Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Long Tail Revisited

Nearly three years ago I put together a fun post about what was then a new idea. Chris Anderson, editor of Wired Magazine, described how the Internet changes marketing by what he termed a "long tail." Simply put, when a product, idea or event is first introduced -- think pop song, new phone product, first printing of a book, whatever -- the initial public splash may be impressive, but after that public attention is quickly redirected to something else.

But because of technology niche "markets" or pockets of interest no longer quickly die as they once did. The Internet allows previously disconnected people and places to find out about one another. And in this "long tail" of the initial event a growing population can become even larger than it was in the beginning.

Since that time I have watched the phenomenon at work even in my own little corner of cyberspace. Several examples come to mind without searching. Amanda Baggs and the universe of autistics would never have hit the spotlight without the Internet. The introduction of You Tube has transformed forever the entire news and entertainmnet industry. I saw yesterday where Oprah now has a You Tube channel and is having a ball. (I haven't checked it out yet, but I already know she has disabled embedding to increase traffic to her original subscription...She'll soon learn that her traffic will increase more when she enabled embedding, but that's typical of the learning curve for smart people who still have something more to learn. Jmho, of course.)

Back to the subject. Chris Anderson was not only right, he was so right that a veritable growing army of public relations people have finally got to the point that they have made his life miserable trying to get him to do this or stop that or whatever...I don't know the details, but I can imagine.

Sorry PR people: you're blocked

I've had it. I get more than 300 emails a day and my problem isn't spam.... it's PR people. Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can't be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they're pitching. Fact: I am an actual person, not a team assigned to read press releases and distribute them to the right editors and writers ...

So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I'm interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that's why my email address is public).

He then published for all the spam bots in the world to see and grab the email addresses of all who have been a thorn in his side, a veritable swarm of public relations naggers who simply won't let up. (No, that's not a mis-spelling of the N-word. It's a noun from the dictionary that has nothing to do with it.)

The comments thread is a study in form can sometimes make content irrelevant. Too bad the public relations people still don't get it.

CMD's PR Watch has the story for those who enjoy reading about that kind of thing.

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