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    Long tail: better late than never
       September 18th, 2006

    I am familiar with the concept of long tail for months. But I have found time to read the original article printed by months, years back just now (I know that there is a published book available by now).

    But it is better late than never. And I admit that I should have done it sooner. A few samples that illustrate the concept of long tail:

    Chart Rhapsody’s monthly statistics and you get a “power law” demand curve that looks much like any record store’s, with huge appeal for the top tracks, tailing off quickly for less popular ones. But a really interesting thing happens once you dig below the top 40,000 tracks, which is about the amount of the fluid inventory (the albums carried that will eventually be sold) of the average real-world record store. Here, the Wal-Marts of the world go to zero – either they don’t carry any more CDs, or the few potential local takers for such fringy fare never find it or never even enter the store.

    The Rhapsody demand, however, keeps going. Not only is every one of Rhapsody’s top 100,000 tracks streamed at least once each month, the same is true for its top 200,000, top 300,000, and top 400,000. As fast as Rhapsody adds tracks to its library, those songs find an audience, even if it’s just a few people a month, somewhere in the country.

    And here is one more:

    Just compare online and offline businesses: The average Blockbuster carries fewer than 3,000 DVDs. Yet a fifth of Netflix rentals are outside its top 3,000 titles. Rhapsody streams more songs each month beyond its top 10,000 than it does its top 10,000. In each case, the market that lies outside the reach of the physical retailer is big and getting bigger.

    And more:

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who’s something of a documentary buff, took this newfound clout to PBS, which had produced Daughter From Danang, a documentary about the children of US soldiers and Vietnamese women. In 2002, the film was nominated for an Oscar and was named best documentary at Sundance, but PBS had no plans to release it on DVD. Hastings offered to handle the manufacturing and distribution if PBS would make it available as a Netflix exclusive. Now Daughter From Danang consistently ranks in the top 15 on Netflix documentary charts. That amounts to a market of tens of thousands of documentary renters that did not otherwise exist.

    There are any number of equally attractive genres and subgenres neglected by the traditional DVD channels: foreign films, anime, independent movies, British television dramas, old American TV sitcoms. These underserved markets make up a big chunk of Netflix rentals. Bollywood alone accounts for nearly 100,000 rentals each month. The availability of offbeat content drives new customers to Netflix – and anything that cuts the cost of customer acquisition is gold for a subscription business. Thus the company’s first lesson: Embrace niches.

    The rules of long tail:

    RULE 1: make everything available
    RULE 2: cut the price in half
    RULE 3: help me find it

    Summary: How can an average online entrepreneur make use of long tail concept? It is not easy to figure out, but depends on your website niche. The article gives fantastic samples for online music and movie dealers.

    I run a relatively new rock music website that fits this long tail idea perfectly. It offers digital music as an affiliate of iTunes, now I try to figure out how to promote the music of unsigned bands – long tail (MySpace has recently announced their intention to sell downloadale music of unsigned bands – so, I have very powerful competitors in my niche. I am kidding – certainly, I can’t compete with MySpace, but need to find my small niche).

    The long tail concept author states that it is applicable for the media and entertainment industries. So, it is not universal. I wish it were. But I am sure that this concept requires hours and hours of contemplation – how to make it work for your projects.

    [tags]long tail, social bookmarking, web 2.0, domain names, links buying, myspace, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, blogs, content generation, make money online, work from home, home based job, earn your living online[/tags]

    New website ideas
       September 14th, 2006

    I have a domain name sitting in my account for about 6 months – It is time to start a new website. At the moment I bought the domain I had some simple ideas about the website I will build. Six months later that concept seems doomed to fail.

    So, I spend 15-20 minutes for the last couple of days brainstorming new ideas for this very website. I am in a situation when I do not research a new website niche, but I research ideas for website in a certain niche – fun and humor (taking into the account the domain name).

    I have diligently reviewed my post and links in Marketing niche for a new website (though in my case I have the niche, but I miss an angle) and should confess that no brilliant ideas came to my mind. In fact, I did not get any excellent ideas so far.

    I have made my list of requirements for this new project:

    -    define my mission and USP (unique selling proposition)
    -    innovate in some (let it be minor) things
    -    web 2.0 design style (just neglect the current template online)
    -    monetization concept
    -    clearly outlined my target audience (the wider the better)
    -    avoid the typical structure of this type of websites: jokes, funny images, funny videos, funny flash games, funny quotes
    -    some online tools ideas
    -    viral marketing elements are a must
    -    CMS based website
    -    content: what type, sources (user generated content would be nice)
    -    maintenance: time and skills required to keep it competitive

    I admit that after the several brainstorming days I made some notes, but I am not happy with what I have come with. So, I have two ways – to go on with my daily brainstorming or to let the domain sit for some time more until I get an idea worth the time, money and efforts.

    One of the problems is certainly that the Internet is so crowded that it is hard to find a new idea, innovation. All my thoughts come to the standard ‘image-joke-funny video’ type.

    And I did not test the competition for those few ideas that I have on my list yet.

    Summary: Ideas for a new website do not come easily these days – with experience you become more careful and want to start a project with 100% confidence it will succeed.

    Probably, the easiest way to start new websites is trial and error. Just start a project, explore your niche in the process, make changes accordingly. I do not know, but I think it is also an approach to starting new projects. Just go to, explore their popular tags – it is a signal that this type of information I in demand online. Select a website design and structure and slowly start your penetration in the niche. Once you know it quite well find your own innovating elements.


