Archive for the ‘Product reviews’ Category

My review of Tweetie 2.0

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Tweetie 2.0 iconI am a big fan of the Tweetie iPhone app as a way to manage Twitter on my iPhone. So when I heard that Tweetie 2.0 was being released – and that it is awesome – I quickly downloaded it. This is despite my brother’s horror that I would pay for any iPhone app. To me, a good app is well worth the $2.99.

I’ve been using it for about a week, and I really do love the upgrades. My favorite new features are:

- The way that Tweetie 2.0 “remembers” where you were the last time that you were using it. I can pick up my Tweet stream where I left off, which is how I like to use Twitter, so that is perfect for me. They call this “persistence.”

- The added ability to retweet a post without having to go into the post itself. (In the previous version, you had to “open” the Tweet, and then the only option was to “Repost” – which didn’t use the common “RT @mchang16:” format.)

- The cool interface changes of a blue light indicating when I have new  messages, new direct messages or new @ replies, and the way that you load additional messages by pulling down to refresh.

Nearby Tweetie 2.0- Although I haven’t figured out a way to really use this feature yet vigrx vs vigrx plus, I love that I can see all the most recent Tweets that have happened “nearby” – it’s very interesting to see how many (in Beverly, where I live) or how few (in Topsfield, where I work) people are using Twitter. I could see how this feature might come in handy if I was somewhere new and wanted to write to ask someone for a local tip, although I haven’t used it that way just yet. Also, I found out that there is a death metal record label right down the street from my house in Beverly – totally interesting.

 – The ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts is the reason that I fell in love with Tweetie to begin with, and the 2.0 version has only simplified the way that you can toggle between multiple accounts, apply changes to multiple accounts, and to send messages from one account when you’re reading messages in another.

I have always loved Tweetie and found it the best app for managing Twitter on my iPhone, and Tweetie 2.0 is a significant and awesome upgrade that I highly recommend.

THE ONLY THING IS – I have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer to anywhere – if anyone knows, please leave a comment! What are these numbers (pictured below) that show up on someone’s profile page?

What are the numbers on my profile page in Tweetie 2

Twitter tool: Unfollow your non-followers

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

If you’re looking for a tool that allows you to bulk unfollow the people on Twitter who you are following but who aren’t following you back, Mutuality from Huitter.com will help. 

HuitterThe tool allows you a few options – Unfollow all who do not follow you back, Unfollow all, and Follow all who follow you. You can also add in up to 50 users who won’t be affected by the action, so if you have a particular celebrity that you like to track or thought-leader who doesn’t subaction showcomments propecia optional blog follow you but you want to keep tracking, you can exclude them from the action.

This service is free for accounts with up to 1800 followers or friends. For larger accounts, this can be used up to three times for free.

This isn’t a recommendation to use this tool – I don’t think that either bulk following or bulk unfollowing is a great Twitter strategy. But I have heard from many people who are looking for a tool to accomplish this exact functionality, and have seen Huitter’s tool work effectively.

The power of the celebrity endorsement

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

There is no empirical evidence proving that Barack Obama’s love of his BlackBerry accelerated sales of the Research In Motion (RIM) smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2008. But stunningly high sales of the gadget are so coincidentally timed around the news of the president’s refusal to give up his BlackBerry; they seem hardly a coincidence at all.

I dig into this issue a bit more in today’s article on The Industry StandardiPhone vs. BlackBerry: For once, Apple might lose a popularity contest.

Cameron DiazBut the larger discussion of celebrity endorsements as a marketing strategy for product sales is an interesting one. Companies have been hiring celebrities for years to be the face of their products, to often remarkable results. And research shows that there is usually a benefit to companies that hire a celebrity to endorse their products.

According to a report that explores the relationship between celebrity endorser effects and advertising effectiveness, the key factors for a positive celebrity endorsement are:

1. Celebrity Performance
2. Negative Information
3. Celebrity Credibility
4. Celebrity Expertise
5. Celebrity Trustworthiness
6. Celebrity Attractiveness
7. Celebrity Familiarity
8. Celebrity Likeability
9. Celebrity/Product Fit

If the keys to a celebrity endorsement’s success lie in these factors, it would seem that a celebrity that has these factors, uses a product in “real life,” and is a fit would be a homerun for a company. Someone like President Obama, who currently has incredibly high ratings in all these areas – and is a perfect fit for the professional BlackBerry user profile – is a major win for the company.

