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blinkx Video Search Guns for Google

blinkx offers a white-label video search service as it seeks to compete with Google and other Web service providers.

Oft-rumored Google acquisition target blinkx served up its latest video search fare July 16 in the form of Red Label, a syndication service that lets customers run and make money from videos indexed by blinkx on their sites.

The idea makes total sense. Thanks to broadband ubiquity and the rocketing popularity of Google’s YouTube, video is table stakes for Web sites who want to not only attract users, but keep them there as long as possible.

By embedding ads within the videos, as well as along the sides of their properties, Web site owners hope to crack into the market for video ads, one that Google has barely scratched. It’s also one that IDC and Forrester Research both claim is positioned for explosive growth in the next few years, surpassing even search ad growth.

Through leveraging the blinkx Red Label service, which bears a striking resemblance to the white-label social network model, customers will better be able to make money from advertising on the videos because advertising is built into the services, blinkx founder and CEO Suranga Chandratillake told me.

To use blinkx Red Label, customers sign up on blinkx and get immediate access to APIs that let them embed blinkx Web video search on their Web sites or applications.

Red Label is free; blinkx makes money through ad revenue earned from the service. When users sign up to use the service, they offer ads or let blinkx ads run on their videos. The customers split money generated from these ads 50-50 with blinkx. Sites with less than 10,000 hits per day can opt out of the ad model.

There are two primary models, Chandratillake told me. One is an

The second model is a hosted version that hosts search results at However, these are rendered to searchers with the aesthetics of the customer’s site. Customers add code that drops the blinkx search box on their site and blinkx takes care of everything else.

Red Label will be offered in two tiers based on the size of the portal or Web site: one for larger customers that will include blinkx services, and as a self-service portal for smaller sites. Russian search engine Rambler and MSN UK have beta tested Red Label to this point.

blinkx has 26 million hours of video content in its index from which customers may choose from for Red Label. It’s also the best independent video search app out there, thanks to the blend of conceptual search, speech recognition and visual analysis software it employs.

Perhaps only Google will argue that Google’s video search, on YouTube or its other properties, is superior.

But I have concerns: namely, well, YouTube. Like Google for search, YouTube is the premier destination for video hosting and sharing, and users can pretty much find what they want from that site with a few keyword searches. Where does blinkx’s opportunity lie? It’s not in doing searches on YouTube.

Chandratillake told me Google has both technically and strategically attacked the video hosting model rather than the video search model. “They are doing a little more video search now, but it’s still pretty half-hearted compared to what they’ve thrown into the video hosting and video sharing model.”

He went on to say the opportunity for those that want to leverage video without going through YouTube is huge because large companies are wary of working with Google. He also noted that Yahoo doesn’t have video search and that Microsoft’s MSN has a poor video search tool.

So, while the rumors run wild that Google may have eyed blinkx in the past, it sounds more like Chandratillake and Co. are angling for their own slice of the market, or perhaps a comfy exit strategy into the arms of Yahoo or Microsoft.