Archive for the ‘Leveraging the Long Tail’ Tag

Foundation of web 2.0 – Pattern Seven: Leveraging the Long Tail “Audible”

Leveraging the long tail is the expression where a service/content takes advantage of a niche market that would otherwise be swallowed by the head of the markets in traditional distribution models. The internet provides a limitless opportunity for companies and individuals to exploit thePower Law Distribution, to not become reliant on physical space to sell products and the cost advantages of selling through e-commerce. A pioneer of this online is Amazon, where they have made a business out of selling a range of products no brick and mortar could successfully achieve. In particular I want to highlight their efforts in online distribution of audio books through Audible.

Since its introduction 1997, Amazon has continually evolved Audible and now share many of the key principles of Power Law Distribution. One best practice that they have implemented is the use of a algorithmic data management, to generate items that other users bought while they purchased this item, or items that are very similar to this title. This is excellent in providing a narrow scope of titles within a category that other may find very useful. Other elements like customer feedback and reviews on title also help give the customer a in depth look matching the title they are going to buy , with similar titles or customers with the same interest.

Audible

Audible


As they have a very large library it helps customers pick up titles that they may otherwise not notice or think about. This ties in with another best practice of matching supply with demand, as many users will generally move towards books that have the higher ratings and more positive comments than books with no feedback. The reviews are either carried out by audible and the users who have purchased the item, to reduce fraudulent reviews. As well you can see all the previous reviews done by a user so you can judge the comments they have made.

Audible has leveraged the low cost advantages of being online, by promoting their services through many podcasts. As many shows are located through the itunes store, the same with many audible books. It has been a very successful advertising plow in my opinion. As many of the people who are listening to podcasts are use to this form of concept, so it is going straight to the niche market. They have also utilised services like twitter to promote any specials and new releases to those who are following them. So in many cases this is the digital form of word of mouth. Even with the niche market of audio books audible.com has gone after expanding their catalogue to cover many areas. Since April 2008 audible.com has been producing their own sci-fi based audio books as many of these classics were not available in the spoken form. Expanding into a niche area that hasn’t been explored yet.

So what does this mean to other businesses and enterprises. This practice applies to both products to be sold and internal services that could benefit from opportunities that may of initially didn’t exist within the current structure. This can be done either through improving the process of search, filtering and aggregation of data internally and apply to areas that can meet user demand. The internet is now the driving force of smart business and having a excellent understanding on a enterprises niche market is extremely valuable.

Series So Far
Pattern Six: Perpetual Beta “Dropbox”
Pattern Five: Software Above the level of a Single Device
Pattern Four: Rich User Experience “Google Docs”
Pattern Three: Innovation in Assembly “Google Maps”
Pattern Two: Data is the Next ‘Intel Inside’ “Flickr”
Pattern One: Harnessing Collective Intelligence “Digg”

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