Why are we excited about images

Our CEO, Ulla-Maaria Engeström just wrote an interesting post on the eve of the Microsoft Social Computing Symposium taking place in New York City. Here are some excerpts from her post.

1. An image can directly serve the objects it shows

Every image tells more than a thousand words. The most common question asked is, “What’s in Your Photo?” What is this object? Where can I get it? Who else knows about or likes this? Images can answer these questions and more. They can become a new navigational surface for search.

2. An image can serve advertising, commerce, information sharing, social connection, and shopping

According to Forrester, by 2014, 53% of total retail sales (online and offline) will be affected by the Web, as consumers increasingly use the Internet to research products before purchasing. Consumer purchasing decisions are being made based on images and user preference and ratings: Should I read this article? Should I reserve a room at this hotel? Should I meet this guy?

We make decisions based on images. Search is becoming image-based. And in-image interaction tools developed by Thinglink are enabling image-based advertising, commerce, information sharing, social connection and shopping.

3. Images entertain and drive traffic

Advertising is, at its best, art photography or photographic art. Image ads constitute half of the content of major fashion magazines with the best photographers shooting the best models wearing clothes and accessories from major brands. What if all these image advertisement became interactive with links to retailers? Images would become the new point-of-sale.

4. A good image is the least irritating advertisement.

Online banners ads are quickly losing their effectiveness. There is way too much inventory, ads looks the same and prices are falling. Thinglink aims to recreate banner ads with interactive links, better call to action links and user preference data that provides increasing value to marketers.

5. New vocabulary: Image Inventory and Image Interest Factor

Publishers need to start asking: Do your images serve your business goals? How much of your image inventory drives traffic to points of sale? Does your image inventory enable robust user interaction? How much of your image inventory drives reader retention?

In sum, images are being transformed by in-image links to relevant information for advertising, commerce, entertainment, and social connection. With photos constituting perhaps 20 per cent of web real estate, the hundreds of billion of photos online offer rich opportunities for in-image links to engaging user experiences that will revolutionize and transform image interaction. That’s an incredible opportunity that we are very excited about sharing.

Image: yachtingmagazine.com

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Looking for frontend- and backend -developers

We are looking for frontend- and backend- masters to a great startup.

Join us in creating exciting new tools for the web! Thinglink is developing a web service, which allows anyone to tag any image and share them. Our service is live at http://www.thinglink.com/.

Imagine:
* Working side by side with excited and skillful people in downtown Helsinki. We have plenty of experience in making good quality code and not get hung up on irrelevancies
* Participating actively in concepting and seeing the results of your work quickly on a live service
* Taking part in a developer community: talking with others and communicating your experiences
* Seeing one of the most exciting startup-scenes in the world from the inside. Thinglink is funded by two experienced venture capital companies, and is blessed by having Jaiku veterans on board.

Come work with us!

FRONTEND DEVELOPER

Are you excited about new Javascript libraries, HTML5, User Experience Design, Dashboards, analytics, making usable web services or graphic design of web services?

We expect that you have
* A deep understanding of the web (HTML5, HTTP, CSS, Javascript)
* Creativity and ability to work independently
* A desire to improve the way work is done, and the ability to teach others

Our ideal candidate would also have
* An eye and a hand for visual design
* Unix and Java -experience
* A working knowledge of TDD, YSlow, OOP, Scrum and Cassandra
* Experience with graphic software (e.g. Photoshop & Illustrator)
* Experience in handling massive data
* Cross-industry experience and ability to work with experts from different fields
* A fan-relationship with John Resig, Doug Crockford, Ben Fry, Dieter Rams, Steve Souders, Aza Raskin, Edward Tufte or Danah Boyd.

BACKEND DEVELOPER

Are you excited about cloud services, big data, analytics, optimization, NoSQL or just working on a new product?

We expect that you have
* A deep understanding of the web (HTTP, AJAX, REST)
* Creativity and ability to work independently
* A strong Java and Unix background
* A desire to improve the way work is done, and the ability to teach others

Our ideal candidate would also have
* Ruby and/or Python -experience
* Practical experience on cloud services (e.g Amazon EC2)
* A working knowledge of TDD, YSlow, OOP, Scrum and Cassandra
* Experience in handling big data (e.g. Hadoop or Pig)
* Experience in Javascript & JQuery
* A good knowledge on how to build scalable systems
* A fan-relationship with John Resig, Joel Spolsky, Doug Crockford, Guido van Rossum, Dave Hyatt or Steve Souders.

