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blinkx Gives Publishers Another Video Option

Web video search engine Blinkx wants to be to the video Web what Google is to the text Web. Problem is, Google wants to be the Google of the video Web, too. So now the companies are competing.

Today, Blinkx launched an ad-supported widget based on the company’s AdHoc contextual advertising platform that plays embedded video clips from sites, such as YouTube, MySpace and Google Video. Participating Web publishers will split advertising revenues from the widget with Blinkx.

The Blinkx AdHoc widget allows publishers with an AdHoc account to copy the embed code of any video from a Web site into a Blinkx form. The form then spits out a new embed code for publishers to paste onto their Web sites, blogs or social-networking page.

Blinkx uses its video search technology to analyze the meta data surrounding the embedded video and serve up appropriate ads from various ad networks. When a site visitor clicks on an ad in a widget, the revenue splits down the middle between Blinkx and the publisher.

The rollout comes only a day after Google announced ad-supported embedded video units for AdSense publishers. The main difference between the Blinkx and Google and products is in the type of content their embedded video will broadcast.

Publishers signed up with the Blinkx widget can use any video from any video site, as long as its available for embedding. Whereas Google’s ad unit will show only select content from YouTube, including TV Guide Broadband, Expert Village, Mondo Media, lonelygirl15, Extreme Elements and Ford Models be based on video content, as well as the publisher’s site content.

“We’re video site agnostic,” Blinkx CEO Suranga Chandratillake told InternetNews.com. “If you’re a blogger whose content fits with one of the YouTube options, their product works,” Chandratillake said. “The problem is it’s a limited selection.”

Chandratillake said the differences probably stem from different product goals. He thinks the Google ads are positioned for the “head of the tail,” a few popular sites with many visitors.

Blinkx is more concerned about monetizing the “long tail,” Chandratillake said, referring to the very many relatively unpopular sites whose aggregated visitors total as many or more as the number visiting the Web’s most popular sites.

Chandratillake said he isn’t worried about a negative reaction from Google, the company that will bear the hosting costs for many of the videos Blinkx’s product now monetizes.

He said the ads that the widgets overlay pop down from the top of the embedded videos and do not conflict with Google’s new InVideo ads, which pop up from the bottom. He also noted that encouraging publishers to embed YouTube videos will only increase the platform’s reach.

In May, Kim Scott, Google’s director of AdSense online sales and operations, told InternetNews.com that Google seeks to profit from both the head of the tail and the long tail with its video-advertising products.

Even if Google and other Web video platforms do not protest, Blinkx can likely expect noise from video-content owners. In March, Viacom sued Google and its video-sharing platform YouTube for “massive intentional copyright infringement” of Viacom’s entertainment properties.