Blinkx is a search company that creates text from audio files. By turning the audio into metadata that is searchable, it can be a powerful way to locate relevant points within audio and video files.
Something weird is going on though. First, I saw an article which makes it seem as though Blinkx has a deal with Rocketboom, which is not true:
Here is the relevant text from Investor's Business Dailyarticle:
Thus far, most of the video clips available online are amateur videos and content uploaded by hobbyists. Blinkx, though, already has deals to feature content from small sites like Rocketboom.com, which posts video blogs."
Ok, granted, a logician would infer that its not necessarily the case that Rocketboom has a deal with Blinkx, but this is just misleading. I continue to assume that any normal human being would assume that Blinkx has a deal with Rocketboom. Not true. No one from Blinkx has ever contacted us and the first time I heard about them was just this weekend from another reporter who called me about my opinion on the company.
This is where it gets really weird. The second reporter. He was from The Media Post. We spoke on the phone for about 30min. I told him I would be glad to talk with him but if he was going to quote me over the phone, I would just want him to send me his writing for clarification, just to make sure he got it right. He claimed that he would not be able to do this because major journals just don't do that. No reason really, just because.
Well, he didn't get it right at all. In fact, instead of paraphrasing, this journalist made up quotes. This is just massively wrong. He seems like a nice guy and is interested, but clearly there is a devastating negligence on the part of his organization to not inform their journalists of something so obvious. Not being a journalist myself, I take certain things for granted and necessarily true anyway:
Rule: Do not ever "create" a version of a story and then quote someone else as having said what you made-up.
Pretty obvious, eh? Lets have a look at how horrible this is and what a problem it can be for the parties involved: Here is a paragraph from The Media Postarticle:
Andrew Michael Baron, creator of the popular Rocketboom video blog, said that although his first rule is never to deter distribution, he has several misgivings about the project--including the loss of control that comes with distribution. "I'm confused and worried about losing control over how our stuff is experienced--and whether we'll get attribution," said Baron.
First of all lets get right to the "quote". This was not a quote. The author designed the sentence himself with his own words. I never used the words "confused and worried" for anything. There is nothing about Rocketboom or our realtionships with others that has me confused and worried. And I would never refer to our work as "stuff". I never said anything about attribution. WTF??? This isn't just a bit wrong, this is pure literary fiction. Is the mob running the Media Post?
Writing your own quotes for someone is just a ridiculous thing to do. It gets worse. Here is the next paragraph from the article:
Then there's the advertising issue. Baron, who said he plans to scrutinize blinkx's terms of agreement before he does anything, is not entirely opposed to ad support, but having some veto power is a priority. "That falls into our contamination department," he said. "We don't want to just be co-opted for some big company who'll run some 15-second ad for Schick razors before our video. I mean, big brands are fine--Nike has some great ads--but we want some control over what runs with our stuff."
In this part, where he makes up my quotes, he did get one word right, contamination. But lets look at what is so unfair about this. Within the quotes, he made up the following sentence from scratch:
"We don't want to just be co-opted for some big company who'll run some 15-second ad for Schick razors before our video. I mean, big brands are fine--Nike has some great ads--but we want some control over what runs with our stuff."
First of all, I never used the word Schick or mentioned anything about razors. I did say that we did not want to be co-opted by main stream media, but that was a point from much later in the conversation in reference to our creating additional content, so he must have tried to splice some things together in order to create this quote. Note how he also created a conversational feel to the quote by including such idioms as "I mean," and "our stuff" (there is that word "stuff" again).
Here is the next time he brings up Rocketboom:
Baron, who said Rocketboom.com draws about 60,000 unique visitors per day, added that he was having meetings with large "mainstream media" companies that have expressed interest in Rocketboom, as well as developing similar projects from scratch.
But what does that have to do with Blinkx? Is this supposed to give validation to the quotes that he created for me? At least it wasn't in quotes itself.
Here is the next created "quote":
"One show we want do is take a news anchor from behind the desk--which is the standard setup for Rocketboom--and send them out into the city to cover sports events," said Baron, "but not regular sports--alternative sports like dumpster diving competitions, and, like, pillow fighting in bars."
"And like. . .", said the half-baked videoblogger as if he were from the Valley, as he held his blackberry just barely touching his soft cheek [insert one bar of Schubert's 8th then cut to sunset over Malibu]. Once again, what does this have to do with Blinkx? If the point is to validate the authority of my made-up "quotes", how does this do that? I just don't get why this information is important to the article. But we cant blame journalists for this age old problem. Let's look more at the "quote":
"One show we want do is take a news anchor from behind the desk--which is the standard setup for Rocketboom--and send them out into the city to cover sports events".
The idea is right here, but again, this is not my word choice or my paraphrasing choice, but the author has gone through some detail to arrange the quote with dashes in order to provide the run-on commentary which may have been needed in order to convince the audience that he actually did speak to me?
I'm just at a loss for words, having had them replaced by this.
Today, I explained in an e-mail that this is wrong and he ought to record a phone conversation if he needs to use quotes but his defense included lack of time and resources. When I asked about removing or editing the article, of course they can't do that. I dont know why they can't fix or remove any electronic copies. When we screw up, we fix it. Why continue to perpetuate false information? This particular information makes me look like a misinformed dope who speaks with non sequiturs, while it makes Blinkx look uncool because some chump is scrutinizing.
If the media company was smart, they would just delete the article and move on.
In any case, if anyone is interested, all I know about Blinkx so far is what the reporters have published: I have a deal with Blinkx and I'm skeptical they will take control of me.
Other than that, in my own words, these are my conclusions:
(1) Indexing audio (and thus the audio of video) and turning that metadata into searchable text by time frame is fantastic! This will be a feature that all search engines will employ one day, I assume. Great for Blinkx if they are leading this industry into the main stream because I believe its extremely important.
(2) According to the journalist, Blinkx is set to introduce this technology with their own proprietary version of video over IP delivery. This is what I wonder about. Why combine these two things? It's like putting a radio together with your toaster. Since there are SO MANY TV over IP solutions right now (none that are leading), why bank a great technology on a potentially sucky distribution scheme? Even if its a great distribution system, it may only be great for one kind of thing. Searching audio is great for more kinds of things. I would like to see a quality radio that I could use without a toaster.
To learn more about Blinkx, the new search technology, see:
That is unfortunate that the Media Post journalist twisted your words.
I don't work for Blinkx or Media Post, but I am very familiar with both. Blinkx is, simply put, a video search engine. They also have proprietary technology that allows them to search for video based on audio within that video.
Blinkx is still privately held. IPTV is big buzz in the advertising industry, and you're correct, there is no leader in IPTV. Other IPTV start-ups are paying big $$ to get content from publishers, Blinkx on the other hand is not giving up their original model to jump into the overpacked IPTV industry, they are relying on content from consumers- i.e. videoblogs like Rocketboom. If Blinkx is going to pay videoblogs for content, I'm guessing it will only be videoblogs as popular as Rocketboom (which I believe is the most popular) and it wouldn't be as much as say Akimbo would pay- if they are paying anything.
So why is Blinkx jumping in to IPTV? My guess is:
A) their technology makes it incredibly simple for them to do it.
B) they are not wasting money by not paying for content like the vast majority of IPTV start-ups that will be gone in a few years (smells like 1996).
C) they may attract more attention by jumping into the IPTV sector, thereby increasing the amount of their obviously planned, inevitable buyout.
In April of this year they were in talks with News Corp, although I haven't heard the deal went through. My guess is that will be bought by Google very soon because their video search is not nearly as advanced as Yahoos, and certainly not as advanced as Blinkx.