What is the difference between a vertical and a horizontal market?
A 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.
A 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.
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 *
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.