It’s one of those Golden Rules of web usability: don’t make the visitor click more than they need to. And so it goes that both Tailgate and booBox have gone beyond the simpler affiliate advertising model and created a new, more instant paradigm…
In the case of Tailgate, their approach is to re-purpose existing screen real estate and make the banner advert itself the source of the transaction:
“Tailgates technology delivers ecommerce transactions from the banner itself. Essentially users can purchase items by interacting with the banner as opposed to having to click through to another page. The benefits from web sites owners are immediately obvious: using Tailgate, advertisements will no longer take users from their sites. For advertisers, capturing impulse buyers just became that much more easy.”
What’s interesting here for me is that this is an idea I had about two, maybe three years ago. So I’m glad to that it feasible, although there some obvious limitations to the idea, which seem to have been addressed.
For those in a rush, I’ve got a list of Pros & Cons for Tailgate and booBox at the bottom of the page. So enjoy.
First of all, the idea of the banner advert being the venue for the transaction is obviously scalable upwards, but not downwards? So certain banner advert sizes wouldn’t seem to be appropriate.
Fortunately, the guys at Tailgate gave that idea short thrift, and as this demonstration will attest, the advert expands to allow for whatever additional screen space is needed to complete the transaction.
Additionally, these guys haven’t quite taken their idea as far as I took mine. My idea was to incorporate the transaction with YouTube videos right at the very end.
So, say you’re watching an advert for Volvo, right at the end, the screen dims and you get to choose car model (saloon, hatch, estate, convertible et cetera) engine size, colour, interior style et cetera.
And if you were watching an advert by an airline or a travel firm, or some leisure operator like a hotel chain, then you’d get some kind of booking or reservation facility.
Which incidentally, would mean a lot of additional work. Here’s where the money runs dry – for the time being at least – and a new business model is needed. Anyone up for defining the XML schema for hotel accommodation booking and air travel reservations, and then wrapping the code up into a new system to sell of as a service?
I personally like what Tailgate are doing, and I imagine they’re probably thinking long-term, so my ideas might well sit somewhere on their horizon line.
It looks like booBox may have gone back to the drawing board for the time being. They’re still in beta and the once working demo just bounces back to their home page, which asks you to: “Come back here soon.”
Fortunately for thee & me, a previous article of mine covering booBox also featured a very mentionable article by TechCrunch article expounding on booBox, with pictures, which is always a bonus, I find.
Here’s where booBox take a different approach. Clicking on any appropriately linked image or text item within web page brings up a frame window within the main window containing another web page, an Amazon product page for iPods and iPod accessories, for example:
“Clicking on the iPod brings up a lightbox above the blog content with a number pictures of related items. Clicking on any of the items then brings up Amazon, within the lightbox, where a purchase can be made. I went through the entire checkout process and completed a purchase, so the demo works. At any point the box can be closed by the user, and they will return to the original site.”
A list of Pros & Cons for Tailgate and booBox
- booBox just opens up a web page within a frame on the same page with content from the likes of Amazon and their work is done.
- booBox isn’t limited to adverts. Any graphic or text element is a likely candidate, which the visitor clicks to begin the transaction.
- Tailgate keeps the transaction simple and within the advert itself.
- Tailgate adverts would appear to shrink back to their smaller, less obtrusive selves after the visitor is finished with them.