Business Model for Video Search: No Results

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 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.