The field of interactive imagery is taking off right now, with companies such as Luminate and ThingLink offering ways for publishers to embed links in their pictures, whether it be to ads, videos or other content.
It’s a smart idea, best exemplified by the fashion image that invites viewers to click through the relevant clothing and cosmetics vendors (although Luminate, formerly Pixazza, has also demonstrated how this concept can go horribly wrong).
Now a new German startup called Roombeats is joining the fray. However, rather than offering something different to those rivals, it’s instead promising more focus.
Specifically, Roombeats, which launched in beta on Friday, will only be concerned with embedded advertising. As co-founder Markus Berger-de León put it to me, Roombeats is aiming to be the “AdSense for images”. To start it on that journey, the company has picked up a five-figure sum from angel investors including Digital Pioneers.
“The focus of [Luminate and ThingLink] is to make images interactive,” Berger-de León told me. “Our focus is on making money for publishers with images by putting ads in there. The technology behind it is somewhat the same, but the focus is different.”
But wait, we’ve heard this pitch before.
GumGum also deals only with advertising, ignoring the more frivolous applications of image interactivity. That said, GumGum tends to provide banner ads, which Berger-de León suggests are still a turn-off for many consumers.
It remains to be seen exactly what Roombeats will do to attract publishers and advertisers that has not been done before. The co-founder talks of “various ad models” that his team is experimenting with, but details are scarce for now.
Berger-de León, who used to be CEO of the once-mighty StudiVZ social network and artisan marketplace MyHammer, is keen to promote the international aspirations of the company as one differentiator, and he has a point there. Luminate may be the leader in this field for now, but it remains a U.S.-centric affair for now. Roombeats will be global from early on, and multilingual to boot.
As with so many German startups at the moment, internationalization may be the key to its success.