Send your free-form (and convincing) application to jobs@thinglink.com

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Jonas Forth joins Thinglink as community manager

Just before publishing the Thinglink private beta in 2009, I was browsing the web looking for web-savvy object enthusiasts who we should invite to test the new service. I came across forth.fi, and found a guy named Jonas Forth whose flickr photos and writings were full of appreciation and passion for objects — and the stories behind them. So I emailed Jonas, and asked him to join the Thinglink beta community.

Within a couple of months Jonas became the most active member of the group with others who started following him and asking advice and help in product identification and valuation. With his professional background and interest in media, and passion in quality objects, Thinglink was a good match for Jonas too.

It is therefore our great pleasure to announce that after two years of active community participation, Jonas has officially joined Thinglink as its new community manager. In this position Jonas will start developing publisher and brand community relations, key account management and community events.

Jonas has over ten years of experience of content production for TV, web and print through positions at YLE, Kinoproduction and MediaCity, specializing in storytelling in cross- and trans-media environments. He has also worked with coordination of productions, conferences and co-projects. Jonas has a Masters degree in political science with a focus on journalism and mass communication. Through his personal interest in design he has promoted design history, individual objects and product development for most of his adult life. He even has his own regular slot in the Finnish-Swedish television as design expert. All in all, there couldn’t be a better person to understand the richness of links that an object can have to its environment — and how all that will eventually change the media.

Follow Jonas on Twitter and on forth.fi.

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Thinglink helps Seiska Engage Readers

Improving reader engagement and retention are among several key challenges facing online publishers. That’s why Seiska, Finland’s largest weekly magazine, is transforming their images with in-image links by Thinglink.

“Tell me and I forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand,“ sub-editor Lide Murto from Seiska magazine, quotes Benjamin Franklin when sharing her view on the importance and role of pictures in today’s media. Thinglink gives reader a possibility to involve deeper as they study the picture in detail.

Lide works for Seiska, Finland’s largest weekly magazine with a circulation of over 220 000.  The magazine’s online version Seiska.fi features celebrity and fashion photos.  The popular site receives around 200 000 unique visitors per week.

“At Seiska we pay special attention to the selection of pictures.  Too often in media we see examples where illustration is done carelessly, for example the caption and the illustration don’t work well together. There is an article telling of a miserable celebrity, but a picture of a smiling celebrity is featured.  In Seiska we think that every picture is full of details. The details tell much more of the person and situation in the picture than the distinguished look on the face”, says Lide.

Thinglink as an editorial tool

Web Editor Milla Leinonen works daily with online photos, writing interesting captions with all the juicy details about photos.  Thinglink adds a new and exciting dimension to her work.  Now she can Thinglink the people, places and things in images to past Seiska stories about them, their style and lives. Thinglink also provides publishers with real-time data on how readers interact with images, including metrics on views, hovers and mouse clicks.

Milla says the Thinglink tool is easy to use and it increases reader engagement and time spent at seiska.fi.

Images in mobile and tablet devices

Seiska’s editorial staff believe that images will play a more central role in the future. As reading online magazines on mobile and tablet devices becomes more common, images will become a key navigational surface for search.

Want to improve reader engagement at your blog like Seiska? Create a Thinglink account and implement your personal tagging tool today.

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Koto Living blog likes Thinglink

Koto Living is a Finnish lifestyle blog featuring tips on creating Christmas decorations and gifts, along with product recommendations, food recipes and more.

Host and editor Anu Harkki recently added Thinglink in-image tags to her photo inventory. Thinglink lets you tell the story of things inside your photos. You can link objects (people, places and things) to information channels (Facebook, Twitter, video, e-stores and more) and foster social connection around things.

“When Thinglink was enabled on my blog I became extremely happy,” said Anu. “Using Thinglinks, we’re improving the experience of readers by connecting Koto Living products directly to points-of-sale and fun information.”

