Blinkx raises the stakes in online video

Video search AdHocracy


Blinkx ('blinks'), the transatlantic video search engine, has beaten Google, Yahoo! and MySpace to a big technology punch by going live with a system that "listens" to speech in clips in order to allow advertisers to target users more specifically.

The launch - a concerted attempt to make online video work as a business - represents a big test for the nascent medium, which has been talked up as The Next Big Thing since the internet industry crawled out of its self-inflicted dotcom pit in 2004.

Blinkx's platform, which had been codenamed Project Trilby, launches today under the banner AdHoc. It'll insert video ads that it deems appropriate at the start, in the middle, or at the end of clips. The video hosters, who allow the search engine to index their content, won't neccessarily get a say on what product their users are being associated with, which could see some interesting conflicts emerge.

Despite the hype around online video, nobody's making any real money at it yet. Google's video search has stagnated since the acquisition of YouTube, which began running in-video ads in May, but they aren't targeted on context. It's telling that video search doesn't merit a direct link from the Google front page: the product isn't good enough, and doesn't bring in any cash.

It's likely that the main technical priority for YouTube has been implementing the copyright takedown software which, as a hoster, is vital for it to continue. Unlike rivals Metacafe and Revver, YouTube clips don't appear on Blinkx.

Blinkx's founder, Suranga Chandratillake, had a dig at Google's video efforts in the AdHoc announcement. He said: "Until now, online video advertising was a kind of Frankenstein's monster - an attempt to cobble together technology that was built for Text Web banner advertising and apply it to an entirely new medium."

The debate over whether "interruptive" TV-style advertising - i.e. not just a link or a banner on the side of the page - will ever succeed on the internet remains open. We should have some idea in less than a year from now, when Blinkx releases its first results as a public company. It listed on AIM in May, achieving a market capitalisation of about $350m.

As a start-up, it was subject to takeover talk involving Murdoch's News Corp, but stayed solo. The firm boasts its 111 patents have come at a R&D cost of $150m, and it shows: Blinkx's video search creams the competition right now, zeroing in on elusive clips in a way that is reminiscent of when Google crashed into web search.

In two separate announcements today, Blinkx also announced partnerships with RealPlayer and web search aggregator Dogpile, aimed a getting its search box onto more screens.®


Other stories you might like

  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    As shareholders sue the social network amid Elon Musk's takeover attempt

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay
    Workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability and, um, wage 'fairness' all struck down in vote

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's first shareholder meeting was a rousing success for Amazon leadership and Jassy's bank account. But for activist investors intent on making Amazon more open and transparent, it was nothing short of a disaster.

    While actual voting results haven't been released yet, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky told Reuters that stock owners voted down fifteen shareholder resolutions addressing topics including workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability, and pay fairness. Amazon's board recommended voting no on all of the proposals.

    Jassy and the board scored additional victories in the form of shareholder approval for board appointments, executive compensation and a 20-for-1 stock split. Jassy's executive compensation package, which is tied to Amazon stock price and mostly delivered as stock awards over a multi-year period, was $212 million in 2021. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022