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).
In 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?).
- 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)?