The Long Tail

 Choices…who doesn’t love choices, the more choices the better right!  As Anderson states “The Long Tail is nothing more than infinite choices, unlimited variety.  More is always better.”  If you’re anything like me, a total perfectionist and completely indecisive, the web can be a very big ocean, and I often find myself searching for the perfect gift or something and then looking at things that I was not looking for…  “as I go down the tail.”  Filters are such helpful tools, categories like “the best of” or “the top 10.”  I find that I tend to use and trust post-filters, like ratings and reviews from editors and consumers to make my choices.  These are great when you are trying to decided where to go to dinner or what hotel to stay at.  “People do trust people” as Anderson says, so recommendations on blogs or websites have more credibility -one of my favorite sites is Condenast traveler, www.condenasttraveler.com.

It is amazing that one medium, the web, could have such an effect on businesses, mainstream media, and culture.  I think we are all becoming smarter, more curious, and more efficient, willing to research and find answers for ourselves. Marketers and business are learning how to have more of a presence on the web.  My company has completed shifted their advertising focus from newspapers and magazines to on-line advertising and other web opportunities.  There are many free website we have found to list on, which for us nothing free existed before the web.   You get more bang for your buck!  We are using tools like Google ad words, web optimization, banner ads, etc. to drive traffic to our website, and even the few ads we still run in the Washington Post and New Homes Guides are advertising our url… driving people to our website.  Since this is relative to our reading, I thought it would be interesting to share my Google Ad Word Click through Report I got today.  For the month of January we had:

Total Clicks of 1,059

Average Cost/Click =0.91

Average Position 5.97 

This kind of reporting is invaluable to an advertiser and company -this tracking and reporting is something that you can’t do in mainstream media -it’s more of a guessing game.  We had better position and clicks in January then in December! 

In the Long Tail, Anderson also talks about consumers researching on their own more because nothing on the web is authoritative.  It’s up to you to consult enough sources so that you can make up your own mind.  This lead me think of my co-worker who has introduced me to this website called Snopes, www.snopes.com, which is where you can go to post a question or a rumor, its researched and then the answer is posted.  You can also search the site to see if perhaps that same topic had already been discussed.  My coworker is a real stickler with facts, and she uses this site all the time to verify everything! 

Question:  Are vertical searches like Google Maps, Google Froogle, Google Images..etc considered types of filters? 

In conclusion, we have infinite choices right at our fingertips everyday, and with a few clicks of the mouse we can pretty much read the top stories around the world, order anything we want, sign up, subscribe, etc…Wouldn’t you agree that we are kind of spoiled!  I can’t image what the web will offer even in next few years and how that will change our daily lives.

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