Since Anderson published the original Long Tail chart, two things have changed. Firstly, the niche sellers in the long tail are selling more, so the tail is growing as a fraction of the whole. Moving from an era of mass markets to millions of niches.
1990: Explosion of products [numbers, not blowing products up]
Now: Explosion of information about products
Forces in the long tail:
– democratisation of tools of production – PCs make making it cheap
– minimise transaction costs – internet makes selling it cheap
– power of consumer WOM – internet makes talking about it cheap
– long tail aggregators, reach the head and the tail, e.g. Amazon
– niche suppliers, get aggregated by someone else
– filters, help people find what they want
More likely to find satisfaction in the long tail, but have to look harder for it.
Have always had filters, but these are pre-filters, like editors of a mag who decide what goes in. Now we have post-filters, e.g. peers who review after publication.
Flattening the long tail affects which business models are viable. Long tail distributors can supply more different products.
[Anderson then goes on to show a bunch of graphs, not many of which I agreed with, but without them it’s hard to make notes. This guy talks at a speed which makes me look like an amateur. This talk is a repeat of a workshop that was on yesterday which I missed, but which Nat wrote up on his blog.]