THE LONG TAIL

Chris Anderson

The one-sentence summary

Endless choice is creating unlimited demand so you probably need to re-think your business model: make everything available and help customers find it easily (online).

WHAT THE BOOK SAYS

  • Traditional business models suggest that high-selling hits are required for success. These are at the high-volume end of a conventional demand curve.
  • But in the Internet era, the combined value of the millions of items that only sell in small quantities can equal or even exceed the best sellers.
  • Modest sellers and niche products are now becoming an immensely powerful cumulative force. In this respect, many “mass” markets are turning into millions of aggregated niches.
  • Old theories such as the 80/20 rule receive a thorough going-over. It’s never exactly 80/20, and the percentages can apply to different things (products, sales or profits). And they don’t add up to 100.
  • The nine big rules of the Long Tail are:
    • Move inventory way in…or way out
    • Let customers do the work
    • One distribution method doesn’t fit all
    • One product doesn’t fit all
    • One price doesn’t fit all
    • Share information (lose control)
    • Think “and”, not “or”
    • Trust the market to do your job
    • Understand the power of free