Building the future of entertainment at Hollywood Hack Day

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.


ThingLink inspired a number of hacks that weekend, including rich media tags for Rdio and Polldaddy (see below).

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, 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.

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ThingLink Launches Image Application Development Environment

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, 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:

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Salil Wilson – My Journey to ThingLink

By Salil Wilson

On first hearing about ThingLink (a Finnish based tech start up) I have to confess I was less than enthusiastic. Admittedly it was not the best introduction, it was over a meal with no demonstration. Just a good friend leaning forward and eagerly telling me rich media image tagging was going to be the next big thing.

It was one of those awkward moments where you know the person will be disappointed if you don’t respond with equal to or greater than the level of enthusiasm at which the information is being conveyed.

My initial thoughts were “What is rich media tagging?” and, “Why would you want to tag photos anyway?” (If you haven’t guessed I’m one of the 5 remaining people on earth who aren’t active on Facebook.)

I didn’t hear anymore about ThingLink from this fellow for about 2 weeks – he was obviously not fooled by my feigned interest. But, as with all evangalists, he couldn’t resist and sent me a link to the image below.

I was fascinated by this apparently quite a famous photo of the original Microsoft staff and all the extra information it contained thanks to ThingLink. I clicked on every single link and got a small sense of how each one of these people went on to live their lives – a little like a school graduation book. The next step for me, as it is for all ThingLink adopters, was to make my first ThingLink(ed) image. So I made one about the World Harmony Run – an event I organize and love.

It was very simple and great of fun. I could easily combine elements that would normally be beyond my reach or take hours of fiddling with html and ThingLink did it in a cleaner more functional and engaging way. (OK I’m not a web developer but neither are 99% of us).

I have since gone on to make quite a few ThingLink (ed) images and info-graphics and am even consulting for ThingLink. You can find many of these images at ThingLink and Learn. Here’s one below I’m quite proud of.



I continue to be surprised at how remarkably well ThingLink works – many times it does things that exceed my expectations. Just check out how well this Ipad info-graphic meshes with the Itunes rich media tags – I didn’t see that coming.

ThingLink is an idea whose time has come. It brings together many engaging elements of the web, combining them in a way where the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.

ThingLink has made me understand what mashup really is – and it is done really elegantly, after all what would you expect from those Finns.

Salil Wilson is Executive Director of the World Harmony Run – a global torch relay dedicated to World Peace. When he’s not running around the world with a torch he consults for ThingLink.

Visit the ThingLink team at the American Association of School Librarians 15th National Conference and ExhibitionBooth #330 – on October 27-30 in Minneapolis, MN.

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ThingLink creates printable online interactive images with NFC tags

Today at Wired 2011 in London we announced the launch of ThingLink Labs; a dedicated environment from which to incubate and productize innovations in the field of image interaction. The launch project for ThingLink Labs is Rich Media Notes, a printable version of ThingLink images with Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled Rich Media Tags that are readable by enabled smartphones and devices.

ThingLink will showcase Rich Media Notes for the first time at Wired 2011 in London on 13th & 14th October in collaboration with famous London-based designer Klaus Haapaniemi, whose installation at the event will showcase NFC-enabled interaction with images and physical objects. Delegates attending Wired 2011 will be given customised Rich Media Notes which, when read by an NFC enabled device, will link through to a purpose-built ThingLink profile image or their page on personal web profile service, “When images and everyday objects become access points to web content,  the consumption and distribution of online media will change from laptop to mobile devices,” commented Ulla Engeström, CEO of ThingLink. “With Rich Media Notes, we are creating demand for new kinds of enhanced, printable products such as posters, flyers and handouts that carry rich media web content, discoverable through NFC.”

Rich Media Notes will be make it possible to print ThingLink content-embedded images as posters, photos or physical goods – harnessing the best content the web has to offer and encouraging deeper engagement from consumers. A printed image can now contain a song, a video, a blogpost or a link to an online community. Until now NFC has been used primarily in the field of payments, but Rich Media Notes will enable users for the first time to create unique, creative opportunities in the fields of marketing, publishing, advertising, entertainment and education.

“ is about bringing together users’ online identities into one place as well as offering a single home for their social media outreach,” said Tony Conrad, co-founder of “Our collaboration with ThingLink’s Rich Media Notes offers a glimpse into the future of how people will tell and share their own stories through pioneering tech such as NFC.”

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 and already allow the in-image embedding of links from some of the world’s leading social content platforms such as YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Amazon, Etsy and many more.

