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Luminate Launches Image App Platform: Press Round-Up

“Pixazza is dead. Long live Luminate,” says Kara Swisher at All Things D. “You don’t have to twist your tongue pronouncing Pixazza anymore,” quips Alexei Oreskovic in his Reuters story. My favorite comment on the name-change, though, comes from The Inquirer: “Online image monster Pixazza is no more, in its place stands Luminate, the same company but with a name that does not look like a Scrabble accident.” Mind you, a 7-letter Scrabble accident that’s worth 84 points*, plus whatever triple-letter scores you might play — but still.

VentureBeat spells out the Luminate mission nicely:

“Mountain View, Calif.-based Luminate wants images to be a gateway for accessing rich and relevant content; images can become more than visual stimuli. Images can become a canvas to shop, share, comment, examine, curate, search and socialize…. Luminate wants app makers to use their imagination in creating apps that use the images as springboards into something cool.”

(Luminate CEO Bob Lisbonne.)

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s now worth even more,” says Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin in USA Today. Facebook’s Elliott Schrage (a Luminate advisor) tells the Mercury News that a better reinterpretation of the expression might be: “If a picture’s worth a thousand words, now it can be worth a thousand links.”

Colleen Taylor summarizes the first batch of apps for her GigaOM story: “Luminate’s new platform will host applications that provide additional info about any kind of picture published online, such as stats for a professional athlete pictured in a sports story, a geo-tag of where a photo was taken, or a movie trailer related to a certain image.” Austin Carr at FastCompany says the social sharing tools are especially interesting: “Using the Twitter app, for example, users can select a section of the image, write a comment, and that text will appear as a superimposed annotation on top of the image, ready to be shared via tweet.” Faith Merino at Vator News says her favorite is the public-service (PSA) app that connects news images of natural disasters with associated relief organizations.

In an interview with David Kaplan at PaidContent, I suggest that images might be the next big Internet trend. He too sees evidence (Google’s recent acquisition of PittPatt, for example) to support that idea.

The headline over Anthony Ha’s story at Adweek is “Google-backed Luminate Turns Pictures into Interactive Moneymakers.” In an interview with Forbes, Luminate founder and CTO Jim Everingham explains the logic behind those moneymaker plans: “Luminate’s ad units … counter ‘banner blindness’ where users ignore online ads. Because people are paying attention directly to an image when they see the ad, which is directly related to the ad, it gets strong response.”

Lots more in Leena Rao’s interview with Luminate CEO Bob Lisbonne at TechCrunch.

“A year or two from now,” says Bob in an interview with Ari Levy at Bloomberg Businessweek’s, “if a consumer mouses to an image and nothing happens, they’ll think the site is backwards.”

*UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that Scrabble has only one Z, which means the second Z would need to be a zero-point wildcard. Bummer! That means Pixazza would only get you 74 points, before multi-letter or multi-word accelerators.

Pixazza Is Now Luminate

Today we’re launching the world’s first platform for image applications — and a new name and logo to boot. Pixazza is now Luminate, and the first batch of image apps to launch on Luminate’s platform, according to TechCrunch, “will span a number of categories including commerce, information, social, organization, advertising, navigation, public service, and presentation.”

USA Today explains how it works:

“If you went to teen gossip site Just Jared on Tuesday and moused over an image of Angelina Jolie, you could have learned how to buy similar sunglasses and sweater at Go there today, and there are also tabs for Facebook and Twitter comments, annotation by the publisher (perhaps a comment on Jolie’s hairdo), the ability to share the picture (or even a portion), shopping info and a Google ad.”

The Luminate icon indicates an image is interactive.

Mousing into an interactive image will reveal, at the bottom of the image, a tray of applications — social sharing tools, additional editorial content, and a carousel to browse through and shop for products inside the image. The next dozen applications will launch in the coming weeks.

A commerce app called Products enables consumers to mouse over the image and interact with tags on the picture.

An information app called Annotation allows publishers to quickly and easily tag any spot within an image and add information relevant to that image.

Google Makes It Look Easy to Make Money

According to its most recent earnings call, Microsoft continues to lose a lot of money from its online operations — almost three-quarters of billion dollars last quarter alone (via Business Insider).

