Web breaks 80-20 rule

Chris AndersonThe preeminent Seth Godin commented on a Charles Blow report in the NY Times, pointing out that the internet’s low barrier of entry had led to the markets flooding. He said, “If you can’t sell to 1 in 1000, why market to a million?”

The numbers from Blow’s piece were, “…of the 13 million songs for sale online last year, 10 million never got a single buyer and 80 percent of all revenue came from about 52,000 songs. That’s less than one percent of the songs.”

This tells us the long tail of the Web makes Pareto’s 80-20 principle defunct. (Perhaps poor salespeople might stop overly quoting it?) The Amazons and the Play.coms of the world are now playing to different laws.

Wouldn’t you just love to get your hands on their analytics to see it with your own eyes?

Photo: Chris Anderson (from Wikipedia), who coined the phrase Long Tail in his Wired magazine article October 2004

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