”
Prospective developers should visit www.thinglink.com/developer, where after a simple sign-in and approval process, ThingLink will provide instructions and access to sample code from a custom built app, including performance suggestions and compatibility and design tips.
First announced in June this year, ThingLink has brought a new dimension to images on the web via Rich Media Tags, transforming static images into navigational platforms. From hand-drawn artwork to professional photography, Rich Media Tags can be applied to any image, enabling the embedding of links from some of the world’s leading social content platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and many more.
For more information on creating Rich Media Tags or to learn more about opportunities to integrate with ThingLink, visit: www.thinglink.com.