But how can companies harness that publicity and put it to work for their products? How can BlackBerry take advantage of Obama’s support? How can Prius use Cameron Diaz everyday driving of their car to their benefit? How can Baby Bjorn take advantage of star power mom Angelina Jolie’s use of their product as she travels with her six kids to Japan?

 Jolie Pitt Family

Taking advantage of the power of these types of everyday celebrity endorsements will be an interesting challenge for companies as they wade through the legal issues involved. Perhaps the best hope is in spreading images and information virally, and hoping that the media catches onto the story.

Cameron Diaz photo from sheksays
Jolie photo from ChinaDaily

My love affair with TweetDeck

Monday, December 8th, 2008

I joined Twitter for the first time in October 2007. My journey using the tool hasn’t always been smooth, as I’ve documented here, here and here. But over time, Twitter has become increasingly useful to me in my business and personal life. Last week, I started using TweetDeck, thanks to a recommendation from @jmeserve, and it has changed my Twitter life.

TweetDeck provides a clean and easy-to-use interface that allows me to read the stream of posts from my followers, as well as to monitor my @replies and direct messages all in one pane. More importantly, TweetDeck also allows me to create sub-groups of followers that I want to monitor differently (or more closely). This was a problem that I originally tried to solve by creating a second Twitter account, but I like TweetDeck’s solution so much better. Perhaps the coolest feature of TweetDeck is the TwitScoop interface, which shows me “what’s buzzing right now” using a tag cloud that highlights the topics that are getting the most buzz on Twitter at any given moment. Today I found out about the Chicago Tribune filing for bankruptcy, the fighter jet crash in San Diego, and the new Blackbird browser all from using this feature.

The best thing about TweetDeck, however, is how quickly it has made me more effective at using Twitter. Just today, I spotted a post from @garyvee in real-time, responded quickly, and got a fantastic plug back that resulted in 100 new followers in about 10 minutes. (See the string of messages, along with a screenshot of the interface below.)

Moral of the story? TweetDeck is a powerful business tool, and I highly recommend it. If you’re not using Twitter yet, get started today here and follow me at @mchang16.

GaryVee original message

Mchang reply to garyvee

Gary vee reply

And here’s the screen of TweetDeck – it’s a bit hard to see because the screenshot shrunk when it was posted, but the first column is the full feed of all the people I follow, the second column is my “must reads,” the third column is the TwitScoop and off to the right is my @replies.

TweetDeck Screenshot

Babel Fish, Google Translate and human go head-to-head

Friday, December 5th, 2008

A fun side benefit of publishing a blog and writing stories for international publications is that I occasionally come across an article I wrote that has been translated into another language. Today I discovered this article, published in Spanish, which came from my original article “10 reasons entrepreneurs should take more vacations.”

Exite sign

This led me to check out some online translation services to compare how they work head to head. I also asked someone who has a rough understanding of Spanish, but isn’t necessarily fluent in the language, to do a translation. The tools: Babel Fish, Google Translate and Free Translation Online (from Smartlink Corporation). Human translator: jack-of-all-trades co-worker, Cara Smith.

(One caveat – since I’m translating the Spanish translation back to English with this effort, it assumes that the Spanish translation was correct in the first place.)

Excerpt 1:

Original - It’s been a long time since you’ve been on a vacation. Admit it – when’s the last time that you took a vacation? A real one. A work trip doesn’t count. If it’s been longer than 6 months, it’s time.

Spanish Translation – Hace tiempo que no te tomas unas vacaciones. Probablemente haga más de 6 meses desde tus últimas vacaciones (los viajes por trabajo no cuentan). Si hace más de 10 meses que no sales de vacaciones… estás en problemas!

Babel FishFor a long time you have not been taking vacations. Probably it does more than 6 months from your last vacations (the trips by work do not count). If it does more than 10 months that go out on vacations… you are not in problems!

Google TranslateNot long ago that you take a vacation. Probably make more than 6 months from your last vacation (travel for work do not count). If more than 10 months that sales did not leave … you’re in trouble!

Free Online TranslationSome time ago that you do not take a few vacation. Probably do more than 6 months from your last vacation (the trips for work do not count). If more than 10 months you do not go out of vacation … you are in problems!

HumanIt’s been a long time since you took a vacation. Probably it’s been 6 months since your last vacation (the work trips don’t count). If it’s been more than 10 months since your last vacation…that’s a problem.

