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Monday, September 26, 2005

More on the Concept of the Long Tail Phenomenon - Harnessing Your Blog Archives For Revenue

Carole King - Really Rosie/Her Greatest Hits/TapestryJust a quick note: I've decided to start posting the less-technical of my NetMetrics blog to BlogSpinner. If I start to get too technical, please feel free to comment or drop me an email.

Tristan Louis over at TNL.net wrote a thorough article about how having a large archive of articles and posts on your website or blogsite can pay off in the long-run, particularly if you are running contextual advertising on your pages.Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.net gives his take on Tristan's post, which apparently is inspired by Chris Anderson's incredibly well-detailed Wired Magazine article about the a concept called the Long Tail.

Simply put, Anderson says that the long-tail is a phenomenon born of the Internet, where older content and media (articles, videos, books, music) can earn a fair bit of revenue over a long-term period - possibly more so than they might individually while they are in someone's top 100 or top 1000 or even top 100,000 list. Often, this happens due to reviews on a website, which are more likely to stay visible - because of search engines - than the same review in a print magazine.

While this idea in itself sounds surprising, classical statistical analysis shows that this is actually a fairly natural phenomena: gradual decrease builds a geometrically large total. I don't want to bore you with statistics and calculus, but you can get some insight to why this happens as follows: Say that you're in a band and you release a music CD. The CD stays in the top 100 for 6-12 months. After that, it enjoys sales for an additional 10 years, but at a very gradually decreasing rate. It manages to stay in the top 10,000 music CDs for those 11 years, then starts to drop off the radar. What is the total sales of the CD over the 11 year period?

Obviously, we can't answer this question without specifics. However, fairly basic college-level calculus says that regardless of how much the CD earned while it was in some Top-N chart, it'll likely earn more money over all in the "long tail" of sales that comes during the rest of the CD's commercial lifetime. An example of this is Carole King's 1971 album "Tapestry", which stayed on the charts for decades.

The concept of the long tail also applies to other media, including blog posts. If your posts have contextual advertising, just because they don't earn any ad revenue right away does not mean that they will not give you a healthy return over several years. As several bloggers have recently stated (including myself), make regular but relevant references to your older posts to help the long tail phenomenon on its way. Study your blog or website's visitor data. Which posts have the highest total readership? Which ones have the least? Can you write fresh content related directly or tangentially to the latter posts? Do so and see what happens. Regularly review readership counts of each of your posts. If you apply this technique successfully, the bottom-most post will likely be different each time you check. (Try reviewing on no less than a monthly basis.) Long-term application of this technique will generate more contextual ad impressions, and if you are writing about what your readers want, then it may just generate more ad revenue.

(c) Copyrght 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash, http://netmetrics.blogspot.com

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BlogSpinner-X serves two primary purposes. Firstly, it houses the original version of my Blogspinner blog, and contains the full-text of my older entries. Secondly, the more recent entries are excerpts of the full-text entries posted over on Blogspinner V2.0. In other words, the "X" stands for "eXcerpt".

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I'm a geek/ philosopher/ composer/ artist/ cook/ web programmer/ consultant/ photographer/ blah-blah-blah who is also a published writer and author. This is one of several blogs that I write.

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