HitTail is about findability in light of enormous competition. In the old world, where finite shelf space, finite broadcast channels, finite column inches, the mega-hits pretty much shut out small business. But even in those days, small business still thrived on a local level.
The Internet changes things in allowing you to collect the disparate and desperate, condensing and concentrating it into some decent business, where there was no business before. And even such a viable business, no matter how lucrative it is on a personal small business level, doesn’t even show up on the radar of big business.
This is why Chris Anderson’s opinions about the long tail hold true, just as the opposing voices of Lee Gomes and Dave Taylor. The opinion that the top 2.7% of Amazon’s products produce 75% of the revenue is completely consistent with long tail teachings. Why? Because the long tail demand curve is 1/X. That means that the popularity of products at the head of the curve are ENORMOUSLY popular. Indeed, it approaches infinite.
It’s just that the equally infinite diversity of non-popular products/services are not denied their markets. No matter how tiny the business in the long tail seems in comparison to mega-hits, it’s nice business nonetheless. And it’s all about findability. That’s how the Internet has changed things. That’s how Google has changed things. Finite shelf space, broadcast channels, and column inches have been replaced by infinite product supply and infinite findability.
And the best way to ensure your findability is to put yourself in the path of existing search patterns with some predictable keywords, then watch what happens. What you’ll discover is countless additional keyword variations. The collective guessing power of the wisdom of the crowd dwarfs any single person or group’s ability to guess. Therefore, with the right tools, you can start with simple, competitive findability, and spiral outwards with less competitive, but more diverse keyword phrases, and “flesh out” the mesh of your findability net.