Before Pointroll, Eyeblaster and Unicast made their T-Rex-sized imprint on the rich media landscape, a little outfit called EyeWonder was stirring the pot with graphically-enhanced online ad implementations that would help set the stage for the interactive video phenomenon we’re witnessing today.
Ads are now beamed through in-stream, rollover, pre-roll and post-roll formats to name a few. But industry vets can willfully admit that EyeWonder was one of the first to parlay several Flash lessons, an R&D background and a boatload of marketing savvy into a successful rich media operation. While the Klipmarts, Unicasts and Pointrolls of the world have been stealing much of the thunder these days, EyeWonder CEO John Vincent implores us not to count his company out.
By asking clients the basic question, “What are you trying to accomplish?” and helping agencies think out of the box, Vincent & Co. have evolved their core R&D strategy into a full-service product and service center for video and rich media advertising. EyeWonder’s recent alliance with Macromedia has helped the company once again gain footing in the rich media race, and ADOTAS had the chance to chat with Vincent and eye the future of this rich media pioneer.
You guys are one of the original rich media companies to emerge pre-bust. Can you give me a little background on EyeWonder?
Yeah we definitely are one of the old school groups. In fact Pointroll was a customer of ours at one point. Eyeblaster, Pointroll, and Unicast all were customers. In fact, even Klipmart. We’re kind of an interesting path to our company.
We originally had our own impression algorithm and mathematics development team in house. And we were really competing with Windows Media Player and Real Networks, and then eventually competing with Macromedia at the platform level. And we had our own Java-based technology back then. We then built applications on top of that, which one of the markets we serviced was advertising. So this is back in 1999 when we first launched, and then 2000 and 2001. So we had quite a bit more of an R & D and technical background, like at the core technology level, than most of the rich media technology companies.
Isn’t that a fundamental for a rich media company, though?
We certainly think so. And it’s definitely helped us in making sure that we’re able to create products that are more innovative and our customers certainly give us positive feedback for that. It’s definitely a competitive aspect to our business today. We have standardized now and partnered up with Adobe Macromedia on the Flash video format and so on the Flash graphics and rich media as far as a creative format. We’ve partnered up now at that level and we’ve transitioned our technical team mainly into the application layer and into the infrastructure, focusing very heavily towards creative tools and tracking reporting and serving technologies.
So that’s kind of the transition over the last 6 ½ years of development from core R & D and having all of the other focal points to now partnering up with Macromedia really as that core R & D platform and now we deploy our technical resources towards more direct customer interface and scalability issues, tracking reporting. We just recently launched a Flash component which is actually a plug-in to Flash, so now creative production teams in-house and agencies can produce all of the same things that we produce in-house and then that way we can consult with them and train just like we train our own teams, we can train the creative shops to push the limit on the creative side of the equation.
So you’re taking it more out of the in-house production and into out-of-office companies pretty much? Are you outsourcing a bit?
Not exactly. That component ties into our serving infrastructure, and what it does is simple. It’s designed to enable agencies not to be creatively restricted. Whereas our competitors all have various restricting mechanisms built into their systems. They either have templates or they’ve got some kind of an interface that people have to upload into that is restrictive. Where this component, because it’s built directly as a plug-in to Flash means that you’re limitless with respect to your capabilities in Flash.
However, simultaneously that code can build creatives that are standardized on EyeWonder’s technology for serving and reporting and it just creates a much more efficient production cycle. Our in-house creative team still does creative work, still supports the customer usage, and whichever way the agency wants to work with us, if they want to use a component and do in-house creatives, and then just leverage against our QA and technology teams and consulting on best creative practices, that’s fine. We’ve got both types of customers, but don’t push it one way or the other, we just open it up to either one.