The Finnish platform offers five million royalty-free photos which can be downloaded from its website. All the images are in fact advertising applications which enable online visitors to make a direct purchase of the object shown.

Kiosked Wants to Make Every Image a Shopping Interface

Five million royalty-free photos, a godsend for all Internet users who are writing their blogsand developing new websites. This is what the Finnish start-up Kiosked is offering with its online platform where the files are legally available free of copyright and can be downloaded on registration. In fact what Kiosked is doing here is launching a new online advertising model which can make money for site owners. As well as being an advertisement, every image is also in itself a marketplace. Each file includes encoded technology which a site owner copy-pastes to post the image on to his website. When a visitor clicks on the image, s/he not only sees information on the product or service shown on the photo but can also immediately access a purchasing interface. There’s no need to surf over to the product vendor’s site, as everything is already available, incorporated into the image – which undoubtedly makes impulse buying a lot easier. If the sale goes through, the site which hosted the image, the holder of the author’s rights to the photo and Kiosked all receive a commission from the advertiser.

A model that can work for every sort of content

The system not only works for online vendors but also for offline stores that do not have an e-retailing site. The five million photos currently available from Kiosked represent 10,000 brands and the platform adds 50,000 new images to its database every day. Each imaged product can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and, moreover, a Google Maps interface geolocates the physical store if there is one. Long term, the Kiosked founders are looking to apply the model to all types of content published on the web, not just photos. The Finnish model is reinventing the advertising banner concept, but Kiosked is not the only site working in this field. Criteo, a French site which specialises in ‘retargeting’ marketing, follows up on online visitors who click on a product but then don’t make a purchase. When the user moves away to another site, s/he sees a new advertisement for the same product as that featured in the previous advertisement. "The idea is to approach the customer in a different way to try and persuade him to buy, and it’s something that works quite well," explains Olivier de Taisne, CEO of AdQuantic, an agency which specialises in paid-for optimisation of page-ranking by search engines.   

Watch out for that Panda!

Quite apart from the innovative side of things, Kiosked also provides the traditional monitoring tools needed to assess the effectiveness of publicity campaigns and the payback on the images, given that the basic concerns remain the same: "This is what advertisers are always asking for; they need tools which can measure the return on their investment. This is the advantage of Google’s Adwords system," underlines Olivier de Taisne. He also points out that the Kiosked team should be taking note of Google’s new Panda algorithm which revamps the criteria for page ranking. "Google doesn’t like non-commercial sites which advertise, try to sell or redirect users to advertising. Google takes them down the page ranking, and it’s sometimes quite a dramatic drop." From this angle, images from Kiosked which incorporate sales sites could well prove to be controversial.