About the time Angry Birds’ backer Kaj Hed led recent investors in a $5.75 million round of funding for Kiosked, anyone in the tech world with a clue figured big things were coming from the Helsinki content activation platform. Micke Paqvalén’s startup not only leverages remedying a massive point of web sales pain, the development does so with some style too.
Timo Poijärvi, one of the founders of dynamic music tech startup Hitlantis (which I covered here) and who now sharp shoots for Kiosked, revealed some of what the highly publicized Kiosked is all about.
In a nutshell, Kiosked does what many early Web 2.0 startups eventually aimed at – the platform allows for “in-content discovery, sales and marketing” on an intuitive, classy, and very effective level. The system is a near perfect affiliate marketing engine in reality – you just put Kiosked price and info tags on yours or your partner’s merchandise and sell’em.
I spoke with Kiosked’s Founder and CEO Micke Paqvalén, as well as Senior Client Manager Andreas Strandman via Skype.
More on our discussion later. As I said Kiosked has been talked about, and a lot. TC to the water-cooler, the inherent power of intuitive and broad based selling is just… well, it’s just a shift in the right direction. Kiosked’s little branding/pricetag logos put me in mind of another fantastically simple/innovative tool – the Houzz price tags within their award winning app.
Both these companies are on the literal cutting edge of allowing us all to get info, and buy, just about anything via smart device.
As a publisher – I had to sign up. The screen below shows the second thing I see as I sign up as a publisher. Enter an email, and boom.
Next the system mails you as you play around with what the interface looks like. Let me emphasize how thoughtful this is here, instead of clicking back and forth, Kiosked immerses new users instantly. I said, IMMERSES instantly. Remember I said too, little things are important.
Next a user is led through the process of “kiosking” products. It’s a little difficult to see in the screenshot below, but the tutorial has walked me through several steps to generate a script for the site you are reading from now.
If there is any negative at all to the user experience of Kiosked at all, this juncture has a possible hangup. It may just be me, but I got disconnected from what the tutorial attempted to show where rendering a so called Kiosked Page is concerned. I later figured out, the rendering requires an uploaded image to function properly.
As you can see in the second image below, grabbing out corporate PR site’s primary image, this did the trick.
Opps! somebody should have made that more apparent. And on this note I contacted Micke Paqvalén, who in turn connected me with Andreas Strandman. I have to interject here, whatever the folks at Kiosked may or may not do well, timely and expert reciprocity has to be their longest suit.
Strandman would take my personal “best of” for client support and technical understanding. He really was, superb at his job. It turns out I was not crazy or (shhh. stupid), like any user interface, the speed with which new users soak up Kiosked function – does lead to the inevitable learning curve stumbling block.
In my case it was understanding terminology basically. You see the “products” on Kiosked are actually called “kiosks” to extend the brand farther and more effectively. The confusion comes in thinking of a kiosk as the larger entity.
But moving right along, Kiosked walks the user through creating and publishing sales items, and then on into the analytic aspect where affiliates get to see how their products perform. Complete and simple at the same instant, Kiosked has all you’d expect from input to “how to”, profile and account flexibility, and help adding users’ own images, items, and so on. Finally, as you can see from the screen below my publish-ready (almost) page for our corporate PR site shows the little revolving Kiosked Furla bags and shows, on mouse-over.
PR Kiosked Like me, once you sign up and test this ingenious sales tool, you’ll really be compelled to test the monetization scheme. What’s most powerful about this platform for me is the ability it gives anyone with an inkling of merchandising to create, to directly influence, fairly direct monetization of one’s own wares – and the exact products a one is associated with. It’s like a super customized Amazon, only more direct and a lot less intrusive. I asked CEO Micke Paqvalén at this point about not only publishers, but developers on the mobile end of the spectrum, to which he offered:
“We believe that in the next two years Smart Content will be the next big thing and want to make our platform available for all content publishers including game developers and others.”
To wit Paqvalén revealed part of Kiosked’s next version rollout, their “launching a developer program and have standardized API’s and SDK’s for both mobiles and videos”, among other features I am not at liberty to reveal. And there is the real story for those of you yearning for a mobile money maker. A lot more function is here, and according to the developers there’s tons more coming.
I have not shown you how hotspots, video Kiosking, and many other aspects of this powerful money generator work. However, adding a rich sales tool like this to mobile video and/or geocentric apps etc…. Like I told Andreas, what you are doing is very powerful stuff. Let me explain why from my angle.
Publishing is a tough business. Monetizing all these articles, you see, is not as easy as it seems. No one buys banner ads much anymore, and those that do pay based on a million or more clicks or impressions, whatever. The point is, people like me and you seldom really click any more.
Without a sob story drenching your keyboards there, suffice it to say several million small publishers (even big ones) need an edge. Kiosked provides just such a solution, and more than this, one that extends easily into the mobile space. And now it should be even more clear how come Kaj Hed and others invested in Kiosked.
I’ll be testing the analytic and monetization of Kiosked until the coming release of features the founder spoke of, so feel free to buy a Furla purse up there, or maybe a nice attache case for your next big PR meeting. I’ll be thrilled with my cut of the sale. I bet some of you would too.