The Long Tail Theory

By Erik Hinch

The Long Tail Theory is basically a theory that, if you are able to negate the cost of items, people would tend to buy the “non-mainstream” products, as opposed to products that normally sell in large quantity.  There are always some products that sell large quantities to the general masses (i.e. Ipod Touch), but there are also many, sometimes hundreds, of similar products that serve the same purpose (Zune and other Mp3 players).  Whether the reason be the cost, name recognition, or some other factor, these other products don’t sell as well as the leading product.  However, with the Long Tail Theory, if cost was negligible, it shows that people would tend to buy the less “mainstream” products in the market.  These other products are what make up the “long tail”.  It is supposed to show that small businesses can succeed with the lowering of prices, and that it will make the market a bit more fair.

In this article on the New York Times website, it actually talks about how Long Tail Theory is actually wrong, and has had little to no effect on the economy.
http://ideas.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/21/declaring-the-long-tail-dead/

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