Category: Cyberscape

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.


Democracy – A Consumer Insight

Many of you have written/mentioned in passing that I hardly ever talk about Y! and what’s next, and only mention press releases/coverage from time to time about Y!…i’ll just say that the multiple Y! blogs (starting with would do a much better job of describing what Y! is upto…also, this is a personal blog…and alot of the content here are thoughts about how the space is evolving…yeah, so on with my post…

The internet is the world’s biggest democracy…i first came up with that line back in 2004 when i was writing my SoP for an eBusiness Management course for a school in england…i didn’t go due to a multitude of reasons, but the SoP really helped me crystallize my thoughts…and this was my opening statement…

The Internet has no parallel, it is the world biggest community (11.5% of world population)*, the world’s biggest marketplace (740 million users), and is growing and evolving everyday. We have witnessed the social implications it has had on our lives and how it has revolutionised the way we do business. Today, we are witnessing the second Internet revolution, the era of Wireless Networking. This will increase the reach and growth of the Internet making it a more central part of how we live and operate. I am driven by my passion for the Internet, and am decided on being a part of this global movement, that continues to add value to our lives.

That was 2004, 3 years in a conventional landscape (30 in cyberspace)…those numbers have already clawed up to a billion users globally (15% of global population…growing at 10% a year)…media moguls across the globe are now watching the wireless revolution evolve and attain critical mass…wi-fi and wi-lan are available in india, mobile access continues to grow at 5MM new users in india alone, mobile VAS revenues exceed P2P… we are all witnessing faster evolution of our species thanks to the ever widening proliferation of media and technology…the key trend we’re seeing is, the company that builds the best ecosystem, that allows for the fairest democracy, and that allows the user to be the real winner will eventually win…
Google made online advertising democratic when they first launched ad-sense…they weren’t the first online ad-network, but were the first the allow virtually everyone to run ads on their site and make money of it…in retrospect, the manner in which fastclick, and the other networks treated small webmasters was pathetic, and thats why they paid the price…Google continues to grow, and in no small part due to the number of webmasters across the globe that run their ads, swear by their practices and, how their system allows advertiser, webmaster & user to win… the online ecosystem is built (and continues to grow)…Google is not aiming to be a destination….Google wants to be the platform…and has done everything it needs to do, to be the center of the world’s biggest ecosystem…
Don’t for a moment write Microsoft out of this game…they’re still very rich (USD 30BN in cash, billions in profit every quarter) and if you read between the lines of last weeks $3 windows student license announcement for developing economies…you find that they are the only company on earth that could aim at doubling the number of PC owners in the next 8 years… almost all of us use Windows, and alot of their products across the productivity (windows, office 2007, mobile) and entertainment axis (mediacenter, xbox360) are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition… we’re only too used to personalising our computing experience…the key here is we can personalise it because MS has built the ecosystem… even though some of their tactics can be mildly termed aggressive, that’s just business right? …. in the words of kevin kelly, the infinite game is played to keep playing, and to win at every level you play at….

Today we can install almost anything we find on the internet on a windows machine…and thats what affords us options, choices, freedoms which in turn empower us….we can now share our ideas with the world (this blog being a classic case), get feedback, collaborate and jointly evolve…this is the role that technology & media combined are playing in the evolution of mankind… technology was always supposed to be open, to be free, shared, transparent…and media today makes it viable… web 2.0 is the biggest attempt and success story ever towards socialization of media & technology … its anyones guess about which company will eventually prevail… but the one thing i can say with absolutely no hesitation is that the consumer will win (and is already winning) … we’re really really really lucky to live in this day and age… subsidised by media, empowered by technology… democratic, free and liberated!

This is just ONE more reason why i LOVE the internet…

TwitterGoogle+LinkedInFacebookPinteresttumblrEmailStumbleUponDigg Aggression

Zapak is firing all cylinders….preparing for blast off….got this in my mailbox today…
(However, the typo …’click here to check your mails‘ .. is a total dampener)…

Hey maedi,

How are the games going? To start with, thank you for being a part of my Zapak family. You’ve been playing a lot and that’s why, I’ve decided to add more levels of excitement. Get ready for finger tapping thrills.

Let’s gift you 2 Games! Since I like your style, I’ve decided to give you 2 great games worth Rs. 990 for free. You can just download them, have it on your PC and play it anytime.

No Paisa, No Gyan… only Masti! So click here to download the games.

Let’s challenge your buddies! When we throw a party, we throw it big. That’s why; you can share that game with ALL your friends for a limited time. Tell them to log on to and I’ll give it to them. It’ll be an exclusive game for just your gang.

Let’s go crazy! I know you must have played most of our games but did you know we have launched 35 new games in last 2 weeks? You can now play over 225 games on and we are adding 1 new game everyday. Your fingers will get tired, but the games won’t end.

Mail me from your new Account! Did you know, you already have an email id it’s Fast , simple to use & has unlimited storage space. I am using it right now and it works great. You can experience it too. Click here to check your mails.

That’s all from my end. I’m getting back to my games now. You should get back to yours. Log on to for a new adventure everyday!

Keep playing,

Rohit Sharma
Chief Operating Officer,


How Consumers Hijacked the Media Model

From Marketwatch:

It is no secret that the traditional media are under assault from audiences.

Not only are some consumers not paying for content, some are displacing those heretofore assigned to create it and others are affecting the economics by their online-sharing behavior.
That additional power given to the audience is evident in the financial results of many companies.

In the magazine industry, advertising pages at Time Warner Inc.’s Time magazine were down 23.8% in 2006 from 2000, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Newsweek’s ad pages fell about 17.6% in the same period. In the newspaper industry, the New York Times stock has been halved since trading above $50 in 2002. In the music industry, sales of CDs have been declining in the last seven years and fell 20% in the first quarter of this year. Contd…

Most indian marketers and traditional media professionals would discount these as western trends. Keep in mind, indians are highly aspirational and have shown a higher affinity for technology-entertainment than most developed countries (a classic example is india’s booming Mobile VAS Industry). India’s share of global internet users has hovered between 3-4% since 2000, clearly illustrating a set of advanced users and new user growth proportionate to the rest of the planet. We’re already approaching the tipping point and distribution continues to get better (wi-lan, mobile…). While traditional media waits and watches, online media models change …real-time…by the user,
for the user, of the user!

He who laughs last, laughs loudest…


Gootube has met its match

Simple math.

Quality of Video is directly proportionate to volume of Streams.
TV Programming is high quality. (NBC + News Corp produce adequate content globally to keep every demographic entertained)
Y! + MSN + AOL = Huge Captive Audience (30% of online video is viewed on Y! alone)
Y! (and the others) have a lot of respect for rights & IP
UGC quality still lags commercially produced content. (I illustrated this point in my post titled….the funniest phone review EVER)
A certain portion of the USD 1.65BN bid for youtube was premium to prevent the competition from getting their hands on a portion of it… a huge portion of this was for audience (since google video had poor adoption)
So Gootube now has a USD 1BN Viacom lawsuit to deal with (obviously factored in during acquisition), NBC + NewsCorp + Y! + MSN + AOL, Joost, Apple TV (will eventually converge), Grouper and the rest of the long tail of online video.

Excess pride in a nascent, evolutionary and shifting mediascape is dangerous.

I must add…all views on my blog are mine alone….i am not a spokesperson for any of the companies listed above…and as much as i’d like to believe i know enough, there’s still a long long long way to go 🙂