The Long Tail
by Chris Anderson
Yeah … I read it … just like everyone else … actually, I listened to it on audible. Frankly, I was under-whelmed. The original article was brilliant though.
But it was good to ingest The Long Tail not long after reading Paradox of Choice … as the two books, in many ways, are debating with one another for two different world views. Paradox is a proponent of limiting your choices. Tail is about infinite choice. I tend to be more an infinite choice person myself … and I know that is scary to a lot of people … but I enjoy being around people that are not scared of these choices.
At Rapleaf, when we give offers to new employees, we allow them to choose what salary they want. For instance, an employee might be able to choose between $0 – $xxx,000 salary and will get stock options inversely proportional to the salary they take. So essentially there is infinite choice. This freaks some people out but others feel absolutely empowered.
I met Chris Anderson at his book signing last month and we talked a little bit about The Long Tail. He is right about the niches, and he is right that we as consumers are active producers and not passive audience anymore. Although i am convinced that there is a market for niches, I am still skeptical that the hits are going away. If the mass media alter their traditional marketing and embrace the new peer to peer recommendation (like Yelp), the hits will stay. Take the newspapers, if the print start using podcast, installing videos and microphones on their website, i bet they will increase traffic. These are traditional methods the newspapers are not able to do, but could by utilizing the web.
I read an opinion piece online sometime last month and i came across an article that writes that if Netflix created a new company that rents $10 a month for as many dvds you want, but for movies that are rented a few hundred times, say 500, from the previous week or month, a lot of people will join and still never miss the niches of underground films.
Which means there are markets for niches that uses the top niches and turn them into hits.
Will it still be the long tail then?