Rachael Afolabi

This page is an annotated bibliography of related key texts to be analysed to gain insight into the concept of "The Long Tail". This wiki comprises of eight sources of both academic sites and books. This annotations would be on the central theme, summary of arguments, an evaluation and usefulness of of each sources to the proposed topic of "The Long Tail".

The Long Tail


The term 'The Long Tail' was coined by Chris Anderson, an Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine since 2001. He has led the magazine to five National Magazine Award nominations, winning the top prize for General excellence in 2005, when he was also named editor of the year by AdAge magazine. He has worked as worked as a researchher at Los Alamos and served as reseach assistant to the Chief Scientist of the Department of Transportation. He lives in northern California with his wife and four children. [http://www.thelongtail.com]

The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand. - Chris Anderson.

This book is on the emergence of micro-ecnomics of markets of the on-line age. Such as, googles, Amazons, Netflixes, and Itunes. In others words, the book provides an indepth information on how the advance technology particularly, the on-line busines has been able to target the ‘niche’ groups perhaps not available locally. That is, when looking for a particular rare book or an old album, that cannot be keep in relatil stores anymore, therby difficult for buyers to get, searching for such in any of the on-line retail markets would only be the best option, which is moving from wishes to shopping bag. It analysed the advantages of the internet technology on business, providing unlimited access to unlimited choice, consequently, promotes unlimited demand and suplly, writing off the regualr hits we are presented with by media, high street products and the retail markets.Even though, the online age has presented an unlimited choice and access to the world where culture can only be a barrier of the consumption of certain things,the author has also identified the emergence of amateurs access to the world of professionalism, thereby being a threat to professionals who get paid for what the amatuers can do for free just by a click and the era of unprecedented choice has also been identified as a good thing. He concludes by identifying the secrets to a very successful long tail business by the availability of everything, in different forms and presenting the consumers with an opportunity to be own a paradise.
This book is highly educative and informative and gives detailed analysis on the concept of The Long Tail, its history, forces, impact on economic, and the future of regular ‘hits niches’ and retail markets.

Internet Marketing- Charles F. Hofacker

This book gives an introduction of the whole idea of internet marketing for beginners, that is the author tried not to assume the reader has a prior knowledge of the topic but gave a progressive overview of the idea of an internet marketing right from the definition to its development. it also presents details of how to have a web space to have an on-line business. It also explores into details the strategies adopted to internet maketing, human relationship with the on-line world and how business can prosper via the internet. He gives detailed analysis of the different categories of internet marketing such as, communication, selling, Provinding content and providing a nertwork function, giving explanation of how each category function. The author explored the legal and ethical issues governing the on-line business. He also identified the uses of web sites by marketers and how to communicate with customers while developing a long lasting strong relationship with the consumer. The most intriguing part of this book and making it of great value to this research is that, it has online activities for each chapter, where after reading a chapter, one can log on to the internet to practice what is been explained or identified by the author at every step, to create a deep acquital with the content of the book at all stages. It is useful for this research topic as it will give the reader a background understanding and knowledge of internet marketing, which would be an itroduction to the existence of The Long Tail.

Minds On Fire: Open Education, The long tail, and Learning 2.0.- John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler.

This article identifies the effect of advanced technology as in the internet, on communcation and transportaion which has influenced the need of continous learning in whatever area or aspect of the world. In other words, the author argues that online learning or communication is free for all. He identified the Open Educational Resources movement (OER), where one is presented with a wide range of courses without cost, with an open access to educational resources for personal or academical researches. The author identified Web 2.0 as a barrier breaker of communication between producers and consumers of contents which has helped to terminate the attention given to content instead to the people. Therefore, the online resources such as WIKIs, Blogs, Social Networking sites has helped in enhancing the unlimited mode of learning. He identified The Long Tail as the major influence on lifelong learning and easy access to specific interest of a subject area. Due to constant change of the world, where older working class people, cannot be restrained within the four walls of a class room in the name of learning, the author has identified a shift of web2.0 to Learning 2.0. this is a new pattern of learning which does not exist in a formal classroom but done by creating an on-line community of expertise in the fieild one is interested, with free access to unlimited resoureces, gaining new knowledge and learning new skills. Such as,
([ http://commons.carnegiefoundation.org/]), ([http://www.cfkeep.org]).
This article is informative and educative as it has help to give insight into the concept of Learning2.0, e-science and E-humanities which would help to give detailed analysis of adverse efect of The Long Tail on the growth rate of acquiring educational achievments.

Marketing Greatest Hits: A Masterclass in Modern Marketing Ideas.- Kevin Duncan

This book is the compilation of differents authors idea on mordern maketing, which has been summarized in a concised manner for immedite action of the reader, using simple languages to explain the seemingly difficult to understand marketing jargons used by authors to convey their ideas to the public. The book covers the marketing pricinples, branding, consumer behaviours, creativity and personal organization, in such a way that one does need to read the book from page one to the last page, to get a particular idea or topic but can just go straight to the topic at hand . The author has decided to pick the books summarised due to their wide range of seminal works acknowledgement and other books that have given a counterpoint to the modern maketing . The chapter 1 of this book is on The Long Tail, which has made it of value to this research work. The author coined a topic from the concept of The Long Tail in such a way that would hold the interest of the reader to know what its all about. Examing the challenges of morden marketing while establishing a relationship between the The Long Tail and Pirates calling it ‘The Big Themes’. This book will help this research as it enhances the exploration of the researcher into other peoples work or ideas of modern maketing as a whole, leading to internet or on-line marketing then to the concept of The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.

