RealTime IT News

Singingfish Swims With Rich Media

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- While the rest of the Search world is focused on ad dollars and acquisitions, Singingfish is honing its technologies to actually finding things that people want -- rich media.

The Seattle-based firm best known for a repository of links to audio and video content Wednesday said it is adding Flash-based material to its capabilities starting this fall.

The company, which made its announcement at the Search Engine Strategies 2003 Conference & Expo here, says despite the hype from its competition, multimedia is in huge demand on search engines.

"According to our own research, 25 percent of all searches being done today would be better served with a multimedia result, and these aren't just end-users searching for music downloads," Singingfish CTO Eric Rehm said.

The problem for advertisers, according to Rehm is that there are only a handful of ways to get leads from people who watch and listen to Internet audio and video. Traditional text-based search engines are often stymied, he says, when it comes to finding this type of content with traditional crawling methods. Macromedia Flash and other non-HTML content are also difficult, and often impossible, for crawlers to read.

"Not only end-users are searching for more multimedia on the Web," said Rehm. "Advertisers too are increasingly seeking out ways to capitalize on the successes of search engine advertising. With Singingfish extending its multimedia index to include more formats such as Flash, advertisers now have another way to drive sales and build brand visibility."

As to the claims by Google and others that rich media searches, while possible, are currently legal landmines due to content protection laws, Rehm told internetnews.com that kind of rhetoric is a red herring.

"We've been offering search for audio and video content for the last four years and we're completely DMCA [Digital Millenium Copyright Act] compliant," he said. "The only reason we pull a link to content is because some small business or individual user starts getting too much traffic and can't handle the load."

Currently, AltaVista and FAST are the other major players that have inbred technology to spider and show results for rich media content. Those two properties are soon to be in the hands of Yahoo! , which recently said it would acquire Overture .

Rehm says his firm is deeply rooted in partnerships with Microsoft and RealNetworks for their Windows Media Player and the RealOne Player respectively. Singingfish also is putting together a neat little search results package deal with Comcast's Comcast.net.

A spokesperson for Singingfish said the company is in ongoing negotiations with Microsoft about its technologies but declined to say whether it was on extending its partnership terms or something else.

Google, meantime has its Images search technology but told internetnews.com that it has no immediate plans to offer relevant search results for streaming audio nor video media content. The spokesperson added Google would have no problem handling neither the technology nor the traffic if it did.

Editor's note: The SearchEngine Strategy show is produced by Jupitermedia, parent company of this Web site.