vertical search engines and vertical advertising networks

Rapleaf is launching in a few days … so i have been taking some time away from blogging.   Luckily, i followed Reid Hoffman’s advice and created 30 blog posts last December.   so i have ammunition for the blog by just cutting and pasting:

There are a bunch of vertical search
engines … everyone talks about them. We
all know them. Simplyhired (jobs),
Indeed (jobs), Oodle (classifieds), (shooping), Trulia (real
estate), Feedster (blogs), etc … vertical search engines galore. These sites look to aggregate users in one
central location to help them find useful information. A few of these sites make some money now —
most are better they will become more popular in the future. Many will get bought or mimicked by Yahoo or


Then there are vertical ad
networks. These companies, like
Adteractive, Quinstreet, NetBlue, etc. make a great deal of money today. Instead of creating one central location, they
specialize in finding people wherever they are on the web. 


We are seeing a huge proliferation
of both types … one is a central location, one is more distributed…


My hunch is
that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg on these vertical ad networks. Today we see a huge lead business in
mortgages, higher education, and services like NetFlix. 


But lead
gen can be applied to a lot of verticals that it hasn’t yet been applied


instance, for the last six months I have been trying to convince the military
to develop a distributed leads gen model for its recruits (note: I’ve had
little luck. even though I have met with
most of the generals in charge of recruiting, they are the government and are
slow to adopt new practices). 


And also
any financial product to consumers could be great for lead gen. so can leads for customers of enterprise
software, hot candidates you might want to hire, new couples for wedding
planners, and clients for lawyers. And
we’ll see these businesses increasingly proliferate and the companies that will
make all the money won’t just be the ones that provide a great service but also
the ones that provide the hot leads to those firms. 

In our
Always-Be-Closing society, thee vertical ad networks are becoming increasingly
important. And while the vertical
search engines are cool and provide a great service, their total addressable
market 10-100 times smaller than the vertical ad networks.

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