As anyone who’s actually worked within a “vertical” knows, whether from a niche consumer or business-to-business angle (or, heaven help them, for a non-profit organization or political campaign), just because a subset of people share a common passion doesn’t mean they’re a single-minded group that can be engaged in one templated way. Every vertical that presents a viable business opportunity is going to have its own sub-communities and overlapping layers, with some often in direct opposition to others.
Not quite one year to the day it was announced, Seth Godin is shutting The Domino Project down, offering the awkward explanation that “it was a project, not a lifelong commitment to being a publisher of books,” instead of, perhaps, admitting that publishing is harder than it looks if you want to swim at the deep end of the trade pool in the middle of a dramatic transition, as he obliquely acknowledges in many of his noteworthy takeaways.
It will be interesting to see what other publisher can successfully go the Marvel route; with a $2B+ worldwide box office already in for the Avengers’ on-screen storyworld (one that still bizarrely lives in total isolation from the comics), I’m guessing several will make the attempt within the next 2-3 years. Two gaming franchises I think have some serious transmedia potential are Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls and Activision’s Skylanders, though you might be surprised by which one I think has the most potential.
Therein lies the real problem with Klout. While its Topics feature is an intriguing attempt to add a much-needed contextual layer to its linear scoring and might have some long-term potential (most likely as acquisition bait, to complement PostRank or Radian6?), overall, it’s a pretty useless, Foursquare-style gamification of the worst aspects of Social MEdia.
There’s an interesting comment buried in the beginning of the article, attributed broadly to unnamed Amazon executives, that perfectly sums up the true state of the publishing industry and Amazon’s position in it: “…they played down Amazon’s power and said publishers were in love with their own demise.”