Is the best way to fight technology with technology?

July 11, 2017


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In our CEPIC Congress ‘Thank you’ newsletter we mentioned a few of this years very well-attended seminars. 

The biggest discussions and debates where centred around Google and our industrys efforts to overcome its dominance on search, and the negative impact it’s having on our on-line licensing and copyright preservation. We also explored emerging revenue opportunities and what the future holds for our industry. 

Conversations naturally focussed on legal and lobbying efforts made by industry bodies such as CEPIC, DMLA and BVPA in this area, but we also wanted to highlight to members an emerging technology solution called the SmartFrame, that solves many of the issues discussed in our seminars. 

SmartFrame were a sponsor of this year’s CEPIC Congress, indeed you may have seen their coffee cups around, met with their team, or have attended SmartFrame CEO; Rob Sewell’s seminar: “Regaining Control of your Online Images” on Friday afternoon. 

At his session, Rob demonstrated this innovative image technology that has the potential to revolutionise our industry, and addresses many of the issues discussed at this years congress. 

For those that didn’t catch that session; the SmartFrame is a patent-pending, secure, embeddable, trackable and interactive digital image format, which is looking to redefine the digital image standard in the coming months & years. 

As we all know, gaining control and properly policing image content on the Internet is long overdue, and whilst all the legal work being done is helping, it’s going to be a long and uphill battle. Rob believes that the best way to fight technology is with technology – much like anti-piracy control for audio and video content has been accomplished using technology – he believes the SmartFrame technology can do the same for the image industry.  

  • Helps to protect and raise awareness of copyright of images 
  • Drives traffic and sales back from Google
  • Can be shared & embedded in a controlled manner, always linking back to the content owner with a one click path to purchase 
  • Provides valuable business data and intelligence from wherever it is viewed
  • Offers an interactive and engaging viewing experience 
  • And provides new marketing and revenue opportunities for content owners

SmartFrame is starting to gain traction across a variety of verticals including the image industry, publishers, brands, fashion, online retail, property and automative sectors. 

Their API and dashboard can be integrated into any web platform or application, and SmartFrames can be updated dynamically and retrospectively wherever they have been embedded on the Internet. Further info can be found at

One of the big challenges, and a key point of discussion at CEPIC, is the issue of Google scrapping and serving content, and the content then being consumed and shared across the internet directly from their search listings, with no attribution or clear path back to the owner. 

The SmartFrame technology mitigates this problem, as it ensures the high resolution image remains invisible to Google and web scrappers, while allowing Google to see a small unusable watermarked thumbnail, complete with a clear call to action such as “View Photo”, which then drives traffic back to the hosted platform to see the full secure SmartFrame version of the image. This has no negative impact on ranking, as you can see from this set of Google Search Results for a photographer currently using SmartFrame. The photographers images are on the first page of Google results here, and if you click to the Google Images view you’ll see the top ranking images are also SmartFrame thumbnails – all leading back to the photographers website – where the viewers can experience the SmartFrames and license the images directly or share them in a controlled manner. 

Further examples of SmartFrames with various configurations can be viewed here SmartFrame Examples

SmartFrame have a busy features release schedule coming throughout 2017. Next up will be their Tracker feature, which will allow users to view where their images have been shared and embedded and how viewers are interacting with them. Then later in the year SmartFrame users will be able to communicate and advertise to their audiences in new and targeted ways, such as affiliate advertising & product linking to sales stores, in order to generate new revenue streams for our industry, alongside boosting more direct image sales.

The SmartFrame team are also working with a reverse search engine company to find infringements, and rather than asking for infringing uses of images to be taken down, they are asking them to swap them out for SmartFrames. In this way they are not only changing the way new content is being published, but also beginning to convert historical content too, helping the content owners to develop larger audiences, greater engagement and driving more traffic back to their / or third party platforms to monetise a variety of products and services. 

Could this be the future way to protect and monetise our content and grow our industry revenues? 

SmartFrame have put together a very generous offer for all of this years CEPIC delegates – they are offering FREE integrations and 12 month’s FREE use of their Showcase, Tracker and Monetizer upgraded packages.

To book a demo and experience how this technology can help revolutionise your business please contact us directly at or visit