Yanking on the Long Tail

Ring-tailed lemurChris Anderson’s Long Tail‘ theory of online economics gained traction with great rapidity, but gathered its fair share of detractors along the way. Hence when a group of economists examined some different data and found a different distribution, there was much snarking:

This really isn’t the upbeat fairy tale message Anderson has spent four years selling on the conference circuit. However, as he took his “message” to Davos and beyond, the Long Tail has gradually developed into a ‘Policy Based Evidence Making’.

Ouch. Anderson’s not giving up just yet, though:

Unfortunately, Page didn’t send me the data or reveal its source, so we may not be able to answer these questions. He’s a good economist, so I’m sure his analysis is excellent. But without knowing where the data came from, we really have no way of knowing whether he’s discovered anything about music demand broadly, or has just been reminded once again that some music markets, such as mobile, don’t work very well.

Anderson also points to a post at Hitwise which suggests that – in the business of search, at least – the Long Tail is alive and well.

So, is the future of business in “selling less of more”? Who knows – as with most predictions about the future, those of us who aren’t economists will just have to wait and see. [image by benoutram]

4 thoughts on “Yanking on the Long Tail”

  1. xcllnt cntnt – s y lwys prvd nd nsprs m t cm gn nd gn. Y r n my RSS rdr nw s cn rd mr frm y dwn th rd.

    By th wy, thr s n mr vlbl rsrc ’d lk t shr wth thrs rdrs. t’s clld GtMrByrs.cm.

    Trst m, t wrkd fr m nd m sr T WLL wrk fr y.

    Wnt lst tht mks y n f th mst sght ftr JV prtnrs n th wrld?

    Lrn 10 smpl tchnqs ths spr fflt sd t crt sx-fgr lst tht bys lk thr lvs dpnd n t!

  2. With all due respect, Mr Hill, if you didn’t expect anyone to see straight through a staggeringly obvious out-of-context plug like that, I can’t see you having the most successful career in marketing. Flog your dead horses elsewhere, please.

  3. Somehow I feel it’s hard to trust economists who needed a “special upgrade” to excel to conduct their debunking analysis. Have they ever heard of statistical software? No surprise they are reluctant to share the data. Their “finding” is highly suspect…

  4. I’m certainly hoping to milk the long tail for GUD Magazine… never going out of print, we’ll slowly have more and more issues to sell. Being a niche market (literary + genre fiction, poetry, + art) I doubt we’ll ever sell amazing amounts of any particular issue–but hopefully we _will_ continue selling every issue as more people find us. 🙂

Comments are closed.