November 12th, 2006

Book Review: The Long Tail

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

Rating: 5 out of 5

Author: Chris Anderson

Year: 2006

Publisher: Hyperion

ISBN: 1401302378

Maybe the most fascinating read I had this year. Chris Anderson comes up with a very conclusive model how web commerce and communication differ from their “real-world” counterparts and what effects that has. Essentially, he shows that the common “80-20” rule (that most of the money/attention is spend on a few blockbusters) is not valid anymore in the web world. Rather, successful online shops make most of their money with niche products, each sold very seldomly. But there is literally millions of them — together with the cheapness of storage and distribution, outsiders are suddenly profitable. The same trend can be observed in the blogosphere, where individuals publish information independent of large media corporations.
This book had huge impact, in fact the long tail diagram has become an icon of the whole bottom-up, grassroots, amateurs vs. pros, wisdom of the crowds trend we experienced over the last years.
For my work, the whole development has high relevance: If everybody is hunting the cool stuff besides the mainstream, puzzling together his personal taste mostly made up of widely unknown stuff, this requires different paradigms for browsing, storing and discovery. I think it will take another couple of years, until we understand, what the “social media” revolution is about — besides big typo and beta badges.

One Response to 'Book Review: The Long Tail'

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  1. Alex
    April 25th, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Thank You