Search Startup Targets Digital Downloads

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-02-04 Print this article Print

As multimedia search gains converts, newcomer GoFish tries to carve out a niche as a clearinghouse for legitimate downloads. With its first search-engine deal with complete, it turns toward broadening its reach.

As Google and Yahoo dive into indexing television programs and video, a San Francisco-based startup company is taking a different approach to searching for multimedia content as it prepares to expand. GoFish Technologies Inc. has created an index of 14 million downloadable digital media files that range from audio and video to games and mobile ring tones. Acting like a clearinghouse for digital media, GoFish goes beyond displaying Web links by also providing lists of options where searchers can legally download media. GoFishs goal is to become the multimedia download index servicing a wide variety of broader search engines, and this week it reached its first search-engine licensing deal with, a Dallas-based startup backed by entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
Read more here about NBA team owner Cubans Wi-Fi plans for a Dallas stadium.
"A lot of people are starting to use their comfortable, mainstream search engines to find downloadable media, and more people are spending more time online to find music or video downloads," said Michael Downing, GoFishs co-founder and CEO. "We are trying to bring these two worlds together and bridge the gap between Web search and digital media download search." GoFish, founded last year, expects to almost double its index size to 27 million files within two weeks. It also plans within the next three months to move its own search site out of a beta test that started in November, Downing said. The deal also could be the first of a series of search-engine deals to come. GoFish is in discussions with dozens of search providers, and Downing said he expects to reach another couple of deals in the next two months. "We have been negotiating with everybody from the big search engines to the smaller, IceRocket-type brands," Downing said. Multimedia search is gaining increased attention as the major search engines begin rolling out various approaches. Yahoo Inc. is testing a video-search service that scours the Web for multimedia content, while Google Inc. is creating a searchable index of television-program transcripts. Another search engine devoted to multimedia search is, which was acquired in 2003 by America Online Inc. It concentrates on indexing streaming media from the Web. Click here to read more about search engines turning to video. has begun using GoFish to power a multimedia section of its search site. GoFish is the second partnership for the startup, which also uses the Blog Search Engine for a Moblog (mobile Weblog) search feature for finding images posted to blogs. GoFishs multimedia search approach fits with IceRocket.coms goal of differentiating itself from the large search engines such as Google Inc., CEO Blake Rhodes said in an e-mail interview. "To some degree, I feel like the same things are being done on all the search engines, and our main focus is to find things that arent really being offered and put them on our site," he said., launched in August, is working on its own expansion plans. It plans to develop its own advertising programs over the next few months. They will include a paid search listings program where advertisers pay based on clicks as well as other programs, Rhodes said. When it displays download options, GoFish provides links directly into 100-some digital media stores such as Apple Computer Inc.s iTunes Music Store, Napster Inc. and Musicmatch Inc. GoFish earns a portion of the revenue when a searcher pays to download a file from those services, Downing said. In its licensing deals with search engines, GoFish also shares a portion of the revenue from downloads that comes from those partners, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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