Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reports of the death of the Long Tail have been greatly exxagerated.

People sure are making a stink about this post (with a questionable set of data, IMO) which purports to demonstrate that the Long Tail of web traffic is actually shrinking. Nick Carr has an excellent response explaining why the Long Tail is not shrinking, but rather, the economic value of the Long Tail is merely concentrating. This all falls within the scope of Anderson's previously asserted effects of the rise of the Long Tail - content aggregators will become (apparently ARE) the biggest winners in the phenomenon.

I'd like to expand just a bit on his explanation of how Myspace & Facebook are actually Long Tail websites - i.e., they aggregate the Long Tail of millions of personal mini-websites.

It should also be noted that Google, Yahoo, eBay, and craigslist are other Long Tail websites. Google and Yahoo are built on the long tail of search words (and subsequently related ads!), while eBay and craigslist aggregate the Long Tail of products for sale online.

So, of the top 9 sites (We all know is not really in the top 10, right?), 6 are Long Tail sites? Well, even can be labeled as a Long Tail website, considering that their real list of top 10 searches are for those other Long Tail sites.

That leaves only and as non-Long Tail sites in the top 10, right? Without the search data from those sites, it's hard to know for sure, but they could likely be similar to AOL - a mere entry point to the other Long Tail kings. Additionally, I've long suspected sneaks onto the tops of these lists merely for all the visits coming from IE browser users that haven't changed their default home page.

The Long Tail is NOT shrinking on the web. It's growing and the winners are exactly who was predicted - big-time aggregators.

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