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Summary:

Video search company Blinkx announced tonight a “red-label” search product — which basically sounds like it’s making a self-service version of its white-label deals. The company will give free access to its search engine for sites with fewer than 10,000 searches per day, and ask partners […]

Video search company Blinkx announced tonight a “red-label” search product — which basically sounds like it’s making a self-service version of its white-label deals. The company will give free access to its search engine for sites with fewer than 10,000 searches per day, and ask partners with more searches to split ad revenue. It’s one in a long line of businesses for Blinkx.

Competitor Truveo, meanwhile, sent us an email about a month ago to tell us that it was “starting to monetize” for the first time by running ads. We were a bit taken aback — what had the company been doing to earn its keep for the last three years? It seems after it was bought by AOL it had become of a tech platform for its sugar daddy acquirer, helping power the portal’s video functions.

At one point some search licensing business deals were struck, but then about two years ago Truveo opened its API as a free resource. Since a recent relaunch as a destination video search site, traffic has grown nicely (especially internationally), so the company has just begun putting up advertising, according to Truveo president Pete Kocks. And silly me — I’d been following Truveo for all that time, but I guess I never noticed I hadn’t encountered a single ad.

I recently talked to Pixsy CEO Chase Norlin and asked him how he can get companies — such as Infospace, Lycos, and Veoh — to pay to license or share revenue on his search, when Truveo gives theirs away for free. His response: “It’s early early days, and it’s a landgrab, and publishers aren’t very educated about what’s going on out there.”

Another competitor, CastTV, had gotten a white-label deal to power TVGuide.com video search (update: this relationship is no longer in place, we confirmed with TVGuide), but still (still!) hasn’t gone into public beta.

OK, so we were mostly kidding about the headline, and despite our repeated bashing we really have nothing against video search, but we have to say these various moves don’t exactly spell out a competitive, healthy market.

  1. Liz,
    I am so glad you keep up on all this so I don’t have to! I love your reporting. Rox

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  2. I’m sensing a wide spread consolidation in H2 2008 and 2009 in the online video space, including video search. There’s just not a lot of business going on to support so many of these entities.

    I like the quote: “…publishers aren’t very educated about what’s going on out there”. In general, it’s not a good idea to quasi-insult your potential (paying) customers.

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  3. hey roxanne, at least chase is being straight up and honest about the market landscape right now. if you recall, when google was just getting started they had no idea how they were going to monetize search, until they copied overture.

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  4. Hi Roxanne, are you in the industry, or just a temp? Recent grad?

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  5. Amanda – Roxanne is from Beachwalks.tv – you should check out here show… she is great!

    Liz – “competitive, healthy market” – the video hosting market is still getting the most attention (YouTube, MySpaceTV, etc.). I predict this is going to change in the next few years, much like the Excite/Lycos/etc. Portal market changed to Search, particularly since most video hosting companies aren’t providing video creators a clear path to revenue that the video producers can control.

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  6. I think all these moves are further proof that Google will win in video search

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  7. I tend to agree with Daisy. Web video search is going to be won by the company that has the deepest strength in content discovery- and today that’s Google by far. We looked at this market as well and concluded that there was a much stronger business in providing a platform that helps the broadcast video industry ensure that their content is discovered by Google, Yahoo, Truveo, etc while ensuring the broadcasters retain control over their brands and the advertising.

    -Tom Wilde
    CEO, EveryZing

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  8. I think it’s way to early to declare anyone a winner in any new Internet category. To index, search, and discover all multimedia content on the web represents one of the last massive business opportunities on the Internet. Most new startups today don’t address a problem of this scale and magnitude.

    Chase Norlin
    CEO, Pixsy

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  9. I am so glad you keep up on all this so I don’t have to! I love your reporting. Rox

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  10. I recently spoke with folks at a couple of the companies above. There is definitely money in search. IMO, the real question is: Is search the distribution vehicle of choice for web video? If so, then search gatekeepers can extract ad revenues. If it is not, and instead social networks and portals like NewTeeVee Station or Hulu are the distribution, then they can’t.

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