If you're a long-time reader of the many dozens of blogs out there, no doubt you've run into inline contextual ads - those double-underlined terms that bring up little video screens when your mouse passes over them, courtesy of such providers as Kontera and Vibrant Media. Advertisers generate campaigns around a handful of words, and whenever those words appear in the articles of participating sites, they instantly become ad triggers.
This morning, a new advertising platform called Stipple announced it has built a similar kind of platform around images, based not on text matching but image pattern matching. Stipple's platform examines images for similarities to pictures that advertisers provide, such as an article of clothing or a particular style of purse or a certain vehicle. Whenever the reader's mouse pointer passes over them in a picture, up pops a little screen, perhaps with a price tag and links to a vendor.
Stipple CEO Rey Flemings characterized every image on the Web this morning as a harbinger of lost revenue for advertisers that fail to tag the things inside those images as actionable. In a statement, Flemings wrote, "Brands lose tens of millions of dollars in revenue each month simply by not tagging their products in Web photos. Editorial images generate billions of page views and if your product is in a photo, but people can't find out what the product is, then your brand loses marketing value and revenue."
As Stipple's newly launched Pipeline site describes, the platform is being made available for free to publishers. Advertisers enroll sample images into the platform, while publishers embed Stipple's code in their sites. Images whose contents appear to match patterns from Stipple's fingerprint database, will become marked with tags. As those tags generate clicks, the publishers share in the revenue from those clicks.
"When someone shops from a Stipple Dot," reads Stipple's FAQ, "your site will receive a commission (provided we can locate a merchant paying a commission or CPC offer for that product - we can add this in fine print if necessary). You can also receive a commission if a visitor to your site adds an item to their Stipple wish list and they make a purchase at a later time."