    [tags]website ideas, traffic, social bookmarking, web 2.0, domain names, links buying, myspace, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, blogs, content generation, make money online, work from home, home based job, earn your living online[/tags]

    Marketing niche for a new website
       September 5th, 2006

    When I look at some of my projects I quietly smile. At this point in time I think I am a more experienced online entrepreneur than 18 months back, but I am not good enough to boast of really great projects that made me a fortune and are well known on the Internet. I guess every person thinks and hopes that his best project is still to come.

    Now and then I am tempted to start a new project (though I hardly cope with the current load of the work) hoping to apply all my experience and make it outstanding. I dream to make an innovation project that will take minimum maintenance time and achieve a certain degree of visibility online. One day.

    Thinking about new projects I realize that I need an algorithm that will make the entire process less painful and in some way more secure. Those issues that I take into account thinking about new projects can be short:

    - Overture Search Term suggestion tool (niche volume)

    - Overture bids (how much money is in the niche)

    - Google (competition research checking the amount of pages with the exact keyword phrase I the titles; then checking the quality of competition – 2-3 search page results)

    That’s it – you have an idea about the niche potential, market demand and supply, competition. I guess it is a good way to start a network of made-for-AdSense websites or websites when you own a number of domains and need to put some pages online.

    If you are thinking a project of your life or at least a project with a long-term strategy then you should turn to the extended analysis (I prefer the latter). The essence of the process is the same – check the demand and supply, explore your competition and your prospect audience, get ideas about originality of your project, define the mission or USP (unique selling proposition). The difference – it considers much more factors, takes much more time and unfortunately does not guarantee the result. Sometimes pure guess projects are more profitable and with a better potential than well thought and analyzed ones.

    Nonetheless I prefer the second approach. What aspects do I consider when planning a new project?

    · Twist, innovation

    · Web 2.0 features (read O’Reilly description)

    · Trend Spotting

    · check new programs

    · Stats available

    · What people search? And what particularly they search in your niches?

    · Websites for sale: topics, traffic & revenue details

    · WordTracker free reports: what people search. It is also a good idea to buy a subscription

    · Check forum sections: need services/ will buy

    · eBay ‘what’s hot’

    · consumer demand index; MySimon top searches

    · 7Search top paying keywords

    · Future: emerging products and services

    · Investigate affiliate networks: their offerings

    · Study high paying keyword lists

    · Amazon: hot selling products (topics)

    · Rentacoder/ eLance (check what work people need to be done)

    · Check signatures in webmaster forums

    · API applications

    · Find niche forums: explore FAQ

    · Yahoo! Buzz Index, AOL Search: hot searches monthly, Lycos hot 50

    · Google Zeitgeist


    · Browse DMOZ categories and listed sites

    · Magazine stores

    · Yahoo! Picks

    · (most popular tags),,, etc: angles/ buzz/ trends

    · – open source software, browse their Top Projects

    · Blog Buzz Index (search for stories rapidly spreading through blogs):

    · Technorati top blogs: what and how people write


    The above will give you a long list of ideas to look deeper into. But it is the start – you need to explore the demand and supply:

    - Overture bid tool (money in the niche)

    - DigitalPoint suggestion tool/ NicheBot (demand)

    - Google/ NicheBot (supply)

    - WordTracker: any actual demand? Any free niches?

    - Google Top 10 (allintitle): level of competition. Also check: BL, PR, # of indexed pages, domain age

    - keyword difficulty tool (competition)

    - Check: are there any ads (for AdSense site: use DigitlPoint AdSense sandbox tool)

    - Before you start working at the website: test the niche. Put some PPC ads and see the demand

    - Go deep into Google for a specific keyword until you see the crap. It is the place you can easily gain

    Now it is good to have a deeper look at the competition:

    - Online Competitive Analysis

    - Competitive Research Tools

    Now your list of ideas is much shorter. Take your time and make your final decision. Now domain names and hosting are much cheaper and you can start a few websites with one hosting account. Put a few pages for each project and observe the progress. If it makes sense try to run a few new projects – hire some help.

    It is the description of my process. I am not the one who invented it from zero – you will find most things in the links I provide at the bottom of the post. My way is neither the only one nor 100% error free.

    Here is a collection of resources that will help you:

    Research Guide to Online Niche-Finding: Methodology and Software
    Affiliate Masters Course
    Entire niche selection and site creation process
    Profitable niches in under 10 minutes
    How to Choose a Product for eCommerce
    Abstract niche discovery approaches
    Trend unit
    Trending and Tracking the Blogosphere and Newsosphere
    Starting a professional blog – choosing a niche
    Where to get ideas for a niche website
    My system for finding workable ideas
    Finding good affiliate niches

    Summary: Extended approach to a niche selection process takes time, much of it. But you will learn many extra things in addition to a selection of your new niche. For instance, you will discover new design, coding, website functionality features. You will get a wider look at where Internet is now and where it is heading for.

    When you decide on the niche to follow you will have enough data to develop and position your website within a relatively short period of time as you will know the target audience, the key niche players (websites, blogs, forums) and you will have ideas how to make your website different from your competition.


    [tags]niche selection, niche marketing, online business models, freelance jobs, how to get a job, telecommuting, networking, online communities, forums, web forums, traffic, links bait, social bookmarking, web 2.0, domain names, text-link-ads, links buying, myspace, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, blogs, content generation, google, make money online, work from home, home based job, duplicate content, earn your living online[/tags]


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