In addition to blogging, Anu Harkki has hosted two seasons of a DIY & Crafts show, Ratula, on Sub TV Finland. See video with Anu sharing her Thinglink experience (in Finnish)

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How to enable Thinglink with TypePad

1. Sign up on Thinglink


2. Under your account information, click the blue link Add Thinglink to your entire site



3. The little code snippet is your personal tagging tool. Choose Copy to Clipboard


4. Sign in to your TypePad account. Choose Desing tab from the top navigation followed by Content from the left hand side navigation


5. Scroll down the modules list, choose Embed your own HTML and Add this module . You can name your module as you wish, then click OK and save.

10. Next time you browse your TypePad blog images, a Thinglink icon appears in the left hand corner of your pictures.


11. By choosing the edit, you can add image tags and links. Happy tagging!

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Chez Pim Launches Thinglink

She quit her Silicon Valley job in 2005 to pursue a career in food reporting. Now Chez Pim writes one of the most popular food and travel blogs in the world at Chez Pim where she chronicles her globetrotting adventures –and misadventures- in the world of all things edible, from her kitchen in Northern California, to the vibrant street-side fares in Asia and the refined world of Three Michelin Star restaurants.

This week Chez Pim launched Thinglink image tags in Pim’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. Thinglink makes objects in photos clickable and connects readers more quickly to featured products, foods, restaurants and travel services. So if you see something you like in an image, you can link directly to more information about it or a retail store where you can buy it.

Pim’s recipes, writings, and photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appétit magazine, and more. She’s also moonlighted as a judge on Iron Chef America, been profiled on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, Food(ography), and cooked Pad Thai for Martha on the Martha Stewart Show.

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How to enable Thinglink with Drupal

There are two ways to enable Thinglink with Drupal. If you are familiar with running scripts and installing modules you can try out a Thinglink module for Drupal developed by Peter Rukavina. Alternatively you can follow the instructions below to enable Thinglink with Drupal.

1. Sign up for Thinglink


2. You will see Add Thinglink to your entire site in your right hand corner, choose that



3. Now you see your personal Thinglink code. Choose Copy to Clipboard



4. Log into your Drupal site as an administrator. Choose Administer and Site building from the left hand side menu.



6. Click on Add block



7. Name your block Thinglink and paste your code from Thinglink site here



8. Choose your Thinglink block and select footer from the drop-down menu



9. Now you see Thinglink as a part of your footer



10. Next time you browse your Drupal site images, a Thinglink icon appears in the left hand corner of your pictures.



11. By choosing the edit, you can add image tags and links. Happy tagging!

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Enable Thinglink with Tumblr

Thanks to Justin Kadis, here are instructions to enable Thinglink with Tumblr:

1. Sign up for Thinglink
2. Login to your Tumblr account and click Customize
3. Click the Info tab and copy your code from this link to the Description box
4. From now on, once you stay logged into Thinglink at the same time as your browse your blog, the images will have a Thinglink Icon in the upper left corner. Click on Icon and an Edit button appears
5. The Thinglink tool tagging tool will appear. You can add your links and tags freely to all your images on the blog. Happy tagging! The statistics for your image views, hovers and click are in your statistics page

Justin extends the range of imaginable use for Thinglink by tagging his new puppy Ajax and writes: “[Thinglink] is a really cool product that enables individuals and companies to explain their photos in further detail, drive traffic to wherever they’d like and track statistics on clicks and other metrics.”

Thanks again for the Tumblr instructions, Justin, and please let us know when you discover new use cases for in-image tags!

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How to enable Thinglink with WordPress

Enabling Thinglink for WordPress is very easy with the Plugin. The plugin is made by ThingLink together with an external developer RJW and then developed further. Go to WordPress and use the plugin directly or  follow this path to enable Thinglink with the plugin:

1. Login to your WordPress account and choose plugins from the left hand side menu

 

2. Click on Add new and add Thinglink as a search phrase


 

3. Make sure that it is the newest version of the plugin and click on Install (Here it shows as Installed)


4. Activate plugin

5. Choose settings, add your Thinglink ID which you can find from here

Now you are all set. Once you browse your blog images, you will see the Thinglink icon in the left hand corner of your imges, click on that an you can edit your tags.

 

UPDATE: Does ThingLink work on WordPress.com?

Thinglink works with sites using WordPress.org. However, enabling Thinglink for blogs hosted on WordPress.com is unfortunately not currently possible.

This is due to the fact that WordPress.com does not allow plugins that contain Javascript code. At this point we do not have a solution for this. However, we are looking for ways to enable Thinglink on WordPress.com as well, and hope that this will be possible at some point!

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