Blinkx looks to go to school on rivals Google and Yahoo.
The company, which pioneered online video search technology, plans to provide its service to Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX - News) AOL for a Web site that helps students with their homework. Starting Wednesday, Blinkx will collect a fee when visitors to AOL's StudyBuddy.com use its search engine to find videos.
Blinkx, like most other search engines, gets almost all its revenue from online ads. That's why the new fee system is a big step, Blinkx officials say. And it could help set the company apart from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG - News) and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO - News), which have their own video search services.
"This is the first significant revenue-generating relationship we have (other than ads)," said Suranga Chandratillake, Blinkx's founder and chief technology officer. "AOL has a lot of traffic and even though StudyBuddy is a subportal (a portal within AOL's Web portal), they are probably going to have a lot of traffic on their site."
Blinkx also might get some name recognition. A video search box on the site and related pages will be tagged with a Blinkx logo.
With more than 120 million visitors in June, Time Warner sites rank as the second most popular destinations on the Web, says comScore Networks. Yahoo, the Web's leading portal, ranked first.
Pairing with AOL could give Blinkx a better chance to compete with more well-known sites, such as YouTube and MySpace.com, says Greg Sterling, analyst for Sterling Market Intelligence, a research firm.
"They haven't been able to break into the top 10 in terms of destination traffic, so this sort of strategy makes sense for them," he said. "It might expose some number of users to Blinkx that otherwise wouldn't consider using them."
Chandratillake says AOL is paying Blinkx directly -- rather than sharing ad revenue -- to keep the site ad free. Officials from AOL weren't available for comment.