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Anderson: Chapters 4-6

April 18, 2008

The LongTail represents the way that the market is varying and making more room for niche markets. Anderson describes the forces of of the LongTail using an explanation centered around production, distribution, and our interests in newly discovered niches. Anderson proposes that aggregators and filters that are available on the internet, continue to drive the LongTail.

Aggregators digitally collect an abundance of products online. One could find anything on Amazon, one of the largest aggregators on the internet for consumer products. Amazon is a sufficient outlet for businesses and consumers alike to sell products to the outside world. Amazon is also one of the largest sources to buy consumer goods ranging over 18 different categories to browse; including more than 50 subcategories and a marketplace, where consumers can sell their own products to Amazon users.

The repercussions of Amazon are not necessarily making it easy for brick-and-mortar stores to keep up with the revolution that the LongTail has created over the time period of the digital age. First, there is no store in the world that can equate to the “shelf-space” on the World Wide Web. The internet supports the overproduction of products so the shift of more products being aggregated on the internet seems quite natural, if not inevitable. Next, the internet provides a space where many people can shop. Unlike, local stores and businesses, the internet hosts many different consumers from all around the world. The result is a varied consumer market: people who have different needs and interests due to their location. The internet alleviates any barriers between people that may otherwise be caused by physical distance. Therefore, the sharing of products from one party to another is also varied across markets and forms niches that may otherwise be abnormal in one person’s small town, for instance. Finally, people can create conversations about products. Amazon, iTunes, eBay, and NetFlix all have a tool that suggests and recommends different products to a consumer based on what they have already expressed as their “interests”.

The online systems keep track of your purchases so that it can suggest and recommend products even as the consumers choices change and their interests evolve from what they originally said they were preferred. Aggregators are re-creating consumers, molding them by the interests of other consumers. One could imagine that by suggesting what others like might make a market of consumers more alike than an internet product provider might benefit from. However, with an over abundance of products to choose from and suggest there is room for enough niches to make sure that never happens. Ever?

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