ClickBerry Makes Videos Into Clickable Gateways to Shopping and Sharing

12/5/12Follow @tanseyverse

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products shown in photographs. Stipple also tracks the consumer purchases that stem from clicks on those links.

The manufacturers’ payments for these clicks, called affiliate commissions, will only amount to sizeable revenues if photo tagging grows to a substantial scale, Flemings says. Stipple welcomes consumers to use its freemium service to annotate their photos manually. But to scale up its business, the company has created an automated system to tag the goods in thousands of promotional images provided by manufacturers, who give Stipple access to their product databases.

“You can’t scale manual tag creation,’’ Flemings says. He and his partners decided that the tagging of videos—at 30 frames per second—would be too complex and time-consuming compared to tagging photos.

Another factor tipped the scales in favor of photos, Flemings says. He evaluated the ability of tagging information to “travel’’ along with a photo or video as it moves from one Web platform to another—for example, from a blogger’s Web page to a Pinterest gallery to a Facebook page. Leading Web services, including Tumblr, Google, and Facebook, mask the notes attached to photos by their creators, Flemings says.

To help Stipple’s tags remain visible, the company is signing up participating websites, where any visitor can see the links. For example, users can now turn a Stipple photo into a Twitter Card by using a tweet button on the photo.

Individual Web users can also install Stipple’s browser plug-in, so they can see the Stipple tags when they open non-participating websites, Flemings says.

While photos can percolate out to the public through thousands of different outlets, Flemings says, video distribution is much more concentrated. Most people watch videos on YouTube or its two major competitors, Brightcove and Vimeo, he says.

An alternative format for clickable fields on a ClickBerry-enabled video

An alternative format for clickable fields on a ClickBerry-enabled video

At this point, videos tagged with ClickBerry’s tools can’t be uploaded to YouTube with their links remaining visible. In the future, Babin says, he hopes to integrate ClickBerry more fully with other media platforms such as YouTube.

But in the meantime, ClickBerry offers users video hosting at its cloud storage site. Of the company’s 31 employees, 28 are programmers in Russia whose main task is to support the cloud hosting feature, Babin says.

ClickBerry has raised $1.8 million from Silicon Valley and Russian angel investors, including Yuri Virovets, president of Russia-based Headhunter Group. Babin says ClickBerry is preparing for a Series A fundraising round within a few months.

The Los Altos startup has its eye on affiliate commissions as a major revenue stream. To that end, ClickBerry is targeting two populations: casual users of social media, and professional marketers looking for an inexpensive way to make videos interactive.

Web users can download ClickBerry’s Mac and PC apps free, and also gain one free gigabyte of cloud storage. The iPad app, a tool for consumers who use it to add interactive features to their videos, sells for $1.99. The company also offers paid subscription services for media producers and brand promoters, who can use the extra tools to outfit their own websites with a player for interactive videos. Those professionals can also make use of ClickBerry’s analytics to gauge which videos and links draw the best responses from consumers.

ClickBerry sees its casual users as important elements in its overall business strategy. As they use ClickBerry to add links and layers within their own videos, they’ll look for such doorways in other videos they like, says Cunningham. That should help motivate product marketers to take the time to tag their videos and use them as selling launchpads, he says. In time, recipe links in a cooking show video could become a standard expectation.

“As it becomes entrenched, people may demand videos that have interactive features,’’ says Cunningham.

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.