Friday, March 18, 2005

The Long Tail and the cost of information

Kevin Laws has a great post about The Long Tail and the cost of information. Some excerpts:
    [Search cost] is the cost of finding the item you need - often measured in time and effort, rather than money. When sorting through the list of all music ever released, it would take you forever to find that piece of music you'd actually enjoy ... you'd probably buy nothing, because you'd give up long before finding anything you'd like.

    Amazon provides a variety of tools to help reduce search costs: recommendations, samples, listmania, and many other tools ... Amazon ... leads customers to buy items they've never heard of before.

    It is not enough for a company to aggregate lots of small things. Reducing search costs by matching content to users is critical for Long Tail businesses.
Massive selection isn't enough. To make The Long Tail accessible, we need to lower the cost of information. It needs to be quick and easy to discover the gems stuck out in the tail.

Irrelevant items should be hidden. Interesting items should be emphasized. Reduce millions of poor choices to tens of good ones. Help people find what they need.

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