Excerpt 2:

Original - It’s helpful to remind yourself why you’re working so hard. Most of us aren’t working our butts off for nothing. There is usually a dream, a goal, a vision to come at the end of it. For me, I want to be able to travel. So taking periodic vacations reminds me why I’m doing all of this.

Spanish translation - Te ayudará a recordar porque trabajas tan duro. Todos luchamos por uno o varios objetivos y unas vacaciones es el mejor método para recordarte ese porqué.

Babel Fish – It will help you to remember because you work so hard. All we fought by one or several objectives and vacations are the best method for recordarte that because.

Google Translate - Will help you remember because you work so hard. All are fighting for one or more goals and a vacation is the best method for this remind you why.

Free Online Translation - He will help you to remember because you work so hardly. We all fight for one or several targets and the best method is a few vacation to remind to you this porqué.

Human – It helps you remember why you work so hard. Everyone fights for one or various objectives and a vacation is the best method to remember that because (missing a reason here…)

Excerpt 3:

Original - Vacations are fun. At least, they should be. And if a vacation isn’t fun to you, do something that is. The point is, you need to lighten up sometimes, have a little fun, laugh, joke around, remember that everything isn’t serious and at the point of imminent collapse (which is how entrepreneurs usually feel).

Spanish translation - Las vacaciones son divertidas…. ¿Acaso la vida no está para disfrutarla?

Babel Fish - The vacations are funny…. Perhaps the life is not for enjoying it?

Google Translate – Holidays are fun …. Does life is not to enjoy?

Free Online Translation - The vacation is entertained …. Perhaps is not the life to enjoy it?

Human - Vacations are fun. Isn’t life for enjoyment?

To me, it looks like the human with moderate Spanish skills won, hands down. But if you aren’t lucky enough to sit 3 feet away from someone who is willing to indulge your translation needs, I would go with Google Translate. At least in Spanish-to-English translation, with these examples, it had a slight advantage.

Since I’m already this deep into the experiment, here’s one more test. This time, I entered the original text into the English-to-Spanish translation tool, then entered the Spanish result into the Spanish-to-English translation tool to see what would happen.

Yahoo Babel Fish logo

Original: It’s been a long time since you’ve been on a vacation. Admit it – when’s the last time that you took a vacation? A real one. A work trip doesn’t count. If it’s been longer than 6 months, it’s time.

Spanish translation: Ha sido un rato largo puesto que usted ha estado en vacaciones. ¿Admítalo – cuándo la vez última que usted tardó vacaciones? Verdadero. Un viaje del trabajo no cuenta. Si ha sido más largo de 6 meses, es tiempo.

Back to English: He has been awhile long since you have been in vacations. Admítalo – when the last time that you took vacations? True. A trip of the work does not count. If he has been longer of 6 months, is time.

Google Translate

Original: It’s been a long time since you’ve been on a vacation. Admit it – when’s the last time that you took a vacation? A real one. A work trip doesn’t count. If it’s been longer than 6 months, it’s time.

Spanish translation: Ha sido un largo tiempo desde que ha sido en unas vacaciones. Admítelo – cuando es la última vez que se tomó unas vacaciones? Un verdadero uno. Un viaje de trabajo no cuenta. Si han pasado más de 6 meses, es el momento.

Back to English: It has been a long time since I had been in a vacation. Admit it – when was the last time you took a vacation? A real one. A journey is not working. If it’s been more than 6 months, it’s time.

Free Online Translation logo

Original: It’s been a long time since you’ve been on a vacation. Admit it – when’s the last time that you took a vacation? A real one. A work trip doesn’t count. If it’s been longer than 6 months, it’s time.

Spanish translation: Esto ha sido mucho tiempo ya que usted ha sido durante unas vacaciones. ¿Admítalo – cuándo es la vez pasada que usted tomó unas vacaciones? Verdadero uno. Un viaje de trabajo no cuenta. Si ha sido más largo que 6 meses, esto es el tiempo.

Back to English: This has been a lot of time since you have been during a few vacation. It admit – when it is the past time that you took a few vacation? Real one. A trip of work does not count. If it has been longer than 6 months, this is the time.

The results of this second experiment are too close to call. But since I’m not strong in languages (ask me sometime about my experience taking Japanese in college), I’m thankful for each of these online translation tools. And of course, for Cara.

