ARE you a generalist or a specialist?

Vertical search-engines

Know your subject

Jul 12th 2007
From The Economist print edition

Topic-specific search-engines hope to challenge Google, at least in some areas

ARE you a generalist or a specialist? The question can be asked of people, but it is increasingly being asked about internet search-engines, as specialist or “vertical” sites take on generalists such as Yahoo! and Google. Some are already prospering:, for example, a profitable search-engine for engineers, has 3.5m registered users and signs up another 20,000 each week. “They own that market,” says Charlene Li of Forrester, a consultancy.

This is due in large part to GlobalSpec's definable customer base. Its knowledge about the needs of its users sets it apart from the generalist search-engines, says Angela Hribar of GlobalSpec. Vertical sites, which serve up search results from a carefully selected group of topic-specific websites, can also target advertising at particular audiences more precisely…

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