Long Tail full of crap (and gold)

It’s been a while since I preachified about the Long Tail. Chris Anderson has a post about the signal-to-noise ratio in the outer tail that is full of lessons for those of us trying to capture the long tail of news and advertising.

This should scare the hell out of anyone running a newspaper or website that isn’t "The Daily Me":

This is why niches are different. Your noise is my signal. If a
intends something to be absolutely right for one audience it will by
definition be wrong for another. The compromises necessary to make
something appeal to everyone mean that it will almost certainly not
appeal perfectly to anyone–that’s why they call it the lowest common

And yes, I’m presupposing that there is or is soon to be no more "mass."

Anderson’s punchline, which bodes well for our business plan:

All this leads to three counterintuitive lessons of the Long Tail.

  1. Niche content can be of higher quality than hit content.
  2. It doesn’t matter how much junk there is around those gems; with good filters, the average level of quality is irrelevant.
  3. You can charge more for high-quality niche content because it is so well-suited to its audience.

Point #1 is particularly important for hyperlocal news.

Mike Orren is the Chief Product Officer of The Dallas Morning News; President of Belo Business Intelligence; husband to Crystal Orren; and a Mungarian at Munger Place Church in Dallas, TX. All opinions herein are mine alone.