Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard of Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail," just out in book form. The basic premise is that new technologies may one day allow millions of little niche items to outsell the few big items. Even pop culture site Gawker
has been talking about it. And via Gawker, we came across this Wall Street Journal piece by Lee Gomes
(it's free ... for today at least). Gomes takes a look at some actual numbers and real-world results and isn't impressed: "Indeed, you can make the case that the Internet is amplifying the role of hits, even in relation to misses, not diminishing them."
Anderson responds on his blog
, saying that Gomes muddled his numbers: "I'm actually quite an admirer of Gomes' work and he certainly did do a lot of research for this piece. But he started off with the wrong end of the stick (looking at the market in percentage terms, which doesn't work because the definition of "head" keeps changing) and sadly wouldn't let it go. As an editor, I've seen this happen before and we try to watch out for it. But sometimes the lure of the gotcha is too much to resist."