ClickBerry Makes Videos Into Clickable Gateways to Shopping and Sharing

12/5/12Follow @tanseyverse

New Web technologies that once seemed like ultimate breakthroughs—such as streaming video online—may soon appear too slow or too static for our accelerating expectations. But from this impatience, new companies are often born.

Entrepreneur Alex Babin’s wife was watching a cooking show video a few years ago, and she wanted to find the recipe. Babin’s first impulse was to touch or click on the video to call the recipe up, as he would on an interactive Web page. But the video could not do what he’d come to expect of media—present a rich entryway leading to many other rooms full of information. Babin’s wife had to haul out her laptop to get the recipe.

Babin founded ClickBerry two years ago to change that. In September, the Los Altos startup launched a platform that allows a Web or iPad user to tag the friends laughing in her video, add links to their blog sites, post the video on Facebook, and encourage others to share it. Using ClickBerry, a home chef with a small business can tag the bottle of artisan chipotle sauce he uses in a cooking video, and link it to a landing page where viewers can buy the concoction from him. Another link on the video can open to his recipes.

“Everybody understands that this is how video will evolve,’’ Babin says. “Nobody has defined the exact path.’’

Video entrepreneurs have been inspired by Facebook’s $1 billion purchase this year of Instagram, which transformed still photos by making them easier to share and improve with artistic filters, says ClickBerry’s vice president of marketing, Nico Cunningham.

An example of a video tagged with ClickBerry

An example of a video tagged with ClickBerry

“What’s the video equivalent of Instagram?’’ is the question video pioneers are asking, Cunningham says. “This space is blowing up in terms of tons of different solutions in the marketplace.’’

Clickberry’s strategy has been evolving since it was founded in Russia and later expanded to include a Bay area headquarters. The technical side of annotating videos was not the company’s biggest challenge; in fact, people had been doing it for a more than a decade, Babin says. For example, VideoClix Technologies of Vancouver, Canada, founded in 1999, now offers interactive video production services to big commercial clients such as Kraft Foods.

Babin said he opted instead to serve consumers and mid-level media professionals by creating a set of easily mastered tools, rather than competing with big enterprise media services in the space, such as Adobe.

Consumers can use ClickBerry’s apps for the Mac, PC, or iPad to add interactive elements to their videos. For example, they can create a frame or “hotspot” around a landmark pictured in a video, and tag it with a link to a Web page about the building’s history. They can attach a Facebook Like button or a shopping cart widget to a video about a piece of handmade jewelry. The videos can be shared on Facebook through a link to ClickBerry’s cloud storage site, where the videos reside.

Babin says the company is learning from its earliest customers how to entice Web users to try ClickBerry, just as they quickly adopted Instagram. “What works for photos doesn’t necessarily work for video,’’ Cunningham says.

In the photo realm, Stipple and other companies have already built tagging mechanisms that allow Web users to pursue information directly from a picture published online. Web users can mouse over a “Stippled’’ photo to reveal links to a handbag maker’s website, or to the latest tweet of the movie star carrying the bag, for example.

Stipple CEO Rey Flemings said he and his partners had considered tackling video as a potential interactive medium, but decided to focus on photos. Both photos and video present challenges to a media startup seeking eventual profits, he says.

Revenues can flow from the fees that hundreds of manufacturers and Web retailers, such as Amazon, pay to bloggers, publishers, and media platforms like Stipple that send online sales their way. Stipple provides a shopping cart link that can be attached to … Next Page »

Bernadette Tansey is a freelance journalist based in Berkeley, CA. Follow @tanseyverse

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  • SmiffyMo

    Interesting, there’s a lot of activity in this area – we’ve used wirewax, which seems the slickest tool out there and suits our brand clients. We’ll take a look at clickberry – I think it’s hard to get this right tho.