An anonymous reader alerted me to a new white paper on the future of vertical search:
The paper starts with survey results, building up the case for vertical search, which SearchChannel sells software to enable. That’s right, you can start your own vertical site by just buying some software. The paper probably would serve as good content for a business plan so you could afford the software, too. What it ignores is actual usage of vertical search.
The paper cites another white paper ($395) by Outsell that showed a 32% ‘failure rate’ of vertical/industry searches on general search engines. Then we get a table of information that users want that they can’t get/find, in this order:
- Competitor info
- Market info
- Private company info
- Product info
- Training, 8. databases, and 9. industry reports
Well, no wonder 32% of searches fail! Even a vertical search site isn’t going to have the top 4-5 items here. Maybe providing this info would be the addictive crack that would make vertical search successful, but the paper doesn’t address this list.
The second section of the white paper is a site-by-site review of major vertical search sites. These are more summaries than reviews, and the list is by no means comprehensive or weighted by importance.
This is a great introduction to Vertical Search as a distinct segment, but it doesn’t make a compelling case for usage/growth of the segment, which is what it’s title promises. And it doesn’t address the roadblocks to success. The list I provided above is probably the most valuable content worth pondering.
My take: as (mostly mediocre) vertical search sites continue proliferate, users are only going to be jaded and continue to return to Google et. al. Until one comes along with ‘crack content’, that is.