Feeds

Anderson downgrades Long Tail to Chocolate Teapot status

Metaphor swallows Man

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

"The end came quickly," as authors of morbid weepies like to say. On Monday WiReD magazine editor Chris Anderson effectively admitted game over for his "Long Tail", the idea he's been dragging so lucratively around the conference circuit for the past four years. In as many words, he downgraded it from "the future of business" to something that's, er, not very helpful for your business at all.

"I'll end by conceding a point: It's hard to make money in the Tail," Anderson wrote. "The revenues are disproportionately in the Head. Perhaps that will never change."

As befits a quasi-religious cult, the straw that broke the Long Tail's back wasn't empirical evidence, but the Word of God. The Google God, to be precise - Eric Schmidt. Will Page's exhaustive analysis of tens of millions of music transactions from a giant digital music store had already prompted a last ditch stand. But it was remarks by Schmidt, however, interviewed by McKinsey, that prompted the downgrade. Schmidt said they make most of the money in the top 10 per cent of advertising inventory.

Anderson also agreed that things were less fair - the "Head" was bigger - thereby destroying the message of salvation implicit in the original theory: that things would get fairer on the Interwebs. (And we'd all ascend to Heaven.)

"So much for 'democratization'," comments Tom Slee - who wrote about the post-Page fall-out for us here.

Chris Anderson in Sadville

Chris Anderson promotes the Long Tail mythology in the virtual world, "Second Life". The virtual Anderson had hair.

Connoisseurs of Cobblers and (future historians of Web 2.0) may be entertained by the titanic struggle Long Tail disciples now have: it's men locked in mortal combat with their metaphors.

"If the old economy was a 'regular body' that grew a 'long tail' then this is the 'beautiful face'," pips in one commenter, while another adds:

"I'm tempted to do a comparison between FatHead/LongTail markets and oscillators," writes one 'Panayotis'. "I'd love to hear from someone with a more solid background in physics who could take the idea a bit further," he adds hopefully.

Yeah, oscillators. Why didn't we think of that?

So for Anderson, it's on to the next instalment of trying to make the internet's turds smell like perfume. The Long Tail was a response to a 2003 essay by Clay Shirky which pointed out that Pareto Law distributions ("Power Curves" - with big "heads" and long but insignificant "tails") abounded on the net. This broke the utopian hearts, hence Anderson's propaganda offensive.

His forthcoming book begs profitable companies to cross-subsidise Web 2.0 Fails.

It's called Freetardonomics, apparently. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.