Linkify Helps Mobile App Developers Monetize Without Banner Ads

Mark Boyd
Mar. 13 2014, 10:00AM EDT

Japanese start-up Linkify has bypassed an API release and gone straight to an SDK launch of their latest mobile developer tools. Linkify aims to provide monetization opportunities by using keyword and graphics analysis to add paid links directly into content on mobile Web sites and app pages. Cofounder and CTO Ikuya Yamada spoke with ProgrammableWeb about how developers can commercialize their content and Linkify’s roadmap to an augmented-reality future based on text and graphics analytics.

“Developers can easily integrate our SDK by pasting our JavaScript code (hosted on our server) into their WebView or Web sites. It takes a few minutes,” Yamada told ProgrammableWeb.

The Tokyo-based Linkify believes that for mobile developers looking to monetize their products, they could risk losing app customers by using app advertisements. These can be clunky banners across the top or bottom of an app that offers broadcast-like advertising. Often, this is not relevant to the app user’s specific needs or interest, frequently missing the mark and serving only to annoy the user and dilute any effort the developer has put in to a well-designed user interface.

“Currently, we provide monetization methods using Google AdSense and Amazon Associates. Developers can use affiliated URLs in the widget displayed when they click on a 'linkified' keyword,” said Yamada. “We think these monetization methods are especially suitable for readers of news, Web sites, and social media.”

Linkify believes it has solved the pain point of app banner ads by instead being able to offer app developers an SDK toolkit -- in both Android and iOS -- that applies text and graphics analytics to content (text and "interesting things" like Flickr photos) in an app. The SDK then creates linked paid content directly in the app to leverage commercial opportunities with a greater contextual relevance (and therefore user-friendliness) to the advertising.

Linkify’s Keyword Extraction Cloud evaluates thousands of keywords simultaneously. To minimize its response time, any content or text being searched is automatically split into chunks and simultaneously processed by numerous machines in Linkify’s cloud deployment.

Yamada is confident that the next stage in this road map will be an augmented, reality-type version of Linkify: As mobile devices become wearable, Linkify could be used to read images and text in the surrounding environment, do the text or graphics analysis, and serve up relevant information and paid content based on the environmental cues. The idea is not that far-fetched. This week, Google released the Glass app Preview, which allows a Glass wearer to play videos of movie trailers when looking at a matching movie poster.

“Linkify can automatically extract 'interesting' keywords from the text and connect them to relevant Web sources,” Yamada said. “We are currently working on applying Linkify's experience to real-world text by combining Linkify with the latest OCR (optical character recognition) technology. It enables users to experience Linkify on emerging wearable devices such as Google Glass.”

Developers can download the Linkify SDK from the Web site.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities. I can be contacted via email, on Twitter, or on Google+.

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