Feeds

Anderson downgrades Long Tail to Chocolate Teapot status

Metaphor swallows Man

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

"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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.