July 24, 2006

The Long Tail - Over Applied

long tailTim Wu's article on Slate entitled "The Wrong Tail: How to turn a powerful idea into a dubious theory of everything," takes a look at Chris Anderson's long tail concept and where it should be applied and where it shouldn't.

Tim provides a neat analogy comparing businesses that are successful with the long tail to great blue whales. "The products in the Long Tail are less popular in a mass sense, but still popular in a niche sense. What that means is that some businesses, like Amazon and Google, can make money not just on big hits, but by eating the Long Tail. They can live like a blue whale, growing fat by eating millions of tiny shrimp." [my emphasis]


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