Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Inbound" vs. "Outbound" definitions: Vertical search is horizontal!

One of the questions today at the SDForum Vertical LEAP conference has been "what is vertical search?

There are two simple answers to this. Firstly, there's what I'd call "Inbound" vertical search. This means that anyone in the world, at some given point in time, wants to do a certain thing:
Get a job

So the "Inbound" is people (temporarily) participating in a certain type of activity.


Second, there's the "Outbound" concept of vertical. This is the sort of vertical that business-to-business publishers like Primedia and CMP and Reed Elsevier have been working on forever. Oh, and there was this cool "bricks and clicks" company called eBusinessMedia...

Here, the vertical is based on "who I am" rather than "what I do". The music business is a vertical. Agriculture is a vertical. Medicine, with several sub-verticals, is a vertical. Music, agriculture, and medicine all need employment/jobs services -- all need secondary markets for used capital equipment -- all need dedicated industry news sources -- but the "vertical" here is the fact that medical jobs, markets, and news are entirely different from agriculture jobs, markets, and news.


Oddly enough, from the standpoint of this traditional view of "vertical," the distinctions that are driving this conference are actually horizontal.


Hmmm. Leave it a bunch of technologists in Silicon Valley to mix up their X and Y axes ;-)

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