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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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There’s a subreddit that is literally moving the stock market

(SOCIAL MEDIA) “You can’t change the world on Reddit all day.” Hm. Wanna bet? Some people do bet on whether a stock will rise or fall on Reddit.

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Stock market

I don’t gamble. RIP to Mister Kenny Rogers, but this whole folding, holding, walking, running business is bad for my heart.

So playing the stock market is out for me, but apparently, you don’t even need an accountant to place your bets? The good, if foul mouthed, people of r/WSB aren’t just proving that, their playing and paying outside the traditional trading room is actually moving markets!

The subreddit, full name r/wallstreetbets, is 900,000 users strong, and boasts members that have been involved for years. They show off their stock market wins, losses, jokes, and opinions with varying levels of insight on all contributions.

Ordinarily, this’d just be an interesting collection of folks talking stock, but some of their threads have been shown to have an effect on share prices!

Users don’t just share what and how they’ve traded, they also gamble on what stock prices will do, without actually purchasing or selling any. Options contracts allow users to cast lots for less cash, while retaining the power to show actual purchases as hotter or colder and literally moving the temperature dial on them by word of mouth (and possibly pure conjecture) alone.

So I could hop in, put a marginal amount of money down, and say ‘Stock in Pressure Valve Company X is going to go up since more people are buying bidets in the wake of the Corona-based toilet paper hoarders, and they’re a key component’, then pepper in some off-color jokes about personal hygiene and everyone’s moms to blend in, and potentially wait to collect!

Neat.

After all, not only are surges of humans looking at these bets, web algorithms and cookie crawlers are staring too. It’s chatrooms of the dotcom boom all over again, except more chaotic, more gif-laden, and more monitored by outside forces.

It’d be sinister if the vibe of the sub wasn’t ‘Take literally nothing seriously’. Try discussing ‘chicken tendies’ in a boardroom sometime and see what I mean…although the tide on that might be shifting as well.

The one forbidden thing here is actually using the forum for insider trading. Directly profiting from the rumors gets users exiled, and gets users interacting with them booted too.

Serious business actually DOES occur, who would have thought? I wouldn’t have. Which is why I don’t gamble.

It’s easy to write Reddit off as just an online echo chamber slash cesspool, but when it comes down to it, the American Psychos of the world are on the same internet as the basement-dwellers, and the gap in financial literacy between the two ends of the spectrum is pulling a reverse Pangea.

We need to start recognizing that.

I’m still staying away from 4Chan though.

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Facebook messenger gets a major facelift for speed

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook messenger has been around a loooooong time and has started to suffer from build bloat. So the new project lightspeed has redesigned it.

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facebook messenger

If you’ve ever spent time in an old-school, family-built home, then you have an idea of what the inner workings of the Facebook Messenger app look like. It began with just a few rooms, but as the needs of the family grew, they kept adding on rooms wherever they fit until the layout no longer made sense and the home became a bloated maze.

Facebook Messenger has been suffering growing pains ever since it branched off into its own app in 2011. As the app became more popular developers worked to make it more engaging by adding new features like stickers, GIFS, and video calls.

At some point, they realized that the app had gotten away from them. The Facebook Messenger currently on your device has move 1.7 million lines of code. An app that big is slow and takes up a ton of valuable space on users devices, so the team knew it was time for a change. The project became internally as Project LightSpeed.

Facebook Messenger is a valuable app for connecting with friends, family, and business connections across the globe. You don’t even need to be Facebook friends with someone to message them making it an invaluable tool for long-distance teams or new business connections. In recent years, the app has begun to slow down making it vulnerable to competitors like WhatsApp.

The development team’s goal for the new app was to make it small, fast, and simple. In order to achieve this Facebook’s team of engineers has reduced the core code by 84%, taking the original 1.7 million lines of code down to 360,000. The new app will be about a quarter of the size of the current app.

A smaller app will load quicker and be more responsive, even if you’re using an older device or you’re in an area with lower connectivity. Current tests put the new app as being twice as fast as the current version, while keeping all the features that users have come to expect. Don’t worry, you will still be able to send your friends stickers, pictures, and obnoxious amounts of GIFs.

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Facebook wants to hear from you. Literally. For innocent reasons

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As if Facebook didn’t already own everything that is you, they are asking to hear you say a specific phrase for their new voice services.

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facebook portal

Good news, Facebook is now offering to pay you to let strangers listen to you! Well, kind of.

Users connect to Viewpoints – a different app under the Facebook umbrella – which allows them to participate in market research. In this case, participants repeat the phrase “Hey Portal, call,” followed by the name of a Facebook friend, and submit the recording. The whole ordeal is about five minutes, tops.

By finishing this and other tasks, participants can expect to make a grand total of…$5. It’s not much, but at least that’s a fancy cup of coffee for work you can do while waiting for the ads to finish on your TV show.

So, why is Facebook shelling out $5 for people to make voice recordings? Surprisingly, it’s because AI is not nearly as smart as we sometimes assume – especially when it comes to voice commands. There’s a whole host of things that go into how we communicate, like posture, tone and even slang, which can make understanding vocal commands a much bigger ordeal.

In order to make improvements to the system, it often requires teams of humans putting in the leg-work. This means studying the disconnect between humans and machines, as well as creating solutions. Unfortunately, this human touch is also the excuse companies like Amazon use to justify listening in on your conversations. (Sure, users can ‘opt out’ but come on. That’s not exactly something Amazon advertises.)

As more people grow aware of the potential breach of privacy that tech like Alexa or Portal can bring, however, it’s put pressure on companies to scale back. Which is where Facebook’s new paid survey comes in. Unlike an anonymous employee listening in on a random Portal conversation, this way participants opt in, rather than out, of having their information shared.

The academic in me is slightly skeptical. There’s only so far a paid study like this can get, especially when it comes to the nuances of voice command. The conspiracy theorist in me is also skeptical, mostly because although Facebook promises they won’t sell your information or publicly share it, there’s still plenty of nefarious things to be done. That said, at the end of the day, at least Facebook isn’t just swiping information off your Portal…and you even get some pocket change in exchange.

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