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Make your website ultra sticky with interactive photo tags

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The evolution of photo sharing

The recent release of the Timeline feature on Facebook, sites becoming more picture friendly (jux), and business cards becoming stylishly virtual (flavors, aboutme), there is no doubt that photos are big on marketers’ and consumers’ minds. Other social media sites surrounding photo sharing have recently hopped on the bandwagon such as houzz and Pinterest.com that have grown exponentially.

They have taken the lead for fast-growing niche photo sharing sites and more specifically photos of interiors, homes and lifestyle which are on people’s minds. Now, bring in tagging people, places and things, and photos are beginning to provide a lot more information than simply a two dimensional visual. Photos are quick (for our ever-shrinking attention spans), scanable with the eye, and immediately tell us what it is that we want to know. It sounds so simple.

Now, if a photo could actually possess a thousand words, enter San Francisco based startup, Stipple which enjoys backing from big name investors like Justin Timberlake and AngelList Co-Founder Naval Ravikant.

Their main target market appears to be vendors and e-commerce sites along with photographers to be able to profit off of each time a consumer purchases a product from their stipple tag. If this tag is then clicked on, that vendor receives a percentage of the purchase as demonstrated in the video below, but as you watch the video, imagine how it could be used on your own site, even for highlighting data that is not retail related:


Creative applications for Stipple

What else can you see this being useful for? How can interactive photos make your business better?

Looking past their initial offerings of tagging, the technology and ease of use is pretty straight forward for anyone with a bit of knowledge of WordPress or the tiniest bit of HTML. A few lines of code and you’re in (and did I mention its free!?). Next, add as much information as your audience would enjoy.

Stipple may not be fit for every blogger, but I see this as being incredibly useful in my own business as a real estate broker to make a local real estate website interactive. Think about it – throw in some neighborhood info, third party crime, education and lifestyle stats and boom, you have a fully interactive neighborhood summary in one photo and the consumer never has to leave that page. Take it a step further, add the average house values, integrate with picketreport.com, and even a call to action, and you’re one step closer to amazing site interaction.

The image below took about an extra 30 seconds to tag and these will be displayed directly on the blog. All information can be stored within each photo and is presented as users hover over each information-containing dot (click to see it in action).

And what would a cool product be without the integration of some analytics? Stipple even offers basic data on how many times each dot is hovered over, or how often a photo is hovered over.

Reinforcing brand recognition and interaction is the name of the game here. Instead of consumers having to go back and forth between sites and pages, and then linked elsewhere, everything is right here which is a win for any site owner and is convenient for consumers.

Amanda Lopez is a real estate broker and founder of Style House Realty in Baltimore, Md. She has worked in the real estate industry for over 6 years and prior to that studied advertising, branding and web design. Refusing to believe the real estate industry had to be bland and boring in design and appeal to everyone, she set out to bring some style and technology into the mix. Amanda can most likely be found with coffee that got cold, great shoes, her mind in the sky and her evernote app open.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Bobby Carroll

    January 9, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Some very cool ideas for sure. Can you provide examples of RE sites that are using this?

  2. Roland Estrada

    January 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Very cool!!! Time to start experimenting.

  3. Amanda

    January 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Bobby, from what I could tell, no one else is using it this way except us… i know, we're like so on it;) jk. actually i heard about this company awhile ago and was shocked no one else had done this and it seems like their webpage has been pretty quiet as of late. However, i'll be following up on this soon with some more information and other examples of uses.

    If you have any examples, please email them to me to check out!
    -amanda

  4. Jason Stoddard

    January 11, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Great finds. CPG and industrial design/product marketers should be all over this especially as it applies to real estate marketing. You always see an interior/exterior hero photo… but often the value add of a habitat/space lies beneath the brick/mortar/stucco/drywall/cabinet/ceiling. Thanks for the heads up on Stipple. In[Genius] business model.

  5. Andrew Mooers

    January 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    A picture can tell a thousands words but do the math. Videos have up to 60 "pictures" per second. Add in natural sound to bring in way way more detail, to bring in one more of your senses for extra information, and whoa. MEOW.

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Social Media

Can Twitter ever secure data privacy, like even once?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter releases private information affecting already hurting businesses, should this even be a surprise anymore? They have a history of privacy breaches.

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twitter privacy

Dear Twitter,

I don’t know if you’ve seen the news within the past two years, but Facebook’s been under continuous scrutiny for privacy malpractices that affected millions of its users, so unless your goal is to be the next social network to infringe upon our first amendment right to privacy, I suggest you GET IT TOGETHER!

Over the weekend, users, specifically businesses, realized their billing information was being stored in their browsers cache. This is devastating news for business owners who rely on Twitter to promote their product, or stay in touch with their customers, who over the recent months have already faced monumental challenges. It is hard as a business owner to not feel this is an intentional overreach of privacy.

In an age where we have actual robots to vacuum our floors, and 3D printing, I speak for the people when I say this is unacceptable.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has been caught privacy breaching. A little over a year ago, Twitter announced that they were fixing a bug, many weren’t even aware of, that released phone numbers, location, and other personal data. AND GET THIS, even those who selected the option to keep their information private were affected, so what the hell is the point of asking us our preference in the first place?!!!

