In January 2008, Ask CEO Jim Lanzone stepped down. He moved to Redpoint Ventures, a VC firm, to be their entrepreneur-in-residence. But his latest project brings him back to search: Clicker, an online TV video search engine. Kinda.
Lanzone is CEO of the video service, which launched yesterday at TechCrunch50 into private beta. Clicker aims to be a TV guide for online video—”the most comprehensive way to find the video content you’re looking for on the web.”
What makes Clicker different from the myriad other video search engines out there? TechCrunch reports:
[Clicker] creates a structured database of programming, organizing shows by things like network, genre, and show name. This type of data not only allows for better search results, but it allows you to browse content without having to do text-based searches, which you probably won’t be doing when television and future web-enabled tablets start to serve up this content. Clicker already has a deal with Boxee.
The goal is really to be the best search engine for video content. Clicker will point you in the direction of whatever you are looking for (and will do embeds if they’re available), but won’t serve up the videos themselves. They will also delve into surfacing content not explicitly produced for television, but is still high quality web video content. But they don’t want to be YouTube, which is cluttered with user-generated content. Clicker is going for a different market.
Clicker will also allow users to edit and submit information about shows wiki-style.
My question: what’s with all those vowels?! Are you sure you didn’t mean “clickr”? Way to shoot yourselves in the foot, guys.
Naturally, the first real question is what’s their business model. And the answer is typical of search engines: advertising, both search and display. However, they also plan to offer premium accounts, “which the company envisions might be used for storing your favorite videos online, kind of like a DVR of sorts.”
We’re obviously still learning new things about how to do online video all the time, as Hulu has shown us. But is there room for another video search engine—and if so, will Clicker be it? What do you think?
UPDATE: Lanzone would like us to think that Clicker is not a video search engine. No reports on whether he waved his hand when he said that, but I have this overwhelming feeling that these are not the droids I’m looking for.