For the Wired 2011 launch, Rich Media Notes have been created in collaboration with UPM RFID, providers of NFC tags, and TagAge, providers of NFC printing solutions. For more information on Rich Media Notes head over to

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Gorillaz & Blink182 Roll Out ThingLink Campaigns

Two massive bands both rolled out ThingLink campaigns in the last week — and even though virtually the only thing they have in common is an alt-rock radio airplay, they both demonstrated that ThingLink can help push fan engagement around new albums into overdrive.

For the past ten years, Gorillaz have been one of the most visually and musically inventive bands — so it only made sense that they would carry that spirit into the announcement of their new singles collection. Their label, Parlophone, used a handful of ThingLink embeds throughout the front page of the Gorillaz site to create a version of a scavenger hunt — and the results were off the charts, with almost every visitor clicking through to content at one point.

Blink 182, the beloved pop-punk act that is reuniting for the first time in several years, also used ThingLink to help promote their new album, as well as a contest sponsored by Absolute Punk.  ThingLink creative director Jonas Forth developed the animated cinemagraph of the album cover which first appeared on Absolute Punk, generating such positive feedback that Hypebot wrote it up, and it now appears on Blink 182’s homepage.

When I was on the road last week, as both these implementations were being rolled out, I was pitching ThingLink to artists big and small virtually non-stop. And I finally hit on the beauty of ThingLink — the user is really the one who determines what to make of it. Plenty of artists — hell, plenty of bloggers — can just use ThingLink for fun, to jazz up images, and experiment. I used ThingLink on my personal Tumblr to add videos to pictures of my dog and my favorite beer, just for giggles. But if you want to do something really meaty — animation, puzzles, scavenger hunts — that’s doable as well, and not all that much harder than simply embedding a track or video.

And for other labels — well, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Parlophone and Interscope  released cool campaigns last week, Atlantic the week before; the big question is which label will rise to the challenge next?

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How to connect with ThingLink

Do you have a question, suggestion or are you just curious about what ThingLink is up to? Over the past year we’ve established channels which help you to get in contact with us whenever you want or need to. We have strived to listen to and help each and every one of our users and we will continue doing so. This is how you can reach us:

Facebook and Twitter. On our social networks we post new creatives examples and listen to any problems and suggestions you might have. Feel free to Like and Follow us to keep up to date with the latest.

Get Satisfaction: This is our support forum where you can find answers to most common issues that other users have encountered as well. If you have trouble installing ThingLink on your site, have a suggestion on how we could make the tagging tool better or you think that you’ve found a bug in our system, please submit a comment in our forum and we’ll respond.

ThingLink gallery: In our gallery you will find curated content created with ThingLink. We select the best tagged images for you, in order to show what you can do with our tagging tool and provide you with inspiration to do even better.

ThingLink’s blog: On our blog we post news about new features, hires and clients. If you like our posts, please leave a comment.

YouTube and Flickr: If you want to check out new features, instructions and pictures of ThingLink in action we upload much of our content here.

Discover our channels. Just hover and click.

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Album Covers Go Interactive With ThingLink

by Cortney Harding

Twenty years ago, I went to a record store in a mall in Clackamas, Oregon and bought a copy of Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” I tore the cellophane off the cassette and eagerly pulled out the packaging, looking at the photos of the three strange looking men with odd-colored hair and clothes fresh from the Goodwill. I wanted to know everything about them — based on that one image, I took trips to the library to read Rolling Stone, watched for their videos on MTV, and listened to that cassette until it wore out.

I wrote that extremely dated paragraph to prove a point — fans want to interact with artists based on images. And those most iconic artist images, their album covers, are key points of entry for many listeners. Luckily iTunes and Spotify haven’t destroyed album cover art — they simply made it another image to be shared and utilized.

ThingLink makes it easy for artists to transform an album image into a shareable container for music, videos and social connection. Now I don’t have to go to the library and page through back issues for more information on an artist. Inside an album image I can click on a link and read a blog post in a nanosecond. Ditto for waiting for a video to show up on the TV — just hit the YouTube link. And while listening to a new track once required waiting for radio to spin it, now it’s a matter of hitting a Soundcloud music player. And…well, you get the picture.

People, especially kids, still get excited about album releases. And what better way to connect news about the album with an interactive cover that contains music, video and more. In a way, it’s almost like going back to days of unfolding vinyl albums or CD booklets — people want to interact with the album art, but now they have an even deeper way to do it.

