At Vertical Leap

I’m at Vertical Leap, a great idea… hopefully a great conference. David Hills of LookSmart is speaking. I’ve […]

I’m at Vertical Leap, a great idea… hopefully a great conference.
David Hills of LookSmart is speaking. I’ve got the ipod recorder going… maybe he’ll let me post…

his definition.. providing essential search content and tools for people who have a passion, need or repetitive task.

I’m not sure this really captures it’s nature… Ill try to think on that further.

two types of search

  • broad search: need based without knowing where to find information
  • need based, but consumer has knowledge and needs greater concentration in type of result.

    categories where it works today
    jobs, travel, shopping, health, blogging, entertainment, local, homework/education help
    by content or audience… provides vertical results. Part technology and part human…. !! interesting. I’d like know more about what that means to him

    verticals offer consumers the ability to automate the drill down process, save time, assemble and meet like minded people.

    shift toward complementary verticals
    focus on essential not exhaustive (!)
    more tools… document saving/bookmarking
    more alerts
    new level of consumption/engagement

    advertisers will love verticals… better reach, increased frequency. bester targeting. better segmentation.
    he brings up the classic cycle… research, winnowing, decision, purchase… trackable in vertical search? possibly, though need deeper tool integration like Y! shopping has.
    he mentions advertisers need and desire alternative mediums.

    Dollars will follow. (cable tv took 18 years to get dollars to match share)

    all media markets have same path…. online will be no different (pattern of consolidation then diversity… network to cable. david is a ex-tv guy.)
    good question: are we providing value to consumers and advertisers. balance!

    participants will develop
    a affinity with consumers in a category of need
    a trusted brand
    the ability to market yourself
    ability to service advertisers looking to reach a discrete audience (very excited by power of viral/pr/SEO/promotions rather than traditional marketing)

    other distribution options
    partner with established companies
    distributed on branded/white label
    provide content and technology plumbing to companies with recognition in the space you desire– build both brands. (TV model again… cable companies promote each other’s shows. when the tried to create a walled garden, they failed) again, there are no walled gardens… it’s a failed model. why can’t people learn that???

    be willing to provide advertiser hand holding– be aware this is a hard medium to understand and use.

    looking around… it’s guyville. 1-7, roughly looks like

    room for many companies
    Innovation usually comes from new entrants into a market.
    more than enough advertising money for now
    cable and web prove consumers can handle a lot of choice
    plenty of fnding
    no shortage of smart and motivated people to pick up the challenge

    wil have both broad and vertical needs
    can assimilate many brands into their life
    want to save time and increase productivity
    want additional tools

    wnt multiple chocies
    will support alternatives
    wnat increased oppts to reach consumers
    will adapt to buying deeper nto the medium if it’s easy and productive

    will creat services wiht a laserfocus

    Q how do you pick markets?
    is there a need, are their adverisers, do you have something to offer (in short)

    Q missed question, but he’s now talking classic innovators dilemma… talking about why network tv resisted getting into cable, via fear of canabalizing their own audince, plus taking wait and see attitude.and there was regulations
    follow up.. why coudln’t google just copy anything that succeeds? He says every comapny has ot make choices… no resources are unlimited, google will always choose what they want to do, it may not be what you do. you can’t get up every morning worrying about the competition. You can choose to be their partners. and speed can be as important as exclusivity.

    Q annecdote about how CBS couldn’t take HBO advertising. hurt themselves.
    A he liked moving into cable, coudl do business with competitors

    Q: vertical challenges– real time data understanding . relevence is hard, because no link analysis. how can you do relevence? pubsub/technorati relevence issues. How do you see the guts of search changing.
    A: a little bit technoloyg, a little bit human. he brings up the directory! let technology updte human knowledge… he looks to see if directory is already there if he wants to move into vertical market. the combination works well togeher (he doesn’t mention the joy of the short tail, but hey)
    Bu if you create a company of directories, you have 500 ppl trying to go as fast as the web changes. not gonna work!

    Q: B2B
    A: a little more quirrely from time to tome.. verticals go up and down. but in teh end, B2B will do well, but selectively. some wil do better than others (well, yeah…)

    Q: do you think the advertising money will come form the site itself, or partnership with ad company (adsense, oerture)
    A: bit of both. any large site uses 3 or 4 products,, adsense, etc AND their propriatary ad force. what are accounts geography you can put a person in, what are the marketplaces you can’t afford to put a sales person against… when do you use ad networks to fill in the edges? a blend… most folks use at least two, large ones will use 5 adnetworks it’s god to be a ad network 80/20 to choose. Some networks do NOT provide relevent ads… deadly to vertical search very true, relevence is king in search INCLUDING the ads. Especially the ads

    Q: exhaustive vs targeted?
    A: pick and choose… know what’s needed in the vertical. is it going to be content, transactional, or community. plus what’s the cost compared to value?

    Q: vertical search with your own content, as opposed to web-harvesting.
    A: your own content provides you with a personality and a brand. your own content can be a set of tools that help power a search service.

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