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Blinkx in deal to power Ask.com video searches

Blinkx, the AIM-listed video search engine company spun off last month by Autonomy, has signed a deal to provide its services to Ask.com, one of the world’s largest internet search engines.

The deal is the biggest yet for Cambridge and San Francisco-based blinkx (BLNX) which wants to become to video searching what Google is for words.

Owned by the New York-based, Nasdaq-traded IAC/InterActive Corporation, Ask.com is a Google competitor, with between 4-10% of the global search market, according to blinkx.

Ask.com also owns an undisclosed share of the so-called secondary search market and supplies search engine capabilities to other companies.

IAC, which had sales last year of $6.3 billion, is headed by Barry Diller, a former chairman and chief executive of Fox and before that, chairman and chief executive of Paramount Pictures.

As an interactive commerce company, IAC's other brands include Ticketmaster, RealEstate.com, Gifts.com, Shoebuy.com, Citysearch and Evite. IAC briefly owned Expedia.com before spinning it off in 2005.

IAC is also introducing an internet service called Ask Mobile for GPS-enabled mobile telephones. This is aimed at enabling consumers to utilize the Ask.com search engine for geographic location searches, such as finding addresses or locating restaurants or shops.

It bought Ask.com for $1.85 billion in July 2005, when it was known as Ask Jeeves. IAC renamed the operation earlier this year as part of a re-launch aimed at boosting its share of the search engine market.

With the signing of Ask.com, blinkx now provides video search engine services to three of the top five internet search companies, including MSN and AOL.

Rather than receiving a straight fee from Ask.com for the use of its technology, blinkx will receive a payment for each search that Ask.com users make, as well as from advertising searches, the company said.

Blinkx, which claims to be the world’s largest video search engine, will supply Ask.com’s users with more than 12 million hours of audio and video content, the company says.

‘This relationship [with Ask.com] further demonstrates our technology leadership in the video search space and is an exciting development for our 130 or so media partners whose content can now be accessed through Ask.com’, blinkx founder and chief executive Suranga Chandratillake said in a statement.

Shares in the AIM-listed group rose 5% on Tuesday and at 2 pm were up 0.875p, or 1.8% higher, at 49.375p.

After floating at 45p each last month, the shares had a high of 79p on 23 May before falling back and bottoming at 45p on 30 May. At the current price blinkx has a market value of £137.35 million.

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