Product & Startup Builder

Horizontal Verticals

Added on by Chris Saad.
Something has been bugging me recently and I thought I would post about it. It's a little off-topic but this is my soapbox :)

What is with the sudden rash of verticals that are so niche that they make no sense? What Do I mean?

I mean ZoomBlast which is like Digg except for video.

Or Gnoos which is like Technorati except for aussie bloggers.

Don't get me wrong - I live in Australia and I think that locals like Ben Barron are rare and it's great to find people in this country that are even aware of the latest trends much less engaged in them, but there are broad (or horizontal?) verticals and then there are hobby verticals. And as far as I am concerned, hobby verticals are really not worth my time.

Video publishing is a broad vertical. Video publishing about flowers is not. That's a hobby. Is anyone under any illusion that Digg and TechMeme are not in the process of branching out to other verticals which will leverage their existing brand and traffic into more specific niches (in fact they are - It's been reported recently).

So what is the point of building a vertical that is so specific that it only covers a sub-set of a much more successful venture somewhere else?

And before you say 'specialization - doing things that the others can't do because of their lack of focus' consider that while that is true of broad verticals (like publishing video), it isn't true of hobby verticals.

To turn Technorati into an Aussie blog tracker all they need to do is add a combo box for 'location'.

I must also stress here I am not talking about niche content (e.g. highly specific blogs etc which are the key to democratic/citizen journalism) but rather about companies that are setting up infrastructure and platforms that enable content creation/interaction.

If you want to compete with Digg then compete - but there is no point creating a site that does what Digg already does (track popular stuff) just because yours happens to track popular VIDEO stuff.