Making Niche marketing Work: How To grow Bigger by Acting Smaller.- Robert E. Linneman & John L. Stanton, JR.

The authors identified principles that would make niche maketing a big succes.Niche marketing is known to be a type of marketing that targets smaller market segments. The strategies identified in the book would enhance the profitability of companies involve in Niche-marketing and help the directors or managers irrespective of the size the company, move towards satisfying smaller market segments.The authors started with the background knowledge of starting a Niche Marketing to Building a Niche-marketing databse, and how to get Niches. They discussed extensively the problems of niche-marketing and how to solve them. Futhermore, gave relevant cues on how products and services work in the niche market and gave tactics on how to handle competition. It been observed that due to the advanced technology as regards to the internet, many firms or companies involving in the production of goods and services, as well as retail stores are going down the drain as many individuals meet most of their special needs via the Niches provided by on-line marketers or on-line business companies. This book would be relevant for the research work as it would help both the researcher and the reader to understand what Niche marketing entails, how to start and able to solve issues that may arise in the course of doing such. Considering the fact that the Long tail is basically on the provision of niche markets, this book wouldbe of great value for the understanding of of Niche markets can be created and manintained.

Internet marketing. - Dave chaffey, Richard Mayer, Kevin Johnson & Fiona Ellis-Chadwick

The authors introduced the concept of internet marketing, establiching the relationship between internet and modern marketing concept. The advantages of the internet , consumer behaviours with communications theoryand the impact of the internet on the marketing communication mix. They explained into details the implentation and practice of internet marketing, how electronic commerce trasanctions is made and identified practical issues of security, relaiabilty, performance and privacy, to enable readers have a knowledge of how they can be used to make customers have a pleasurable experience with on-line business, and identified the techniques of communication with customers towards building a strong and lasting realtionships. He discused into details how to have an internet maketing plan, marketing channels, structure and developing a strategy for a successful internet marketing. They conclude by predicting the future of internet markting. The authors gave definitions to key terms of the internet marketing at every chapter, to enhance easy understanding of the internet marketing and all it entail.This book is evaluated to be good for this research of the concept of The Long Tail, as it helps to give an indepth understanding of the internet as a whole and digital marketing and/or electronic commerce. It also gives a detail knowledge of the on-line busines towards the support of the concept of The Long Tail.

The Secure Online Business: E-Commerce, Its functionality & Business Continuity. - Adam Jolly

There is nothing in the world without advantages or this advantages even though the advanced technologies has helped in bringing buying and selling closer to to us, we should still be mindful of the fact that there are risks to contend with. Strategies to work over those risks should not be an after thought but should be developed along side with the realization of the business rewards.
This book is designed to give practical guidlines to managers or on-line buisness directors like E-bay, Amazon etc on how to devellop and execute apporatie stategy to meet the demands of onl-line business risks and also giving details of where the business becomes vulnerable. For intance, ways of developing an apporiate security policy.
Even though the book already gave a balance that the practival guidelines given does not provide a certain assurance of a solution but suggests that there should alwys be a continous process of checking and testing of security needs per time. To ensure that while providing slight changes in the configuration of a systm to avoid oppening the busines to large measure of risk, loop holes may be created without noticing which may end up Launching data and network attacks of the business.
This book is highly informative on reducing the gaps between rewards and risks of on-line busines. It is would be very useful as will help understand the strategies to develop which Chris Anderson did not identified as he was only concerned with the advantages of on-line business , advanced technologies and the growth of economy.

Harvard Business Review: Should You Invest In The Long Tail? by Anita Elberse.

[http://www.hbr.org ]
This article is on a research to prove how true the theory Chris Anderson identified. The author sees the long tail from a different point of view. He argued that even though the long tail exists, that does not mean the traditional markets would be wiped off, as those that go after Niches still want the Hits in the high street, on the media and even in retail stores. It proposes a theory by McPhee’s theory of Exposure, titled consumer in the Head and Tail. This article is an academic article good and suitable for the research work as it gives another view that criticises the concept of the long tail. The author suggests ideas to the producers and retailer on how to compete effectively with the long tail and then concludes that investing into the long tail is highly uncertain.


Assignment Two



The Long tail is a phrase invented by the Editor-in-Chief of wired magazine in an article published with the magazine edition of October 2004. Due to the impact the article made in the world of commerce, the article later became a book in July 2006 published by Hyperion, entitled "The Long Tail: How endless choice is creating unlimited demand,” He has been able to publish couple of books as updated version. Follow this link [http://www.amazon.co.uk/ChrisAnderson/e/B001JRVGAG/ref=sr_tc_2_rm?qid=1306595980&sr=1-2-ent] to read about them.

