GumGum Rethinks Its Approach. Drops Flash

Music and movies may grab the most headlines when it comes to piracy, but many content providers on the web are also having trouble managing their images, which are easy to crop, resize, and copy. Some services, like Attributor, try to monitor and track offending images, but the ultimate solution may well lie in removing the temptation in the first place by offering cheap and easy to find legal images.

Earlier this year, GumGum launched an image licensing platform that was designed to help publishers quickly locate and license images. The site served as a content hub, offering a searchable database of images that could be licensed on a CPM basis or for free alongside an ad.

Unfortunately, every one of GumGum’s images was served as an embeddable Flash widget, which made them both clunky and annoying for publishers, as the images couldn’t be resized or modified. The use of Flash allowed GumGum to include their ads with the images, and also made it harder for people to rip them off (though you could always just take a screenshot). PicApp, a similar image search and licensing platform, uses Flash as well and suffers from the same issues.

Today GumGum has announced a new approach to their licensing platform, and this time, there won’t be any Flash involved. To use the system, users need only include a single line of JavaScript on their page. From there, they can include any image they want using a standard HTML tag. The pricing models will be the same: publishers can either pay a fee based on image impressions, or they can include ads on top of their images. GumGum’s new platform can detect licensed images and overlays the ad on top of it, so there’s no need to use a special widget.

Another key shift in GumGum’s new approach is its decision to stop acting as an image hub – you’ll no longer be able to search through content catalogs to find an image. Instead, GumGum says that it will connect you directly with the content providers, who typically offer their own databases. By taking this approach, GumGum is turning away from the typical consumer and is becoming more of a B2B solution for blogs and sites that frequently rely on licensed images.

GumGum isn’t going to be able to stop image piracy – there’s simply no way to get around the “Print Screen” function without including an annoying watermark. But businesses who can’t afford to be caught up with illegal content may well appreciate GumGum’s new more flexible system, provided the company can make good on its arrangements with content providers. The service has already landed some big customers, including MTV Europe.

In conjunction with the launch of the new platform, GumGum has annouced a Series A funding round of a reported $1.2 million.