Friday, March 18, 2005

'Long Tail' author starts blog

Have you heard of the term 'long tail' yet? It was the subject of a lengthy article in Wired magazine's October 2004 issue, written by one of its editors, Chris Anderson. The basic idea is that our world is rapidly changing from one fixated on mass markets to one comprised of an infinite amount of niches, and that companies (as well as individuals) can take advantage of this shift, using web technology. An example: Most physical bookstores base their budgets on the idea that the top 10 percent or so of all books published in a given year (the 'Da Vinci' crap, the 'Tuesdays With Some Dead Guy' crap, etc) will generate the majority of the bookstore's revenue. Amazon, however, bases their budget on the other 90 percent of those books published per year, many of which may only sell a dozen copies nationwide. Since they're not bound by space limitations, like a physical bookstore, Amazon can then sell these millions and millions of books that may only get purchased a dozen times a year, and make profoundly more money than any physical bookstore could hope to achieve.

Anyway, Mr. Anderson's publishing a book later this year on the 'long tail' issue, and (surprisingly enough) has started a blog supplement for the book as well. This is not necessarliy just for business people, by the way - he also goes into how the 'long tail' theory can be applied to the arts, education, etc. Anyway, it's an interesting read, but contains really long entries, so be forewarned; RSS is definitely the way to go with this one. (Thanks to bBlog for pointing this out.)