Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Long Tail

Chris Anderson's Long Tail article is often-cited, and deservedly so. (If you haven't read it yet, click over and do so before you waste any more time on this post.) A couple of the posts from my Bloglines subscriptions today refer to the long tail, and interestingly so.

First, David Sifry discusses the long tail of the blogosphere in part 3 of his current state of the 'sphere series. He defines blog influence in terms of linking activity, and graphs said activity. He concludes that
... even though the amount of influence that a single blog [towards the end of the long tail] may have is less than that of a single blog on the A-list, the aggregate influence of all of the long tail far outstrips even the mainstream media.

Second, Paul Kedrosky says of the long tail conversation that
... people are still missing something important, something that I think Chris Anderson underemphasizes, or maybe doesn't even get himself.

I suspect that it is a question of emphasis rather than of understanding. Paul goes on to emphasize the demand side of the long tail, the "infrequent buyers who want fringe products." Most of the long tail discussion that I've seen focuses on the supply side, the "fringe products." Of course, the two sides are related; the more available the fringe products become, the more frequently these people will buy them.

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