Vertical Ad Networks Vs Horizontal – The Ongoing debate

There’s been some buzz now for a few months over Vertical ad-networks coming into the industry and the impact that they will create. It was , too obvious, that there will eventually be a confrontation between the networks already established in the Indian market ( read : Horizontal) and the new kids on the block like Webchutney’s Go-Sindbad and Divanation and it would only be a matter of time before the industry starts debating with respect to the pro’s and con’s of both , and media planners wonder which ones to go for.

For me , surprisingly i should add , it appears to be rather simple. The major driving force behind the argument for Vertical networks is that they contain sites which are similar in terms of what they are catering to i.e travel , the sites included in such a network would cater to hotels , air fares, train bookings etc etc , each with an individual objective but related to a larger singular category – the assumption being that such a vertical will thus offer the best exposure to a travel related advertiser given the relevancy which exists and since its so relevant , advertisers in turn would pay a premium which consequently would drive up eCPM’s for the publishers and everyone’s happy.

Sounds good for everyone , but unfortunately that’s not they way its necessarily going to work for a few reasons in my opinion.

1. What is so different between a vertical network and a horizontal network offering the same channel with equatable strength ? In some ways, a specialized channel for a horizontal is nothing but a vertical network in itself. All that a Horizontal needs to ensure is channel targeting and then add further targeting options.

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