What about the time that Twitter accounts could be highjacked by ISIS and used to spread propaganda? All because Twitter didn’t require an email confirmation for account access. Or what about when Twitter stored your passwords in plaintext instead of something easily more secure. Flaws like these show a distinct ability of Twitter to just half ass things; to make it work, but not think about how to keep the users safe.

Like I said in the beginning, get it together Twitter.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Forecast wants ‘qualified’ predictions, but no one’s asking why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook is asking a bunch of so-called experts to chime in on what the future holds, but can we trust them with the information we’re giving them?

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Forecast app

These days, trolls don’t necessarily lurk beneath bridges in order to ensnare unsuspecting travelers. Instead, they hide out in the comment sections on social media posts, ready to incite wrath and stir up controversy with their incendiary remarks. Because Facebook knows how quickly reasonable discourse can quickly devolve thanks in part to these online trolls, they’ve made a move to establish intelligent discussions through their new “Forecast” app.

The premise of Forecast is fairly straightforward. Facebook has invited an assortment of so-called experts (whether they work in the medical field or academia, or some other field) to cast their vote on predictions about the future. Not only will they share their vote, though, they’ll also pitch in their own two cents about these predictions, sparking what is expected to be insightful and reasonable conversation about the topics.

However, while the premise is exciting (smart people! not basement dwellers! talking about serious stuff!), there’s more than a small amount of risk associated with Forecast. For starters, what exactly is Facebook planning on doing with all of this information that is being volunteered on their app? And secondly, are they going to take precautions to help prevent the spread of misinformation when these results are eventually published?

The fact is, Facebook is notorious for propagating and spreading misinformation. Now, I’m not blaming Facebook itself for this issue. Rather, the sheer volume of its user base inevitably leads to flame wars and dishonesty. You can’t spell “Fake News” with at least a couple of the same letters used in Facebook. Or something like that. The problem arises when people see the results of these polls, recognize that the information is being presented by these hand-picked experts, and then immediately takes them at face value.

It’s not so much that most people are simple minded or unable to think for themselves; rather, they’re primed to believe that the admittedly educated guesses from these experts are somehow better, smarter, than what would be presented to them by the average layperson. The bias is inherent in the selection process of who is and isn’t allowed to vote. By excluding everyday folks like you and me (I certainly wasn’t given an invite!), undue prestige may be attributed to these projections.

At the moment, many of these projections are silly bits of fluff. One question asks, “Will Tiger King on Netflix get a spinoff season?” Another one wonders, “Will Mulan debut on Disney+ at the same time as or instead of a theatrical release?” But other questions? Well, they’re a little more serious than that. And speculating on serious issues (such as COVID-19, or the presidential election) can lead to the spread of serious — and potentially dangerous — misinformation.

Facebook has implemented very strict guidelines about what types of questions are allowed and which ones are forbidden. That, at least, is a step in the right direction. It’s no secret that expectation can actually lead to the predicted outcomes, directly influencing actions and behaviors. While it’s too early to tell if Forecast will ever gain that much power, it undoubtedly puts us in a position of wondering if and when intervention may be necessary.

But I’ll be honest with you: I don’t exactly trust Facebook’s ability to put this cultivated information to good use. Sometimes a troll doesn’t have to be overtly provocative in order to be effective, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see someone in a position of power exploit the results of these polls to influence the public. It’ll be interesting to see if Forecast is still around in the next few years, but alas, there’s no option for me to submit my vote on that to find out.

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Social Media

Well established Pinterest has a new competitor, Google Keen

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Google is constantly playing catch up, their new target is Pinterest. They have a new photo sharing social media app called Google Keen.

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Google Keen

It looks like Pinterest might finally have some competition: Google Keen. Notice the heavy emphasis on the word “might”.

It’s not hard to see why Google might feel a tad encroached upon by Pinterest, a photo-sharing and search-based platform; while Pinterest’s impact is relatively small in terms of taking traffic from the G-people themselves, any competition is unwelcome in Google’s eyes–perhaps justifying their move toward creating their own version of Pinterest.

Google Keen isn’t a direct ripoff–after all, they changed the name–but the general principle is the same: Users can create a “keen” for a specific visual topic, thus allowing them to search for, and add images of that topic. Google was quick to cite “bread” as a possible topic, which, according to Social Media Today, is a direct nod to recent Pinterest trends.

Subtlety never was Google’s strongest suit, and that seems to be a theme they’re reiterating here. Perhaps that’s why the Google Graveyard, a site we’ve addressed in the past, is full of tools that didn’t live up to their original inspiration (one of the latest additions being the half-baked Google Hangouts). Google Keen shows promise, but one can’t help but remember how Google’s Circles feature fared in Facebook’s shadow.

Keen is available for web and Android platforms, which answers one question while raising a few more. For example, while it makes sense that Google would brand Keen for their own smartphone audience, iPhone Google usage is notably high, and the Pinterest crowd loves a clean aesthetic (that’s another point in the Apple camp). As such, it might be in Google’s best Pinterests–I mean, interests–to implement an iPhone presence for the app as well.

It is worth noting that Google has taken deliberate inspiration from Pinterest in a lot of ways. So Keen may be a way for them to tout their adopted features and familiarize users with them so that, in the long run, they are able to begin migrating traffic back to their own platform from Pinterest. In a time in which any competition may open the door to disaster down the road, this is a move that, despite skepticism, makes sense.

After all, the Google Graveyard is operating at capacity, yet the tech behemoth continues to chug away. Who knows where their newest “innovation” may take them?

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