Image licensing startup GumGum is introducing a new ad unit to go along with all of those celebrity pics that it helps to distribute. Next time you come across a paparazzi shot of Lindsay Lohan on the Web, you might see a ShopThisLook badge next to the image courtesy of GumGum. Click on the badge and window will pop up with shopping links for clothes and accessories similar to what Lohan is wearing in the picture. When possible, GumGum tries to match the exact same pair of jeans, dress, or shirt.
GumGum tracks images that reach 25 million people a month across the Web. It has data on which images are spread around and viewed the most. Using a combination of image recognition technology and human editors, it adds tags to the most popular celebrity photos. These tags then trigger cost-per-click (CPC) links with images from Shopzilla and Shopstyle. There is a lot of human editing that goes into this process. Image recognition techniques are simply not good enough yet to completely automate the process. But all GumGum has to do is tag the most widely distributed images of the most popular celebrities to see if the concept has legs.
Websites that license images through GumGum can either pay for them or use them free with advertising. The ShopThisLook badges will appear in place of the ads for certain images. Website publishers who pay for the images can also opt in to show the badges, in which case they will receive 30 percent of any CPC revenues.
GumGum CEO Ophir Tanz says that in early testing, the badges are clicked on about one percent of the time, but that the click-through rate to an actual item after that is 29 percent. That implies a blended click-through rate of 0.29 percent, and the effective CPM is 90 cents. These numbers are based on a limited sample, and before any effort to optimize them.