Start-Up Watch COD: Apture makes pubs sticky as fly paper

Posted by Jim Nichols on March 7th, 2011 at 12:00 am

While most of the posts on this blog will be from the perspective of a marketer, occasionally I want to showcase some fascinating developments in pub-side solutions. I love content sites, both as a user and as someone who wants to reward content providers with revenue sufficient to keep them...contenting. As it were. Today is one of those days when I want to focus on the pub-side.

Trying to keep a viewer around is a challenge for many publishers. There appear to be about 10,000 places MINIMUM to find content on any topic. Relatively quickly you'll find users wanting different types of information on any topic. Photos, historical perspective. Where to buy. If we all wanted the same things, you could simply include them in the content. But we don't.
And so even great content can lose eyeballs relatively quickly.
 
Apture is out to change that dynamic. It makes it possible for consumers to see more and publishers to show more while staying on the same page. There are two ways to access Apture's semantic search and content display capabilities:
 
The Apture toolbar gives users the opportunity to get their fix of whatever related content they might want without leaving the content they are reading. Whether or not a site participates in Apture, the toolbar can provide related links of information. Apture gathers additional information through open APIs from leading content sources like Wikipedia, as well as Google search results.
Here's a little video demo of Apture Toolbar in action. As you can see, it links the reader with multiple types of content related to a topic, from Wikipedia links to videos, photos, maps, etc.
 
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For publishers, Apture gives consumers the opportunity to highlight any text on their pages and instantly get Apture-style search results. When they arrive on your pages, a little flag appears telling them that they can highlight and go deep.
 
When they do their highlight, the Apture window appears and provides a list of related links from YOUR site PLUS open API content from a base set of sites PLUS Google search results for sites farther afield. There are no multimedia  restrictions -- the consumer can view other text, slide shows, even video in user initiated windows that appear in front of your content. Here's another video -- this one shows the publisher benefits:
 
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According to Apture's research, their platform can grow time on a page by 2-3X, and pages consumed by 1.5-2X. Absolutely nothing to sneeze at in the battle for more page and ad views. The cost to the consumer is free, and there are two ways pubs can pay. They can use a basic free service that includes ads sold by Apture, or pay for an ad-free experience.
 
There are a couple of differences versus the contextual ad solutions like Kontera and Vibrant. With those models, the ad platform identifies the specific words that can be explored, and then shares revenue with the site for ad actions. This might have effects on time spent with content, but that's not it's primary goal. With this model, the choice of terms is up to the user, and the experience stays on (or over) the page rather than through a redirect.
 
There is a lot of innovation going on in the content space. Ensuring that producers of quality content can make more money -- and thereby produce even MORE quality content - should be everyone's goal.
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