Photo by twinkletoez

Text messaging on the rise

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

According to a story from the NY Times this week, in the last quarter of 2007, cell phone subscribers sent text messages more than they used their cell phones to make a call. The story points to a couple of factors leading to the increased texting rate, including QWERTY-style keypads (which make it easier to send text messages), and cell phone packages that bundle texting or offer unlimited texting plans.

While I’m sure that those things are factors, there are two other considerations that I think are at least equally important.

First, there is a stat in the story that is unbelievable (emphasis mine):

Teenagers ages 13 to 17 are by far the most prolific texters, sending or receiving 1,742 messages a month, according to Nielsen Mobile. By contrast, 18-to-24-year-olds average 790 messages.

Call me crazy, but I would have to guess that the unbelievably high number of text messages sent by teenagers is bumping up the stats. Chris thinks that I send a lot of text messages, but when I got rid of my phone last night – which I had for two years – I had only sent 900 text messages EVER. Since the average number of text messages sent per month is 357, according to the study, there are plenty of people who are still sending no text messages, and who are calling a lot more than texting. It’s these young-folk that are bumping up the numbers. That doesn’t make the numbers less true, but it seems worth mentioning.

Secondly, I think cell phone styles are really contributing to the increase in texting. As I mentioned, I got a new cell phone last night. Previously, I had a RAZR, and was really happy with it. This is the new phone that I bought (it’s an LG enV2):

 LG enV2 front

 LG env2 open

This phone is so easy – and fun – to text on, that I have sent way more text messages in the past two days than I did in the previous month. It’s not only the QWERTY keypad that’s contributing to ease-of-use; it’s also the flip phone keypads, which often are marketed to, and appeal to, young people.

As more and more text services like Cha Cha hit the market, and as the older generations join the texting fray, get ready to see these numbers climb even higher.

Text search head-to-head: Google vs. Cha Cha

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

The first time that I heard about Google text search I was at my sister-in-law’s parent’s house in Rochester, NY, and we were discussing how you can send a question to Google via text and get a quick response. Just sent a text to 466453 (‘GOOGLE’ on most devices) with a question, and Google will text you back with the answer.

My brother was there for that conversation, and was equally impressed, so when I got the following Twitter message from Matt a couple of weeks back, I was very interested:

Cha Cha Twitter

Cha Cha bills itself as a mobile search service. To get answers from Cha Cha, text your question to 242242 (spells ‘ChaCha’), and wait.

This sounded a lot like Google, but Matt claimed that it was better than Google, and I had some time on my hands (I was actually sitting at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA, at the time), so I thought I would do a totally unscientific head-to-head comparison sending random questions to both Google and Cha Cha and seeing what I got back. Here’s what I found:

QUESTION: Who sings It’s a heartache?

REPLIES:
Google:
Sorry. Did not return any results.
Cha Cha: Janis Joplin’s version of “It’s a Heartache.”

QUESTION: What’s the water temperature in Gloucester, MA?

REPLIES:
Google:
Sorry. Did not return any results.
Cha Cha: These are the only 2 I found for water temperatures in MA. Boston, MA 66.9 degrees F/19.4 degrees C Woods Hole, MA 72.0 degrees F

QUESTION: Who sings I need a hero?

REPLIES:
Google:
Sorry. Did not return any results.
Cha Cha: I Need A Hero is sung by Bonnie Tyler.

QUESTION: Weather, Gloucester, MA

REPLIES:
Google: Weather: Gloucester, MA 72F, Clear Wind: W 0 mph Hum: 90%  Sat: 56F-79F, Clear Sun: 65F-79F, Mostly Sunny  Mon: 56F-81F, Chance of storm
Cha Cha: Gloucester, MA 76F, Fair Sat: 57F-77F, Sunny Sun: 66F-80F, Slight Chance Rain Showers

QUESTION: Circumference of the earth

REPLIES:
Google:
Sorry. Did not return any results.
Cha Cha: The circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,901.55 mi, but, if you measure through the poles it measures 24,859.82 mi.

QUESTION: Distance to Mars

REPLIES:
Google: Sorry. Did not return any results.
Cha Cha: The average distance to Mars is 48 million miles.

