the long tail story

Published October 4, 2012 by renesha90

One may ask what a long tail is; a long tail basically means finding everything and anything for everyone and anyone. Picture this, say five years ago you found an interesting book on the shelf of a local book store but you didn’t have enough money to purchase it, thus you left it there and hope that in a month’s time you will be able to purchase it after saving enough money. Then came the day when you finally saved enough money to purchase the book only to your horror it has been sold out of the publication of the book is unobtainable. Fast forward, five years from then you are surfing the net for books and you came across that interesting book you wanted then and is now made available whilst it was discontinued then. Ultimately, the internet now offer more then just information, indeed it has gone way beyond just providing us text of info, it is now our treasure chest, never knowing what we will come across it just surfing the net.

In the past, whenever we need something, we will have to head down to the local mall to get it and only to be disappointed that the item is sold out, the shop is close for break or close for the day or worst the shop has closed down because you were their only customer. But now, we have online stores they never have excuses to close the store (unless for maintenance) and their items range has more variety then that of a physical store in the mall. Even if they do have an item sold out there’s a chance that you can make a request for them to bring in that item just for you.

In fact, it definitely sounds good the point that we can now most of our entertainment from online stores but there’s a bit of a catch here. Noticed that everything here seems to be going digital? Remember back then when you purchase an item you get to touch it and feel it and not to mention inspect it for defects. An article title Better than Free by Kevin Kelly explains that there are 8 main points that makes digital material valuable.

1. Immediacy
Don’t we all want things fast nowadays? In fact who doesn’t? I can bet right now there is probably and possibly millions of Iphone fans just waiting for any news on the latest soon-to-be release Iphone5, especially the press. Remember when before Iphone4 was release its prototype was stolen in a bar and sold to a blogger who was willing to pay a hefty price for it? All for just to be the first to have the phone and to leak out information about the phone. See? That’s how immediate people are willing to go in the physical world, and in the digital world is no different, when a new block buster movies comes out I can see people asking whether there’s a download for the movie despite the movie being just release in the cinema. Everyone wants to be the first to get something, to try something.

2. Personalization
It seems to be a trend nowadays for people to personalize their belongings, whether is their mobile phones, cars, shoes or room the will personalize to tell the world “Hey this is my!”. And we like that don’t we? Imagine getting an Iphone4 from your parent with your name engrave at the back of it wouldn’t it make your Iphone4 more special than your friends’ Iphone which has no engraving? This isn’t different from online as well, we all personalize our blogs, so that it will look different from others and stand out and hopefully be pleasing enough to attract more readers to your blog.

3. Interpretation
Remember the time your parent bought you a brand new car and you were so excited that you just leap into the car without even bothering with the instruction booklet provided. Reason being is too wordy and we have very short attention span to read while we rather be test driving the new ride right? Same thing for online users, we hate going though the instruction unless it is interactive (hey at least it has audio and some graphics). I remember before buying my current smart phone, I visited their web site and was treated to a fully interactive web site, every bit of explanation was accompanied by some sort of interactivity and that made me wanted to the product even more just cause of the interactivity they added in.

4. Authenticity
Like what i mention above, back then when we used to buy our stuff from the mall we can actually check the items whether they are in good condition or not. And there is a warranty as well so if they are any defects within the time period the item can be replaced. This cannot be said for online then, as there were many cases of fraud and people paying for the goods and not getting it and got their money stolen instead. But today we can say it is safer to shop online now thanks to some well established website such as amazon.com, hlj.com etc.

5. Accessibility
one of the best thing about the Internet is its accessibility. We can access to our blog, facebook account anywhere in any given time. Plus, don’t you just hate it when you lose something precious? Well this is rather difficult to happen in the virtual world (provided you have backup) for example i remember my friend accidentally deleted all of her photos in her picture album on her desktop, but fortunately for her she did upload majority of it on her Facebook thus, make it her back up.

6. Embodiment
I remember downloading a much anticipated movie from the internet in blu ray quality and just was I about to watch it on my LCD tv it showed that the file was not readable, it was readable on my laptop but not on the LCD tv. Fortunately the problem can be fixed by converting the file to a readable one for the tv. Somethings are just not as nice to be seen on a 15″ laptop but should be watched on a 42″ LCD tv. This flexibility is very important as people like to have to ability to convert files to fit to their system.

7. Patronage
To what extend of patronage exactly can we expect from the internet? Though it may not be face to face but given the advancement of technology and the internet we can communicate with the creator and the creator can communicate with the fans. Such as in Youtube viewers can comment on the video and sometime the creator would ask for suggestion from the viewers and they can get involve with the user. This type of bonds helps create a better connection between users and creator.

8. Findability
Making your product easy to find will help people to find it easier. As we know the internet is filled with so many things if we are no specific we will get something else. And sometimes people are just too lazy to use the advance search thus relying on normal search. Therefore,  is always better to entitle the product properly so that it will be easy for people to find.

There you go all 8 points for you to consider when moving your stuff to the digital platform. The internet may seem like the future market place but yet again it is as crowded as in the physical world the only thing about this the internet and online shopping is the convenience but we should never forget that about the physical contact we have with the physical world.

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2 comments on “the long tail story

  • Yes, it would be a harrowing experience if we are unable to get our hands on a book which we need badly, especially for an assignment. The internet is such a godsend as somewhere, somehow, somebody will have the books we need. No more travelling to a bookshop miles away to get the book we want. Just click Amazon.com or google books and chances are you will get the book you desire. What’s so great is you can request for a hard copy to be delivered. Or you can get it online. We can download music, movies and journals among many other things almost immediately. Thus, the internet embodies the long tail, like you say “a long tail basically means finding everything and anything for everyone and anyone.”

  • I agree it would be a harrowing experience if we are unable to get our hands on a book which we need badly, especially for an assignment. The internet is such a godsend as somewhere, somehow, somebody will have the books we need. No more travelling to a bookshop miles away to get the book we want. Just click Amazon.com or google books and chances are you will get the book you desire. What’s so great is you can request for a hard copy to be delivered. Or you can get it online. We can download music, movies and journals among many other things almost immediately. Thus, the internet embodies the long tail, like you say “a long tail basically means finding everything and anything for everyone and anyone.” – Commented by Ram Peow Loong Naidu.

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