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Venture Beat: GumGum Pushes into Auto Media with Premier Publishers

GumGum has pioneered a technology to place advertisements inside photos on web sites. Now it is taking that technology and pushing into the automotive web-site industry.

The company is announcing today it has struck advertising partnerships with three major automotive media publishers: VerticalScope, Internet Brands, and CarDomain Network.

With its ability to insert ads into pictures, GumGum will help the publishers better monetize their properties and add new functions such as the ability for users to build and price their own cars in a visual way.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based GumGum’s image-monetization technology serves thousands of premier internet web sites by overlaying text, banner, or Adobe Flash ad units on top of images. Brand marketers have taken to the in-image ads. That’s because the photos — from Britney Spears photos to anything that the paparazzi shoot on a given day — are magnets for eyeballs. That is, people pay attention to them. GumGum now reaches 110 million unique visitors a month by serving billions of in-image ads per month.

Rob Laidlaw, president of VerticalScope, said that his company chose GumGum (despite its silly name) because it was effortless to deploy, had comprehensive site-level reporting, and unmatched sell-through rates. VerticalScope is using the technology across 200 auto web sites. GumGum can target ads to photos at a keyword level and do it on a massive scale.

GumGum says the click-through rates are 20 times higher for its ads relative to traditional ad networks. Ophir Tanz, chief executive of GumGum, says he sees a big chance for automotive advertisers to create highly targeted campaigns. When done well, these ads enrich the user experience and position the brand alongside content that is relevant to the brand’s story.

Other major partners include Time Warner, Hearst, and Glam Network. GumGum was formed in 2007 and it has 15 employees. Rivals include Luminate and Image Space Media.

GumGum has raised $3.8 million from GRP Partners, First Round Capital, and Crosscut Ventures.

Read the Venture Beat coverage here.

GumGum in The Wall Street Journal

We would like to send our thanks and appreciation to the Wall Street Journal for featuring GumGum in their article regarding image monetization . We are proud to be the world’s largest in-image advertising network with over 500 million impressions a month and are thrilled to be recognized by the Journal as the leaders in this space (and it never hurts to be mentioned with Google). Check out the article here.

GumGum partners with Bauer-Griffin

Update: GumGum no longer offers image licensing. We are now the world’s largest in-image ad network.

As many of our publishers already know, we’ve partnered with leading celebrity photography agency Bauer-Griffin!

Here’s a quote from Frank Griffin, CEO of Bauer-Griffin:

“As print publications march towards potential demise it is important that IP holders position
themselves for the digital future,” said Frank Griffin, co-founder and CEO of Bauer-Griffin. “Content
licensing should model the performance-based nature of online advertising networks. GumGum has
designed a product that thoroughly tends to the needs of IP holders and online publishers. We are
excited to utilize GumGum’s technology to facilitate our transition online.”

Read the press full release here!

Bauer-Griffin Homepage
Bauer-Griffin Blog

Stay tuned for more partnership announcements!

GumGum is Very Sticky

Update: GumGum no longer offers image licensing. We are now the world’s largest in-image ad network.

Jason Calacanis, one of my favorite entrepreneurs, believes an effective metric for judging the health of a startup is to gauge the volume of search traffic resulting from the company’s name. Why? A photographer may be at lunch with a peer and say, “Hey have you checked out GumGum? It’s really cool!” When the friend gets back to a computer, they will mostly likely Google “GumGum.” If your company name is generating more organic traffic over time, then you are doing something right.

It amazes me everyday how much traffic we receive from the keyword “GumGum.” It means we are, or better yet, our partners, you guys, are doing something right!

On a similar note, we are the #5 search listing on Google for “photo licensing.” This is amazing. We have been live for less than 60 days and we are ranking better than Getty and Corbis. Keep chewing GumGum!

P.S. Google indexes frequently. Our ranking may change by the time you read this post. :)

Breath in, breath out…the bubble grows

Wow, it has been one crazy week!

The attention has been flattering. I have created a page to archive GumGum’s press. [read the press]

We also received a flood of emails inquiring about the team and the product. We have created an “About GumGum” page and a “Frequently Asked Questions” page. [read about GumGum] [read the FAQ]

The dust has settled (almost) and we have the following takeaways/comments we would like to share with you:

  • We are no longer idealists coding in a black box. The industry has responded and validated GumGum!
  • A common misconception is we are out to prevent piracy. Take a screen capture (duh).
  • We protect the license, the business transaction between the publisher and the content owner.
  • GumGum’s intended use case is B2B. Why? Online publishers have real advertising dollars at stake and cannot afford to conduct illegal activities.
  • EngineYard is awesome. [visit their site]
  • We are solving a very complex problem, but we are having a lot of fun along the way.

We will be using this blog to update you on product and business developments, but more importantly to comment on all things licensing related. We look forward to working with you to transform online licensing!