QUESTION: Movie theaters in 01915

REPLIES:
Google:
Movies: MA 01915  1. Tropic Thunder 2. Star Wars: The Clone Wars  3. Death Race  4. Mamma mia!  5. Pineapple Express  6. The Longshots  7. The Dark Knight  8. The House Bunny  9. The Rocker Send 1 to 9 for showtimes or NEXT for more movies. <I sent 5> Movies: Pineapple Express 1hr 45min, Rated R Drama 3.5/5 CinemaSalem 2:35  5:00  7:30  9:45 1 East India Square Salem, 01970  978-744-1400  AMC Loews Liberty Tree Mall 20  1:50  4:30  7:40  8:40  10:20  11:25  100 Independence Drive Danvers, MA  01923  978-750-9019
Cha Cha: Cabot Street Cinema on Cabot Street and Larcom Theater on Wallis Street.

QUESTION: How many calories in a donut?

REPLIES:
Google: Sorry. Did not return any results.
Cha Cha: Calories range from 200-300 calories, is there one in specific you want the calories for?

QUESTION: Score Patriots

REPLIES:
Google: NFL *Philadelphia*: 27 New England: 17 Final, Aug 22  Recent game: Aug 17  New England: 10  *Tampa Bay*: 27  Next Game: Aug 28 7:00pm EDT New England at NY Giants
Cha Cha: Aug 22, 2008 Philadelphia VS Patriots lose 17-27. That is not good. They need to pick up their game before the season starts.

QUESTION: Who is the quarterback for the Patriots

REPLIES:
Google:
Sorry. Did not return any results.
Cha Cha: Tom Brady is the QB for the Patriots.

In my experiment, the overall winner was definitely Cha Cha. This is how I would break it down:

Cha Cha

Cha Cha logoPros: Cha Cha dominated the random facts categories. I was able to get more answers to more types of questions from Cha Cha than from Google.

Cons: Speed – Cha Cha sometimes takes quite awhile to reply – the longest reply actually took 57 minutes. Most answers came in about 5 minutes. Also, the reply to movie theaters in 01915 was not exactly right – the Larcom Theater is no longer a movie theater although it was at one time.

Neither pro nor con: One thing about Cha Cha is that it is real people looking up the answers to your questions. This felt kind of weird to me as I was sitting in my beach chair sending people on information missions, but you might like having people at your disposal to do your bidding. It was also a little odd to get occasional editorial comments with my answers (see the Patriots question, above), but I kind of liked that and thought it was fun. Again, some people might find this annoying.

Google:

Google Mobile logoPros: Speed – answers came to me lightning quick. No waiting, or maybe a couple of seconds wait. Google also has the lead in pretty much any question that it answers – if Google has the answer, it’s thorough and complete, and I trust the information. Google also definitely takes the lead in local search.

Cons: Limited types of questions can be answered by Google. There is also a way to send questions to Google that ensures a better answer, this convention can take some getting used to.

The battle over how to manage my money

Monday, August 25th, 2008

In my family, I manage the money. I pay the bills, I collect the receipts, and I balance the checkbook. I think it was my mom who taught me how to do all these things. I have this clear image of her at the dining room table about once a month, using her pencil (always) to balance the checkbook.

MoneyThings are different now. Instead of writing a few checks every month and paying cash or straight credit for everything else, Chris and I both use our ATM cards to pay for almost everything. From $4.14 at the Dunkin Donuts drive through to $56.77 at the gas station, we almost never pay for anything in cash. This means that balancing the checkbook has become a much more time-intensive exercise.

For the past two years, I’ve used Excel to manage the accounts. My financial management spreadsheet has multiple tabs for each account, and every receipt, check, and transaction gets entered into one or multiple tabs. This is a huge pain and a major time-sink. I’ve been talking to friends and family about their solutions, and none of them seem to have a better option that would work for me.

So I decided to examine the online personal finance options. The three solutions that I tested were Mint.com, Quicken Online and Geezeo.

MINT.COM
Mint.comGoing in I was most excited about Mint. They won the TechCrunch40 best of show, their online budgeting and money-saving tools look really awesome, and the service is free. I was able to sign up without any difficulty, but when I tried to enter my primary checking account information, the trouble began. I selected my bank from a list, entered my username and password, answered some questions and waited for the service to authenticate.

Error message: Wrong username or password?

After about two weeks of trying to get my account set up with Mint, after changing my username and password twice, I started searching the user forums for information about my bank (Citizens Bank, one of the major banks in the New England area, with more than 1,600 branches in the U.S.). I should have checked there sooner, because the forums revealed a number of threads about Citizens Bank, all with the same theme – it can’t be added. Here are some examples of threads related to this topic and the number of “views” of the threads:

Adding Citizens Bank a No-Go (11,204 views)

Problems adding accounts (27, 252 views)

Official Citizens Bank Support Petition! (10,337 views)

I also received confirmation of this fact from a Mint representative (about a week after I sent in a question via their Web form), that said basically the same thing: Citizens checking and savings accounts are not supported, and we can’t provide the eta for the addition of any bank.

