Friday, November 02, 2007

Pixsy launches video search on Lastminute - for what it is worth

Spotted an announcement on Techcrunch that video/media search company Pixsy has signed a deal and launched a media search site for The site is Lastminute branded but Pixsy hosted. Duncan Riley at Techcrunch describes the deal as providing the following
The new service will allow users to search millions of travel photos and videos while simultaneously shopping for travel services.
It is easy to see the media search part in action. Just a matter of typing a destination and videos are presented. However, while I am a fan of efforts to bring more media into the online travel retail experience, I do not think this implementation or product is that valuable to consumers or meets the hype.

Firstly I found the quality of media available to be mixed at best and poor at worst. A search of Sydney had some interesting media like a series of photos from one contributor from the local zoo but also contained photos of random people at random events. Relevance is always hard in a UGC environment so this can be forgiven.

What is very dangerous from Lastminute's perspective is that if you click on an image/video/media item the browser opens a new window at the location of the media contributor. This means that Lastminute is referring customers to media sites that it has not reviewed and has no control over. So in the case of a photo of a Kangaroo submitted by contributor Richard Ward I ended up at a media hosting site called Smug Mug another photo sent me to a site called ViewImages. Even though these two sites appear to only have kosher content (ie no porn, no violence) I would always advise against a system that sends customers to a UGC images site that I did not have complete control over. There seems to be a limit to the media providers but they include YouTube and DailyMotion so this is not much of a control.

Secondly the link between the images/media served at the Lastminute booking process is tenuous. I have put two screen shots below to highlight this.

Shot 1 - Other that the Lastmintue frames around the Pixsy search results the only integration is a link next to the search box. There is no integration with an individual image.

Shot 2 - should a customer actually click on this link they are sent to a Lastminute generic search results page. In this example of Sydney the list appears to be a random collection of hotels and generic links to top level pages like flights or holidays. It is not an integrated experience.

This is not compelling an unlikely to drive any booking activity.

The Techcrunch general Pixsy profile is here.

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