Minneapolis startup Freak Plugins launches first product

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Freal PluginsThe market for WordPress plugins and add-ons is absolutely massive, with around 20 percent of the Web running on the dominant publishing platform.

Of course, competition within that niche is also fierce, as there are more than 30,000 registered plugins available for WordPress.

The duo over at Freak Plugins believe their first product, SharePrints, will break through because it accomplishes an important task better than anything else out there.

That task, in simple terms, is image presentation and navigation. SharePrints is innovating the space by bringing image galleries to life, with new levels of interaction and intuitive scaling.

“We’re taking a new look at how images can be handled online,” says Craig Rentmeester, co founder and head of sales and marketing. Justin Ruether, the company’s technical co founder, has spent the past seven months developing the advanced algorithms that power SharePrints.

Those algorithms selectively create and load optimized versions of images based on a number of client side conditions such as screen size, device orientation, and display format. Optimized versions of images are smaller in file size, so this seemingly minor feature saves load time for the user and server bandwidth for the host.

That’s just one aspect of the user-friendly plugin, which also “makes it drop-dead easy to make a great looking gallery,” according to Rentmeester. Images pop up as an interactive lightbox, enabling the viewer to easily peruse, share and comment in real-time.

The creators state that added image interactivity will be a boon for e-commerce sites, allowing them to engage visitors and demonstrate products in new ways.

Rentmeester says that he expects WordPress users to embrace SharePrints because it integrates much better with the platform than NextGen Gallery, which is currently the leading image gallery plugin.

In order to make the switch, WordPress users need to first find SharePrints, and the team at Freak Plugins is currently deep in the promotion process after launching in mid-May. The multi-pronged approach involves advertising (PPC and display), social media, review sites and affiliate marketing.

They’re also working hard to tap into the unique WordPress community, attending events and connecting with blogs and podcasts.

SharePrints is being monetized through a subscription model based on the number of sites that receive updates and support. The cost per year ranges from $39 for one site to $129 for up 25 sites.

Rentmeester says that the product already has customers on five different continents, and partners on three.

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