Meanwhile Google made $2.51 billion in net income on more than $9 billion in revenue last quarter (NY Times). What’s the secret? Advertising! Search ads represent 97% of Google’s total revenue. (Fun infographic at Wired).

Since many of those ads run on other people’s sites — publishers that participate in Google’s AdSense program — I got to wondering how much of Google’s advertising bounty they share with the rest of the ecosystem. According to The Next Web:

“Through its AdSense programs, Google’s partner sites generated revenues of $2.48 billion, or 28% of total revenues, in the second quarter of 2011, representing a 20% increase from second quarter 2010 network revenues of $2.06 billion. The Internet behemoth shared $2.11 billion with advertising partners this quarter, which is 24% of its income from advertising, and $1.75 billion of that number was paid out to Adsense partners.”

Does that mean total AdSense revenues for the quarter were $2.48 billion plus $1.75 billion, or $4.23 billion? If that’s the case, Google is keeping 59% of revenue from ads on their partners’ sites, and partners get 41%.

New York City’s GDP Larger Than South Korea’s

Based on data from the US Metro Economies Report, the New York City area’s GDP is larger than Australia’s and South Korea’s, and is only barely smaller than Canada’s and India’s. The San Francisco Bay Area’s economy is Thailand-sized.

More at The Atlantic.

Sesame Street Does Beastie Boys

Sesame Street breaks it down from Wonderful Creative on Vimeo.

Via Tac Anderson.

Billboard Advertising Nothing

At the US-Canada border near Vancouver, BC, art and architecture firm Lead Pencil Studio has created Non-Sign II, a “permanently open aperture between nations works to frame nothing more than a clear view of the changing atmospheric conditions beyond.” In other words, a giant steel-rod construction that frames a billboard-shaped view of the clear sky on the other side of the sculpture.

More at Fast Company.

(Thanks, Nicole!)

There’s Something To Be Said For Implied Endorsement

The headline is a quote from Michael Wiley, global head of social marketing at VivaKi, on Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories” ad units, which are working twice as well as regular ad units on Facebook.

From Fast Company:

“When Facebook launched a new form of advertising called ‘Sponsored Stories’ earlier this year, some folks weren’t buying the plot. The new ad unit, which takes content generated by Facebook users and turns it into ads, seemed to be crossing some kind of line.

“Six months later, it looks like Facebook actually might have hit upon a powerful new form of advertising. The ads, which grab actions users perform on the Facebook platform (like Liking a brand page or checking in to a restaurant) and turn that into an ad that gets displayed only to the user’s friends, are in fact amplifying word of mouth.”

JetBlue Turns LA’s Carmaggedon into Marketing Opportunity

On a flight to LA yesterday morning I first heard the term Carmaggedon. Fortunately I mis-easedropped the dates associated with the LA traffic disaster (it will start tonight, now that I’m safely back in San Francisco, not yesterday when I had meetings on both sides of the 405). Phew. Meanwhile JetBlue is turning bad news on the LA freeways into a fun marketing moment: They’re offering $4 one-way tickets to fly over the mess, from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, east of the 405, to Long Beach Airport, west of the 405. (My tweet got it wrong: These flights won’t go in or out of LAX.) The twenty minute flight will be, according the agitated Angelinos I spoke with, about 4 hours quicker than trying to cross town by car.

JetBlue spokeswoman Sharon Jones told the LA Times, “This will be our shortest commercial flight. We thought this would be a fun and unique idea. We looked at it as a way to introduce our product to customers who have never joined JetBlue.”

The good PR has undoubtedly made up for the money they’re losing on jet fuel.

Dilbert Needs to Get on Google+

Gone Camping

ChasNote is shutting down for a week as the staff heads to the Sierra foothills for some camping and team-building. I figured this ad for bejeweled artisanal Brazilian flip-flops would give you a sense of the dress code on ChasNote staff camping trips.

From Ads of the World:

“Havaianas created a special collection of flip-flops hand made by artisans from a little town in the northeast of Brazil. These flip-flops are stitched, one by one, with Swarovski crystal and delicate pendants. The collection’s microsite tells the story of Havaianas Special Collection showing how such a democratic product can be also so unique and stylish. On the animation we can see each model being made in a special, dreamlike way.”