Overview of Long Tail

The long tail simply refers to a graph showing culture and economy rapidly shifting from a focus on a relatively small number of mainstream products and markets at the end of the demand curve towards a large number of niches in the tail. The Long Tail describes the possibility of a huge success in e-commerce than bricks and mortar businesses because unlimited “shelf space” offered to products via the internet. Also, products are offered through recommendations, linking one product to another to people who has purchased or looked at similar products. Amazon.com, E-bay, Rhapsody, and Netflix recommends some other products similar to what a customer has purchased before. For instance, someone just bought a book from Amazon.com titled “The Long Tail: How endless choice is creating unlimited demand”, at the point of checking out, some other books related to the topic would be recommended for purchase. Therefore, where there is a large diverse supply of a product this approach has been of great benefits to its sellers. In nut shell, the total sales of a huge number of niche products to diverse people at same time are called, “Long Tail”.

Considering the root of Long Tail as in internet phenomenon, it is a combination of strings of business innovation which came into existence since the 19th century. That is, the entire non-internet component contributing to the success of internet marketing or e-commerce existed decades before internet business became rampart. This components or elements include, credit cards, FedEx etc which for instance, can help in the success of purchasing a product in Amazon. Therefore, the internet has just allowed businesses with non-internet elements to amplify their values and enhance the benefits by connecting together via the web. It can be concluded that advanced in technology turned mass markets to millions of niches.

Long Tail and Learning resources

In education, the long tail has been of relevance as there are number of course online even for adults who might not go to the four walls of a class room for learning but can be registered online with tutors and other colleagues to acquire professional knowledge in any discipline of choice. Students now have direct access to high- quality tools. Such as supercomputer models, scanning electron microscopes and telescopes which allows them to individually engae with research. Web 2.0, in this context, has distorted the line between consumers and producers content and has shifted the focus on information to other people because with the new kinds of online resources, such as blogs, wikis, virtual communities, social networking sites, which has created rooms for people with common knowledge to meet, share ideas, etc, one needs to be careful of what the kind of information is available especially the amateur ones. However, as learning becomes Internet-based, a similar pattern of the long Tail theory seems to be Occurring, as traditional schools offer a finite number of courses of study, the “index” of subjects that can be learned online is getting unlimited because several thousand sets of course materials and modules online, and more are added regularly. Besides, there is always a likelihood of an online niche community of practice of a course a student is passionate about. Therefore, the web creates unlimited opportunities for students to find and join niche communities of benefits to them. This would help make students to acquire deep knowledge on a subject that is most of interest to them, which would enhance the ability to participate effectively in such field.

Loop holes

Having considered the roles and benefits of The long Tail, Chris Anderson failed to mention the risks involved in e-commerce. Obviously, organisation that do not embrace the functionality of online business might not profit adequately while even those that have embraced it fully but have ignored the risks it involves are not spared from the unfortunate danger that lies within. The risk to integrity, availability and confidentiality of an organisation embracing this 19th century movement are in various forms. Such as, fraud, viruses, spamming, denial of service, espionage etc, The information technology of organisation are not surprised about the security been breached but as other operational department are getting exposed to it by the day, it becomes an astonishing phenomenon to them as they may not know how to manage the irretrievable losses the organization is opened to. Therefore, the long tail might be a good strategy for online retailers and other e-business organisation to adopt but the security of its users and confidentially of the organisation should not be a reflection after business have been done and transaction have been made because when the information security has been breached it can turn a very successful Amazon or E-bay to a danger zone to its users, thereby making the Long tail have a static growth in the tail while making the head stagnantly large.


Moreover, it is indisputable that e-commerce has significantly widened customers’ access to Products of all kinds, including the vaguest. However, it would be hasty for companies to turn over traditional practice and focus on the demand for ambiguous products. Emphatically, recommendations for producers of media and entertainment goods, and online retailers or content aggregators seeking to profit from long-tail demand were proposed, which can be probably applied to physical goods as well. Producers are advised not to modify best-sellers resource allocation because few winners will still go an extra mile and the tail will become long and flat, thereby making content providers find it difficult to profit from it. For instance, 3.9 million digital sold in 2007 which is the large majority for 99 cents each through Apple ITunes, surprisingly, 24% sold only one copy, and 91 % - 3.6 million tracks – sold fewer than 100 copies. This implies that, even though, there is increased concentration of sales, turning a focus on blockbusters into successful strategy becomes unrealizable. Therefore, no helpful alternative can be found yet. It is then recommended that; producers should keep the cost of niche goods for the tail end of production very low. Also, for content providers competing in advertising supported markets, focus on marketing the most popular products to strengthen appearance in digital channels, to reach the largest number of customers which would appreciate the products more than who consumes them.


In conclusion, there is no perfect strategy for success in the world of commerce either online markets or mass markets. Even though, the Long Tail has been suggested or proposed to be the best form of striving in business in the 21st century, there are always faults of areas of the mass markets that cannot be ignored has people still would like the blockbusters as much as they would like non-hits products. Chris Anderson has done a good job in his finding even presented tips to upcoming on-line retailers to make everything available at a low cost and help to find it.


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