ANSWERS: 2
  • In non-Web based commerce, to make a business viable, you need to appeal to a a certain measurable proportion of the population. If you run a shop, you need to get a certain number of customers spending a certain amount of money in order to cover overheads before you start to make a profit. And if customers have to come to your shop to spend, there are only a certain number of people who are available to become customers. So businesses that supply things that everybody needs - food and fuel, for example - have no problem. And businesses that appeal to 1/10 of the population - clothing for a certain age group, perhaps - are fine. But businesses that appeal to only 1/100 of the population can exist only in very large cities. And businesses that appeal to less than 1/1000 of the population - forget it. But because people are such a diverse lot, there are actually a lot of different businesses which appeal to 1/1000, 1/10000, or even 1/million of the population. There are a few giant businesses which make up the Head, but there are tens of thousands of potential businesses which make up, the Long Tail - and which, in a pre-Web world, could not exist. But in the web-based world, with a customer base of the whole world, a 1/million specialist suddenly becomes viable - if they can locate their potential customers. So far, so Web 1.0: they set up a website and hope for customers. Web 2.0 embodies the idea of communities. So the specialist supplier creates a forum for people interested in its specialty. It uses targeted advertising on Google and similar to find its sprinkling of customers scattered around the world. And the theory is that the total mass of the Long Tail, made up of a vast number of tiny businesses, may come to be as large as the mass of the Fat Head.
  • It means a lot of beta versions so that we can interact with new projects and make them better in the process. It also means creating instantaneously accessible niches through user-generated content.

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