Creating HyperVideo: Hyperlinks Over Your Video With Asterpix

Remember when hypertext was all the rage? Then hypervideo was going to allow Seinfeld viewers to click on the phone and buy one?

Asterpix has a somewhat new service that allows you to rip a video from YouTube or other sites, and then drag hyperlinks over the images. Your video, which would now be served via Asterpix (but can be embedded on your own site) can have small dotted-line squares that appear temporarily over a particular image. If your viewer “mouses over” the square, they can read a short description, see tags, and follow a hyper link.

This has been discussed for years, but I haven’t, until now, seen it deployed as a free and easy-to-use tool. I learned about this from Scobleizer, a braniac that called it the “coolest thing I’ve seen in a while.” The Asterpix’s CEO writes about hypervideo in this 3-post blog.

Why would you want to do this? It gives the viewer the ability to interact or learn more about specific objects or people in the video. Now the marketer can promote the product that is otherwise resigned to a preroll or subtle product placement. Your viewer can also learn more about a video’s actor/actress or object (or actress that is an object).

asterpix spencerIn my own experimental demonstration, I brought my YouTube video (Poor Man’s GPS) into Asterpix and dropped a few links over parts of the image (only in the first minute). This video is one of my sponsored videos for GPSManiac, so I wanted to see how I could introduce the client more visibly. It took about 15 minutes for me to figure it out, but that’s probably because Patrick was talking to me the whole time.

What I Liked:

  • Asterprix is simple and doesn’t require me to upload a video to Asterpix because it rips it from YouTube.
  • Putting in the hyperlinks is fairly easy.
  • It’s free, and the name is cool (based off “asterix”)

What Needs Work

  • It was hard for me to understand how to turn the dotted-line squares OFF. I suppose they’re duration based, but maybe they’re based on image recognition. In any event, the user absolutely has to control the duration because even the subtle dotted-line square is obstrusive if it sticks around too long. And in some cases, my image has changed, and the boxes are looming over something else.
  • The dotted-line square is subtle, but I’d probably want to tone it down further. I know some of my viewers are irritated by even the subtle YouTube InVideo ads that only occupy 20% of the screen for around 15 seconds. So I can imagine they’d be really annoyed if white boxes are appearing all over the video.
  • There’s a potential copyright problem with the business model. I don’t prove I own the clip, so I can do this to anyone’s video. Maybe in my sign-up I promised not to do that (but who reads those things?).

Where It Will Work & Won’tasterpix screen shot

  • It’s not a tool people can use on major online-video sites (like YouTube) because, like any dynamic ad, it gets stripped away. I remember trying desperately to upload my Revver-tagged ads to YouTube. Kinda cute in retrospect.
  • This does have some nice application for the video “long tail” (although a few sites dominate in online video, the bulk of viewing occurs in fragmented areas all over the web). There will be a lot of content that would benefit from a way for viewers to dig more deeply into a video.
  • It has a lot of potential creative applications. An instructional video could have a way a viewer can follow a side-bar for more information. I’m surprised Asterpix doesn’t use its own technology to demonstrate how to use it. There are some fairly weak demos, and the “how to use” section is pure text and images.

I am curious to see how the company monetizes this tool. Does it charge a flat or recurring fee for advanced functionality? Does it try to squeeze yet another ad into the video and feed itself via ads (which may repel people)?

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

16 thoughts on “Creating HyperVideo: Hyperlinks Over Your Video With Asterpix”

  1. This was interesting. I agree, it needs a more subtle approach with the dotted line, but it wasn’t all that intrusive. how much control of the size and duration do you have? you said 20% at 15 secs, but at 46 seconds there was a shorter duration and smaller area dotted. When hovering it stopped the video in action and the links worked well. I could see embedding it throughout the whole video in the lower right hand corner for optimal use, I like that better than the ads on the bottom of revver and youtube video. I also viewed the video in the cache, a slight skip, but that could have been anything. Other than that no visual difference. Has a lot of interactive potential, like a narrative DVD. Nice tool.

    One last question; when you filmed Spenser driving away who was filming on the hood of the car?

  2. this has the potential to double your advertising dollar with the added links. can you embed your adsense code into it?

    This really could get commercially messy and a new set of rules will have to be written.

  3. on the same video i mentioned earlier, clicking the “back” button took me back to the first video. way cool, like channel surfing with a tv remote!

  4. Just a couple of clarifications … Asterpix doesn’t serve the videos from its servers. Only the hotspot and hyperlink information is served from Asterpix. Regarding eltoro’s question, the “channel surfing” mode is currently only enabled between videos that have been added to Asterpix (i.e. when the asterpix url associated with the desired video is specified as the target video link), for reasons concerning user intent.

    Thanks for visiting our site and trying it out. Feedback is very welcome.

  5. um, have you ever seen Viddler?
    http://www.viddler.com

    It allows for annotated video, comments,links, etc.

    I was teaching print journalists at a social media conference in July with Kevin Anderson of The Guardian and he rolled this up on the screen and all you heard was the sound of jaws dropping in the room. Very cool.

  6. It had to come didn’t it. I dig it. I’ve been looking for something like this. I’ve a few videos in the top spot on Google Search and a hyperlink in the description which takes people through to my site – but hardly any bastard clicks on it. One vid has been at the top of Google for 5 months, had close to 1 Million views but I don’t get much traffic from it (Google “Noelia” if you’re interested). I reckon if I had a hyperlink in the corner I’d get lots more views. I was thinking of embedding a 2D Barcode (rolling out with 5 carriers in The States in the New Year) that you read with your cellphone barcode scanner – but it’ll be a couple of years before we all use them. And you’d have to pause the video. So yeah…this is a “bewdy”. I have an idea for it brewing….

  7. robb montgomery write:
    umm, have you seen viddler.

    robb, viddler looks lame after you see asterpix. for one, asterpix allows you to link to objects in the video and the links track the objects as they move. for two, asterpix works on any video from the popular video sites such as youtube, myspace etc.

    viddler sticks comments on the the timeline, and requires you upload your videos to viddler.

  8. I’ll have a video of Asterpix up next week. it is freaking awesome and has lots of capabilities that aren’t obvious by just playing around with the videos on the site.

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