Niches & The Extremely Long Tail Effect

“It turns out to be absolutely ubiquitous in human affairs, economies and nature itself.” – Chris AndersonIC171839So I’m going to explain a bit about the long tail.
What is the long tail?
Well as Chris Anderson put it on his website, it’s “… the theory that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from the focus on a relatively small number of ‘hits’, at the head of the demand curve and towards a huge number of niches in the tail.”

A really good example is comparing your local bookstore, be it a locally run one, or Barnes & Noble to Amazon’s book collection.
Your bookstore in the current vicinity will not carry books on anything and everything that you may want, say you have an infatuation with the architecture of British Amusement Parks in the 1900s, or you’re really into the history of the brand Chanel.
Amazon is more than likely ready and waiting for you to put that book into your cart.
Amazon’s shelf space is the long tail. While your local bookstore will eventually run out of niche books to put on their shelves due to scarcity, Amazon will never run out as long as there is supply and demand.

How does this factor into the internet?
When you’ve got media platforms you can also see this phenomenon. With youtube the huge channels such as Pewdiepie and the like dominate viewership, they’re the head, and the videos on youtube from medieval swordsmanship to urban hiphop artists occupy the space of the Long Tail, the niche audience that doesn’t cater for the largest audience possible.

With my digital artefact (shameless plug)  I came into it assuming it’d be for a more niche audience.
To think that I’d create content that would appeal to a vastly distributed audience without any prior experience in content creation would be ludicrous.
So the end plan for my digital artefact with relation to the long tail is to just roll with the punches, hopefully get attention from my niche audience through instagram, tumblr and the like, possibly through aggregation sites such as Reddit or Imgur as well.


3 thoughts on “Niches & The Extremely Long Tail Effect

  1. Hi there! This was a great read and gave a nicely detailed but not overly lengthy description of the long tail effect, your use of quotations and the extra bit of personalisation at the end were nice touches!
    One of the examples that comes to mind for me is that of gaming itself. Modern video games provide extreme amounts of player freedom, but there is still a market for vintage gaming on consoles which are no longer being made, or games which resemble their style. Game Traders is the only store chain I know of which has a physical presence and caters to this niche, however being primarily bricks and mortar stores, they have to provide a diverse product range to include modern pop culture because they cannot rely on that appeal alone; a problem which virtual storefronts don’t necessarily have to confront.


  2. This blog you have made is to the point and simple to read which is good for someone who didn’t fully understand about the long tail effect (that would be me haha)
    I love the examples you used about the book stores it was the example I used for my blog as well
    I feel that your blog could of benefited by adding more sources or reading materials
    I found this site to be interesting and added more examples and depth to the topic hopefully its interesting for you 🙂


  3. Hey Alan, first of all great blog! A nice summary to quite a complex topic. Secondly, I really enjoyed how you related this back to your digital artefact, nice to see you’re engaging with your course work and can reflect on how it fits together. I feel like, instead of just a summary, a further in depth explanation to how the long tail works using your digital artefact or even YouTube as an example would’ve really stepped this post up a notch. Explain why this changing shift in attitude towards the head to the tail for consumers will be a positive change for such a niche work like yours.


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