Blog Pile

Peering Through MarketSpeak at Veeple- Annotated Hyperlinked Video

In looking for interesting technologies, sometimes you have to forge past what at looks like something hardly relevant to education, much the case with what I think is a powerful form of web video technology in Veeple. I stumpled upon this literally about two links of some casual wandering down my RSS feeds.

As an aside, I just love accidental finds. Leaving this for a future post, if you are a tech blogger, you want to be able to discover things that are not all covered on all the big named tech blogs like Mashable, engadget, etc which seem to carry the same stories. You want to find things not many have looked at (its nearly impossible to be “first”, but the web is wide enough to be new for your readers). Oh, now this is sounding like a different blog post.

Back to Veeple- it is a cloud-based video service that does more than provide flash video in an embeddable player; it allows you to add custom graphics, images as overlays,a s well as text annotation, and each one can become a clickable item in the video that allows viewers to see some more info and/or follow a link to another site… and I think there is some build in the tool to add comments to video.

As you look at the site, it starts my gag reflex with that word.. “monetization” (which thankfully comes up as a wrongly spelled word in spell check)

Does this language speak of potential to educators or anyone outside of sales geeks?:

The next generation web service making any video clickable, empowering web publishers to monetize their content.

Now I know they are likely aiming to make money for developing a technology, and I have no issue with that, but what would you limit the description of your technology? Not everyone with dollars to spend on technology are looking to “monetize” their content? I am by non means a business person, but if I have a compelling technology developed, why start out by limiting your audience to marketing?

More on this later. What does Veeple look like? It’s an embedded player- their “show room” (more salespeak, expecting guys in plaid suits) to me misses the mark by being all sales focused, so you have to put your filters in and look more at what the functionality offers, not necessarily the content. Like the “People and Blogging” one which apparently is showing how this video technology can help Playboy bunny bloggers. Yeah, just like you and me. And I guess they might get a few credit points by leading with a Waynes World clip:

Essentially, as you are viewing the clip, as you mosue over the screen, there are hyperlinks for eother the logos or sometimes text, like the Sports one with Tiger Woods:

and clicking an icon pauses the video, provides a popup with a little info, and links to either go to an outside web site or send the clip to someone else (“share”):

These to me are rather limited examples, the one I first saw was a tertiary link from a story I was reading in my RSS feeds- see the way photos are hyperlinked and various side links from The Global Social Media Network – Social Media Marketing (must be some SEO thing to get buzz words twice in a blog title- look for me to change to “CogDogBlog CogDogBlog Blogging about Blogging”??).

There are vide text annotation features in YouTube, and other sites like Viddler, but Veeple has added a few ways to link out of segments of video. This is somewhat close to what is going to be in the final six topics of the upcoming NMC report, called “Deep Tagging”; essentially tools that allow tagging, or marking up, or referencing specific segments within large media chunks.

And this gets to the other aspect I hope to highlight; when we do the mid-term and far-term topics in the Horizon Project we ask our researchers to look at technologies that are outside of education, in business and industry, entertainment, for ones that may have future application in education. This is prime example; looking at it now you see the technology described as:

In 2006 a group of bright and energetic software developers determined that we were at the beginning of a new era in online media, an era where the traditional “passive” experience on online video viewing was no longer relevant. The age of interactive digital media had finally arrived. So we created Veeple, an interactive video service that provides an innovative web service that enables publishers to easily add interactive and multi-dimensional content to their videos, creating the opportunity to promote, distribute and monetize their online content through viewer and customer interactions.

Veeple’s innovative tools enables publishers to identify and spot objects within video streams, or add their own interactive spots, and customize user experiences around the interaction with those objects. This exciting interactive technology empowers users to transform their viewing experiences, provides a robust monetization solution for content providers, and delivers an effective non-intrusive media vehicle for advertisers.

At Veeple we are bringing together the critical elements to develop a successful service that will truly revolutionize interactive video, offering viewers a way to interact with content in a non-intrusive, informative and relevant way that will provide unique engagement opportunities for both publishers and advertisers.

Which is 95% buzzword machine generated PR. Filter out monetization, and I see a video publishing platform for making video more than a purely sit back watch medium to one that offers some rich hyperlinking functionality, and their back end apparently can do some tracking to provide data on how people are using the media. There are many ways educators might see how to “mark up” video with these overlays.

At the same time, I push back a bit and say, this is not nearly as glossy as “rich interactive”- I always cringe when something is described as “interactivity” when really means, it provides me a limited number of clicks to choose from. That is Interactivity 1.0 – much more interactive might be ones that include response video within YouTube or something barely known if in the US; Japans’s 2channel where viewers comment directly in video — see this May 2008 article in Wired.

I am not suggesting Veeple will become a “big thing” for anyone, much less education; I do not provide technology predictions. I just have a certain reflex when i see some technologies that signals, “there might be something here” – it is not always right, but it’s what I pay attention to, even if it is draped in words like “monetization” and videos of playboy bloggers.

Veeple is a free demo until March 2009 when they will start “monetizing” it.

I cannot ever use that word without quotes! It makes my stomach churn even typing it.

So what do you think? Is this the “next generation of web video”? Where is video going?

If this kind of stuff has any value, please support me monthly on Patreon or a one time PayPal kibble toss
Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Alan,

    Thanks for the write up. I run business development for Veeple. Our service is geared towards the web publisher primarily. We talk about “monetization”, quotes are for your benefit :-), to the extent that folks want to make money from their videos by embedding ads. That revenue is solely split between the advertiser and the web publisher.

    Our goal is to have the web publisher use Veeple to enhance their storytelling ability through embeddable links, including MP3s, flash video and static images. The publisher can also make any element in the video itself clickable, thus extending “the story” and providing the audience with relevant information about the people, places and objects in the video.

    As it pertains to the education market, we have a lingusitics professor from an Ivy League university using Veeple for language translation for his students, using our text box overlays.

    I think the opportunities are vast and would look forward to conversation with you if you are interested in learning more about the company.


    Ed Lee
    SVP, Business Development

  2. @Edward Lee: Thanks Ed for an actual human reply to one cranky blog post from a small time blogger. If anything web 2.0 has done that is amazing is fast tracking and responding to mentions of their product.

    I really really liked what I saw in the potential of what Veeple has produced, and just think, in my limited, un business oriented opinion, that your web site and selection of examples presents a limited range of uses of the technology. I work for an organization that works with almost 300 of the leading learning organizations in higher education, and would like to be able to point them to your software as something that can do more than link to products or retail outlets.

    And I’d like to see what the Ivy League Dude is doing. So look for a private email.

    Thanks, and I mean that….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *