Feb 19

Obama’s Long Tail Campaign

Isaac Garcia, of Central Desktop, writes a nice profile of the Obama campaign, which I read at Tech President

Something is happening. We’ve seen glimpses of it in the past – we’ve heard whispers about it – we’ve seen glimmers of it before – but we’ve never actually seen it grow and coalesce like this – in real-time.

What I’m talking about is the Long Tail of Politics and how technology is driving its growth.

For those of you not familiar with Long Tail theory, in 2004, Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson asserted that the internet enables companies to capture and monetize the attention of thousands and millions of users, instead of monetizing the attention of a few large users.

For example, Amazon is able to profitably sell a large variety of books (representing The Long Tail) versus just selling a few bestsellers (representing The Head). Thus, the “tail” is quantifiably larger than the “head.”

The Long Tail and its business merits have already been debated heavily on the web with some arguing that The Long Tail only applies to certain models and others arguing that The Long Tail is a Sisyphean Myth – that it is impossible to achieve or maintain profitability leveraging The Long Tail alone. In other words, they argue that The Long Tail is the gravy of one’s business while The Head is the meat and potatoes.

Only in retrospect are we able to judge the success or failure of Long Tail business models. Examples of Long Tail success include Amazon, Netflix, Google; while examples of failure include Tower Records and Blockbuster.

Which is why Barack Obama and The Long Tail of Politics is such an historic event. We are witnessing the birth and evolution of The Long Tail effect right before our eyes.

Read the whole thing.

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