Last Friday, the New York Times ran an article titled, “An Ad Engine to Put ‘Mad Men’ Out of Business” which talked about an online service called PlaceLocal that automatically creates online ads. From the article:
“New software called PlaceLocal builds display ads automatically, scouring the Internet for references to a neighborhood restaurant, a grocery store or another local business. Then it combines the photographs it finds with reviews, customer comments and other text into a customized online ad for the business.
The program, developed by PaperG, an advertising technology company in New Haven, Conn., is aimed in part at small businesses just beginning to advertise on the Web sites of local newspapers or television stations, said Victor Wong, its chief executive.”
I was immediately intrigued about how the service works so I went to the site and created an ad for a my favorite deli here in Detroit, The Russell Street Deli. The ad it created in less than two minutes was fairly basic, but included moving images (using Flash) gathered online, and testimonials presumably from reviews on the internet:
OK, so it’s not the sexiest ad in the world, but for someone with a limited budget that precludes hiring a photographer, it would certainly work online. The user can select from a number of sizes including vertical and horizontal banners and the site creates the new ad instantly. Being a photographer, I was interested in how they were selecting images and whether any respect being paid to copyrighted content. My query to them in a form on their website:
I am curious as to how you eliminate findviagra copyrighted images from ads that are created on the fly, or if you do. If not, how are the creators being compensated for the licensing of their images? Cheers, Blake Discher, www.groozi.com
Less than an hour later, Victor Wong himself responded. His answer:
Thank you for your interest in our product. We are definitely respectful of right holders, and make best efforts to make sure the elements used to create advertisements follow comply with copyright regulations. Specifically, we have taken the following steps to address copyright concerns:
. We use content from our partners who have secured content rights
. We use content from the websites of advertisers so they can reuse their existing content in their advertisements
. We offer a library of stock photography as an alternative to customers without their own photos
. We strictly adhere to restrictions of photographs offered under the Creative Commons or other relevant licenses
. We require users to certify that all the elements used do not infringe intellectual property of others
I hope this is helpful.
A few thoughts… It’s refreshing to hear that Mr. Wong is mindful of copyright issues and has created a system in which safeguards are in place to protect rights holders. Aggregation of internet content began with news gathering sites and it’s no surprise to see it move to this sort of use. Because this model is sure to expand, it’s even more imperative that before images are placed online, they be registered with the copyright office, watermarked, and contain full metadata including your contact information for licensing.
What do you think of this service?