What is the difference between a vertical and a horizontal market?

David S. Rose
David S. Rose , Founder and CEO , GUST INC.
1 Dec 2013

vertical market is one in which all of your customers are in one particular industry, regardless of where in the food chain they are. For example, the site Noodle.org is a vertical search engine for the education industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a kindergarten class, an Ivy League college, or an adult education polka dancing course, it covers its industry top to bottom.

horizontal market is one in which all of your customers use your product to do the same thing, regardless of what industry they are in. For example, Google.com is a search engine that can be used to find polka classes… as well as ball bearings and hippopotami.

Google is betting that they can succeed by serving everyone with a great general search tool; Noodle is betting that by focusing on education, they can do a better job than Google in their specific market.

vertical markets vs. horizontal
Illustration from http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dmahugh/…

Spreadsheets and word processors are horizontally-focused products; construction industry calculators and scriptwriting programs are vertically-focused.

*original post can be found on Quora @ http://www.quora.com/David-S-Rose/answers *

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This article is intended for informational purposes only, and doesn't constitute tax, accounting, or legal advice. Everyone's situation is different! For advice in light of your unique circumstances, consult a tax advisor, accountant, or lawyer.