Archive for February, 2009

Response #5 – “The Long Tail”

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , , on February 24, 2009 by Dave T

The Long Tail

“Less is More!”  You don’t hear that line everyday…

If you have not read “The Long Tail,” it’s a must-read for any business professional.  The premise of the book goes against every macroeconomic principle of supply and demand.  It theorizes that demand follows supply, and several times throughout the book, discusses the business model of Walmart and Sears, to name a few.  In Walmart’s case, everyone knows that they built their reputation on offering many versions of a product at low prices.  For example, Walmart’s music industry has about 60,000 tracks – tracks of the most popular music, or “hits.”  But, we all know that there are many, many more tracks out there.  What about a customer who wants something that was produced 20 years ago and still has somewhat of a loyal following?  Well, they would log onto Rhapsody or iTunes, who houses well over 1M tracks for would-be customers.   The model for these types of businesses is based on the idea of “the biggest money is in the smallest sales,” according to venture capitalist and former music industry consultant Kevin Laws.   The new growth market consists not only of Walmart’s model, but also that of the model of companies like Rhapsody, Netflix and Amazon – all offering products you cannot find anywhere by on the Internet.   According to the Long Tail, 45% of Rhapsody’s sales, 25% of Netflix’s, and 30% of Amazon’s total sales come from products not available in the largest offline stores. 

The above is a (long) example of the long tail.  Generally speaking, the long tail is essentially a bell curve, with the head of the curve on the verticle axis at the far left exemplifying large “hits”, and as the curve comes down it “tails” along the demand horizontal axis, exemplifying “niches,” or a large amount of small “hits.”  The idea is that there is an infinite amount of “niches” in society (i.e. music), but all collectively at times outnumber the “hits.”  The birth of the Internet gave way to this unlimited selection in cyberspace, and this unlimited selection is revealing  what consumers actually want.   The ultimate test is how do companies reduce the costs of reaching those niches.  Because, if the cost is minimal, the profits will be maximal. 

In today’s world, you can see The Long Tail all around you online.  From iTunes to Netflix, Google to eBay to Amazon.  The Long Tail is working all around us – on Facebook and mySpace – enabling today’s generations to go beyond the mainstream and reach the niches where their interests lay.  Today’s generations are all about “against the norm” and “out of the mainstream.”  This has enabled the Long Tail theory to flourish. 




Response #4

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , on February 18, 2009 by Dave T

If Markets are Conversations, does that mean everyone is listening?

Today, I’m blogging about the relevance of a web user’s “Bill of Rights” – and whether there needs to be one in place.  Given the amount of attention that Facebook received over their changed Terms of Service, it’s no wonder the world wide web is clamoring for some oversight – or restrictions put on the use of one’s personal information.  It was recently discovered (not announced) that Facebook altered their company’s terms of use, essentially giving Facebook eternal use of your personal information – even if you delete your online profile.  This has sparked severe outrage, up to a complaint being filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).    Facebook’s recent change to their Terms of Service is much more liberal than the terms of MySpace, Twitter and even YouTube, where the license expires upon deletion of a user’s account.  So, one could surmise…regulation may be needed.

However, according to Wikipedia, many Internet privacy experts believe that’s an oxymoron, and that privacy does not exist on the Internet.  Wikipedia defines the Internet as “a global network of interconnected computers, enabling users to share information along multiple channels.”   So, one could infer that whatever information a user puts out on the Internet is fair game for all to see. 

I would agree that information on the Internet is fun – and juicy information is really fun.  But, let’s separate information we intend to share versus information that is private, and should be treated as such.  I am fully aware that every piece of information I type in this blog, on my Facebook page, on my LinkedIn page, on my MySpace page, etc. will be public domain and information that everyone can see.  That’s what the Internet is all about – sharing information.  What I don’t agree with is information we do not intend to share – personal information, etc. that we use to register for websites, buy products, etc.  – that is used by people we do not grant access.   So, the “control” aspect of the Bill I’m 100% in favor of. 

But, implementing the Bill of Rights is another story.  It may turn into something of “everybody wants, but nobody wants.”  Will the very foundation of the Internet be damaged with this Bill?  Will social media sites be less alluring with limited personal information?  Will less juicy information about people/subjects be less readily available on the Web?  This is all subject to debate. 

In the meantime, I will be listening to those conversations…

Response #3

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , on February 11, 2009 by Dave T

Topic:  Oodles of Google! 

My post topic this week is “Should We be Afraid of Google?”  You know, the pretty and colorful word plastered across the screen that we type search queries into?  The word that changes with every holiday – well, only the holidays designated by our friends at Google.  Why would we be afraid of such a thing?  Because, according to Chris Thompson,  the website accounts for 60% of all online searches conducted in the US?  Or maybe, according to Thompson, Google doesn’t like America because they only change their doodle for certain holidays – and not those of Memorial Day.  Isn’t Memorial Day a day to remember those in our military who have given their lives for our country – and possibly not a holiday to “change the doodle” for?   And, if I remember correctly, the doodle was changed for the recent holidays of Christmas and Thanksgiving

Well, first off, Google is the fastest-growing internet search engine in modern time, and offers more services than just searching.  Some debate whether Google has practiced unfair tactics in its quest to the top.   Those issues, along with privacy issues (you can trace a phone number to an exact street address on Google), that apparently cause uproar among the public.  Or, is it simply the enormouse success the company has enjoyed since its inception?

Google offers an array of very neat services in addition to the link above.  GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps are two of my very favorites – and are technologies that are very advanced and we have never enjoyed – until now.  In the book, The Search by John Battelle, it uses an example of a man who goes through a very messy and public divorce, and he subsequently ‘googles’ himself.  The man did not like what he saw – a very public list of his divorce.  He then sued Google and Yahoo for posting such information. 

I hate to say it – but this is technology, boys and girls.  If you don’t want something about yourself on a Google search or Facebook – keep your nose clean.  That and get a cell phone – as of now, those don’t come up on Google.

Response #2

Posted in Social Media Course on February 4, 2009 by Dave T

Topic:  Podcasts and Vlogs!

Have you ever heard of a Podcast?  I bet you haven’t heard of a Vlog!   Well, to be honest, I’ve been watching podcasts for some time now, but just didn’t know their exact name.  As far as a Vlog, I had no idea what one was before this class.  A Vlog is defined simply as a blog, in video format.  Vlogs come in many varieties –  recorded blogs, live vlogs, how-to vlogs, tips vlogs, trend vlogs, just to name a few.  .. 

My favorite concept is the “how-to” vlog.  Apparently, how-to vlogs are gaining in popularity.  The linked article shows the top “how-to” searches (a year ago) was 1) how to tie a tie, and 3) how to have sex (?!).  Interesting. 

Contrary to a vlog, a podcast is the audio version of a blog and vlog.  A certain podcast website offers an array of podcasts available for use – from information on the latest national or world news, music, politics, science, sexuality, and travel, to name a few.   

As I like to do with my class (and blogs), I like to relate the subject matter to big business – since that’s what I’m involved in.  I did a random search of how many companies use vlogs or podcasts to advertise their product or highlight their company.  Alas, I did not have much luck – as far as automotive business is concerned.  I found a great deal on Apple, Dell, and the like for obvious reasons.  On the above website, most of the business podcasts are very interesting as they deal with specific business topics.  In one podcast, titled “PR vs. Marketing”, it describes the differences between PR and Marketing – a concept fairly often confused by an average person. 

The more fun and interesting podcasts can be found on iTunes, which is extremely easy to navigate.  Go ahead and try it…you will have fun!