The Long tail, in short!

The single critical success factor of any new startup (including any 2.0 idea) lies in its ability to leverage the ‘Long Tail’. Though the long tail is not exclusive to the internet, it is almost synonymous with the wealth creation we have seen over the last couple of years… here is a very brief attempt to demistify the fundamentals.

The Long Tail

To put it simply (in internet terms), the sum total of all PageViews/Visits/Monetization Opportunities in the so-called ‘Tail’ is more than the popular consumer hangouts (read: portals). A new blog born every second and brings with it another potential influencer, voice and opinion sets.
As we’ve evolved from an era of Mass Media (the days of Doordarshan) to My Media (cable television, early internet) to We Media (Wikipedia, Y! Answers, Facebook….), choice has become a whole new reality …. and human beings can’t get enough of it. For traditional media, the Internet is the paradigm shift….the rate of evolution – the checkmate.

Consumerism isn’t merely limited to owning physical objects…we’re now (thankfully) seeing it in the ever increasing need to know .. (refer Quaero Quero Ergo Sum). It is the Long Tail that drove usage/adoption/popularity of Search Engines… people wanted to find new sites, new information, new applications. However, search merely connected people to long tail… and the next wave of wealth creation (popularly known as Web 2.0) came when technology allowed bits of the Long Tail to connect with other bits …. in the seamless aggregation and distribution of Content (Text/Photos/Videos/Other) & Advertising.

The Long tail is here to stay, and the rules to build a viable business model are no different from a traditional one. Affinity (in cyberspace/blogosphere) is a function of niche; media spend is a function of affinity, reach and relevance.

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