Thursday, February 08, 2007
long tail discussion group + blogging
Image from: hinchcliffe.org
Last night we met for the long tails DG. I was also supposed to blog! I'm realizing that i can't pack my Thursday's if I want to blog on Thursday OR i have to blog in advance and *post* on Thursday. This has been a good reminder of the value of preparation. I'm going to raise the bar on my Thursday blogs by actually getting them done on Wednesday so i can blog them Thursday. we shall see how this works with my currently hectic schedule of triathlon training, work and socail life (what social life, i know...).
As for Long Tail -- it was interesting - our focus was to think about how to access the long tail. From a search perspective, we often think of the LT as the location where you get long-multi-word queries like [9.5 blue stripe adidas runners] that narrow down to a very specific result. It made me realize that these types of queries are expressions of uniqueness and desire. It's also when people are further down their search path -- they might have started at [shoes] but they now know exactly what they want and if they can find it, they will buy it -- and likely at a premium price. But we also talked about the Long Tail as the function of personalization. Imagine if you went in to the doctor and instead of prescribing a generic drug he took a look at your symptoms, your genetic profile and history and had a custom drug made for you? It would probably be more effective as it was designed specifically with you in mind. The problem here is that today this type of drug-making is prohibitively expensive. This then got us thinking about the economics of plenty - are these conditions required for long tail access? Do the distribution costs have to be minimized to such an extent that distributing along the tail becomes nominal - some sort of up front work to customize for the tail but no additional (or very minimal) cost to support it. This seems to be the case - the industry has to flip from economics of scarcity to those of plenty. Once this occurs, the long tail within that industry becomes accessible.
What do you think?
Also - here's a link to out readings: