Image-Tagging Startup Pixazza Gets a New Name and a Fresh Business Model

By Beecher Tuttle July 27, 2011

The Google Ventures-backed startup known as Pixazza is changing its (terrible) name and broadening its image-tagging technology to offer more than just online shopping links.

Pixazza, now known as Luminate, initially offered a technology that enabled online publishers to build commerce links into their images. Users who visited these sites could scroll over the image of a celebrity on a red carpet to bring up a small window that would show them details on the person’s dress or earrings, as well as links to retailers that sell the apparel.

Since its launch in 2009, the company formerly known as Pixazza has inked partnership agreements with around 4,000 publishers, most of which are entertainment and gossip sites, says PC World. Websites like NBC’s Access Hollywood and CBS’ Entertainment Tonight currently rely on the company’s technology.

With a healthy stable of clients, Luminate is now looking to provide additional services to website owners. The rebranded startup has expanded its technology to help publishers transform their images into interactive applications, which can offer users a host of additional content, including advertisements.

Images will now be loaded with tools that let users share content via Facebook and Twitter, along with personalized messages, or captions, that will accompany the photo. Publishers can also include a Wikipedia app that provides relevant information about a person in the photo, or a navigation app that shows location information for a picture of a landmark. 

In addition, the new platform will be loaded with an advertising app that scans the image and brings up an ad that is related to the image in question, according to Reuters. So if a user rolls over the image of an Audi, a link will pop up for an auto dealership or used car lot in their area. The company believes that this feature will help publishers further monetize their site.

Luminate also said that it will partner with developers to build out dozens of other social- or commerce-related apps.

“The next big trend is images,” Luminate chief executive Bob Lisbonne told AdWeek. “Companies that are asking themselves about their mobile and social strategies now will be asking themselves: ‘What is our image strategy tomorrow?’”

The technology is sure to lend publishers a hand, but it also might lead to more user frustration over spam and pop-ups. Having a bunch of ads and applications jump off the screen every time you scroll over an image sounds like a nightmare.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It’s also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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