Will Vertical Ad Networks Steal Market Share From All Purpose Ad Networks

Earlier today, Kayak, a travel industry search engine, announced that it’s going to launch its own advertising network. I have been skeptical of this company, more so after their merger with SideStep. (How are those revenues growing, fellas? They were $85 million last year on a transaction volume of $3.5 billion…weren’t they? Or did the slowing economy and struggling travel industry force this move of launching an ad network?)

Kayak is not the first company to announce such plans for ad networks that are as wide-ranging as health, glamour and technology. A substantial amount of attention and money has been attracted by startups chasing the ad verticals, and sometimes I feel like everyone has Glam envy.

The big question remains: Are these networks capable of making big money and tasting success? How will they stay relevant when large players such as Google continue to dominate, and at the same time march towards an ad exchange ecosystem that will obviate the need for ad verticals? Share your thoughts with the rest of us.