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The Long Tail

by Chris Anderson

long_tailA recommended read for those interested in how the new “economy of abundance” is impacting markets, businesses and consumers alike.
The long tail refers to a statistical distribution curve where demand for niche products in the “tail” is very long relative to demand for hit products in the “head.” Although the frequency with which customers purchase niche products may be low, the fact that the tail includes so many different products makes it a lucrative market. For example, using as a guide, Anderson estimates the market for books not sold in the average bookstore is at least one third the size of the entire market, and growing fast.
Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine, claims that three trends are fueling the abundance economy: an explosion in available content has increased the number of products in the long tail, falling distribution costs have made it economically feasible to offer customers a greater choice of products, and increasingly intelligent search filters make it easier for people to find what they are looking for.
A motto for long tail businesses could be: “Make everything available and help me find it.”

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