Long Tail Debate

The thing I love about new ideas – especially ones that upset the apple cart – are the debates that ensue.

The debate here surrounds Chris Anderson’s new book The Long Tail – Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.

I happen to think that Chris is onto something and that information fragmentation (the extension of the long tail) will ultimately be healthy for society, not just in economics and commerce but also in evolving public discourse and eventually global politics. The Internet will enable more voices to be heard, more truths (and lies) to be aired, with the end game being more information available to shape public and personal opinion.

The debate of Mr. Anderson’s ideas – first aired in a 2004 WIRED magazine article are now beginning to take root and reach a new realm of public discussion. Here is a brief discussion of the main ideas friends have found around the Internet the represent the various points of view on the Long Tail Debate.

An early post from Guy Kawasaki on Mr. Anderson’s book can be found here. The part that sticks out to me about Guy’s post is the number of “near zero” or “low cost” (in sum, 4 out of Guy’s 9 “tactical items” fall into this cost conscious category) caveats he calls out for new tail business to pay attention to. Do these costs truly disappear or are you just shifting them to some other sucker (nicely referred to as a “partner” I am sure) in your supply chain?

Today a Wall Street Journal article by Lee Gomes can be found here. (Note: you may need to sign up at the WSJ to see the article). Mr. Gomes goes to town on Mr. Anderson in what to me looks to be a vindictive way. I wonder if there is more to the story as to the fall out between these two guys?

Then here is Mr. Anderson’s response to the WSJ article which looks to be a strong rebuttal to Mr. Gomes claim.

This debate looks like a old guard (personified by Mr. Gomes) retrenchment reaction to a new and significant way that access to information afforded to us by the Internet is first cited by the new guard (personified by Mr. Anderson).

My money is on the new guard. Where’s yours?

Categorised in:

This post was written by DEP Ecommerce Consultants