Take the cover of the recently announced Bruno Mars single, “It Will Rain,” which is also the lead track from the forthcoming Twilight soundtrack. The album cover shows Mars slouched beneath an umbrella and featured links to the Twilight trailer as well as his social media properties. It created the right mix of branding (rain, the umbrella) with an air of mystery — there was really no way to tell what the song was about, merely a call to keep following and figuring it out.

And what Mars’s team did is just the beginning. As I talked about in my previous post, a label could make a game out of spreading pieces of the cover and clips of a track around the web and asking fans to help put it together. Album announcements could feature a recorded clip from an artist with a special message that is changed daily, or pulled after 100 listens. Different pieces of the album art could feature different song clips.


The days of buying cassettes at the mall are long over (and thankfully, the associated hairstyles are lost to the ages, too) but the desire to interact with album artwork is as alive as ever.

Cortney Harding is a music evangelist for start-ups, including ThingLink and She was previously the music editor and indies correspondent at Billboard magazine, and knows way too much about the music industry for any sane person. Follow her on Twitter or on Tumblr.


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ThingLink Reveals In-Image Sound Recording and Etsy Shop Tag at Hello Etsy! in Berlin

BERLIN, GERMANY (17 September 2011) – ThingLink CEO Ulla Engeström revealed today at the Hello Etsy! Conference in Berlin an in-image sound recording feature that Etsy sellers can use to record stories about their crafts — inside an image.

Created in partnership with SoundCloud, the new feature lets craft makers record personal stories and descriptions about their products by clicking a record link on the ThingLink editor – inside an image. Now any hosted crafts image can be converted into an ad hoc broadcast platform, providing an innovative and engaging method of sharing audio-based product descriptions and placing audio recordings inside an image. See examples here.

“Images play an important role in creating engagement and interest about locally produced objects and crafts,” said ThingLink CEO Ulla Engeström. As a lifelong friend and creator of arts and crafts, I’m delighted to offer a variety of image interaction tools that can bring images new dimensions of personalization and socialization to sharing.”

The new tools announced today will also enable Etsy users to bring add their shop on top of their craft images. The new Etsy Shop rich media tag reveals detailed information about a craft item and leads viewers to an Etsy shop with one click, offering thus a new powerful way to connect craft blogs with Etsy.

“There is a real person behind each product on Etsy, and Thinglink makes it possible for our vendors to let their products tell their stories anywhere on the web, says Matt Stinchcomb, director of Etsy Europe.

Brian McNamara, the founder of Rarebeasts, a small electronics design lab in Canberra, Australia, added, “It’s a great interface and perfect for the kind of products I sell on Etsy.”

ThingLink’s array of rich media tags includes the most popular services such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Eventbrite, SoundCloud, iTunes, and Twitter.

Sign up for a ThingLink account
and start tagging your images today. Check out the video on how to set up your account and create your own blog with rich media content like the Etsy tag.

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ThingLink Launches e-Commerce Tags For iTunes And Topspin, Offers New Options For SoundCloud Users

ThingLink, the provider of in-image interaction tools and Rich Media Tags, today announced the creation of exclusive e-commerce tags for Apple Inc’s online retail platform, iTunes and independent artist promotional platform, Topspin. Artists hosting their music through wider audio creators platform SoundCloud can now also import third party ‘buy’ links to their profiles via ThingLink’s Rich Media Tag system.

From today, music artists and their promoters can embed ‘buy now’ links to iTunes or to a Topspin custom store in the images they use throughout the web. Any hosted image – from artist pictures, album cover art or event photography – can now be converted into an ad hoc music store, providing an innovative and engaging new method of getting new music into the hands of those who want it most.

“By providing an embeddable, direct route to purchase, ThingLink’s e-commerce tags remove another barrier between artists and fans looking to buy their music,” commented Neil Vineberg, ThingLink CMO. “As a team we’re keen to progress the conversation on how music retail is evolving, and teaming up with platforms of the calibre of iTunes, Topspin and SoundCloud can only help us to achieve that aim.”

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 and already allow the in-image embedding of links from some of the world’s leading social content platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and many more.

“We at Topspin are fans of any method of distributing artist offers, especially when the method is as simple and powerful as adding ‘buy now’ links to artist images,” says Ian Rogers, Topspin CEO. “Photos are a big source of traffic for artists, so it makes sense to attach links to artist offers and let those images travel the web.”

For more information on creating Rich Media Tags, visit ThingLink or check out out most awesome Music Guide instructing you how to make the most out of the service.


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