Long Tail

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Long Tail

The potential for online retailers to make more money than their bricks and mortar counterparts because there is virtually unlimited "shelf space" to offer products. Another key factor is that merchandise is offered via recommendations with links from one product to another so that people who purchase one item are encouraged to look at several others. Most notably, book, video and music sales, where there is a vast supply of product, have benefited significantly from this approach, exemplified by Amazon.com, Netflix and Rhapsody.

Less of More
Theorized by Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson, who turned the notion into a book in 2006 titled "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More," the title refers to a graph showing fewer products selling in large quantities versus many more products that sell in low quantities. The low-quantity items stretch out on the x-axis of the graph, creating a very long tail that generates more revenue overall. Even though a smaller quantity of each item is sold, there is a much greater variety of these items to sell.

Anderson asserts that the Long Tail manifests in Google and eBay, which derive significant revenue because they deal with a huge number of customers. He also mentions blogs and wikis as benefactors of the Long Tail as more people contribute editorial material than ever before. For a most interesting exploration of this online phenomenon, read "The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson (Hyperion, 2006, ISBN 1-4013-0237-8).


The Long Tail
When companies sell a large variety of products online, a graph of all products sold generates the long tail.
References in periodicals archive ?
The long tail is where small, independent agents have a chance to compete with the big brands and carriers.
A couple of years after championing the idea, he said: "I would like to tell you that the Internet has created such a level playing field that the long tail is absolutely the place to be --that there's so much differentiation, there's so much diversity, so many new voices.
The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of "hits" (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail.
Instead, I am going to draw on some defining "service" moments that I've had over the course of 2010--moments that suggest that we have a role to play in the era of the long tail.
Companies like Google and Amazon have already used The Long Tail strategy, and today, BusyTrade is demonstrating another example of The Long Tail reflected in e-commerce.
He believes that future of libraries will be found within the long tail network.
Has the Long Tail affected the buying habits of the consumer?
The basic concept of the long tail is that as the cost of storage and distribution go down, less-popular items can prove to be more profitable than popular ones, which typically make money when inventory is limited.
I think that in most birds with long tails, the long tail is not costly," said Clark.
In such a volatile marketplace, it's always going to be easier for better-known products to rise to the top, a truism illustrated by a decision Hyperion Books made in 2006 to back a new title trumpeting a red-hot Internet phenomenon: Chris Anderson's The Long Tail.
The Long Tail is a concept credited to Chris Anderson, who first wrote about it in an October 2004 article in Wired magazine, and later in his 2006 book The Long Taft: Why The Future of Business is Selling Less of More.
Chris Anderson and Nick Gillespie seemed to hit a wall when it came to contemplating the impact of the Long Tail on politics ("Welcome to Niche Nation," November).