Foiled.

QUICKEN ONLINE
Quicken OnlineQuicken Online, from Intuit, was the next solution that I tried. I had used the software version of Quicken in the past, and had a good experience. I was able to easily sign up for a Quicken Online account. There is a fee to use the service ($2.99 per month), which is certainly a reasonable amount in order to save myself some of the current money management pain that I am having, plus there is a 60-day free trial to make sure that I like the application before ever paying.

The test came when I tried to set up my checking accounts. Success! I spent some time using the tool, and thought it was easy to use and intuitive.

GEEZEO
GeezeoStill, I thought I could go for a free solution, so I tried Geezeo. This solution was one that I hadn’t heard of, so when I got to the site I clicked the link to watch the tour. The link didn’t work, there was no tour. And that was the end of Geezeo.

THE WINNER
I have been using Quicken Online for two weeks now, and it’s been fantastic. Dare I say that it is changing my life? It is definitely making managing our family’s personal finances a great deal easier.

Money photo by jenn_jenn

Two fun apps: Yearbook Yourself & Mosaic Maker

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

It’s the weekend, so what better thing to do than to procrastinate using fun online apps? There were two that I have been eager to try – Yearbook Yourself (discovered via TechCrunch) and Mosaic Maker from Big Huge Labs (discovered via Non Society).

What can I say? These apps are fun. With Yearbook Yourself, you can upload a recent photo, and use it to find out what you might have looked like if you graduated in the years 1950 through 2000. Some of the images of me are frighteningly close to home. And I kinda wish that 1966 would come back because it turns out that I look groovy with a giant ball of hair on my head (second row from the top, fourth picture). I took the images created from Yearbook Yourself and uploaded them to Mosaic Maker to come up with this great grid of images.

Small mosaic

Both tools are fun. And if you Yearbook Yourself, please do share.

An argument against The Long Tail

Monday, July 7th, 2008

The Long Tail is a concept that was set forth in 2004 by Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired, which was then turned into a 2006 book. In short, the idea is that because of the Internet and it’s infinitely wide and Long tail monkeyincredibly low-cost distribution capabilities, the big “hits” of popular culture (be they movies, music, books, etc.) are no longer the only things that will make money. Now, the “misses” will also be money-makers.

But a new article by Anita Elberse just published in the Harvard Business Review called “Should you Invest in The Long Tail” is taking a closer look at the theory and suggesting that businesses really shouldn’t shift their promotional dollars to the long tail – and instead should stick to promoting the winners. She comes to this conclusion after determining that the tail, although long, is very flat and accounting for very few sales, and typically less satisfied consumers.

Anderson replies here.

Elberse responds to Anderson here.

This is a very interesting debate, and one that should be followed by anyone who is involved in marketing or advertising online. Anderson and Elberse have taken a great deal of time looking at data and doing analysis on this concept, but here are some thoughts based on reading the articles.

– Anderson seems to be focusing on the fact that online retailers like Amazon.com will begin selling a lot of items in the long tail. Whether or not it’s true is practically irrelevant for the vast number of online businesses. Most businesses don’t have the reach of Amazon.com and are targeted at a much smaller audience. The people who run those businesses know that 80% of their business comes from the top 20% of their clients and customers – so they will continue to focus their attention – both time and money – on reaching those clients/customers. Now they have Elberse’s data to back them up.

– People buy stuff that other people like. This is why user recommendations (such as those on Yelp or TripAdvisor) are so popular, and why the head of the tail keeps growing in popularity. People like to have a choice, but when their time is limited, they typically will go with the easier choice. And it’s easy to choose something that has been recommended by someone they trust – or an online audience of their peers.

– The long tail does exist and consumers are benefiting from more choice – but the tail isn’t a place that any musician or artist or blog or business wants to be. And may not be a place where money can be made. According to the data collected by Elberse and cited by Anderson, “In music, of the 2.4 million digital tracks sold in 2007 in the US (most of them through iTunes) 24% sold only one copy and 91% sold fewer than 100 copies.” 100 copies sold through iTunes (at $.99 each) isn’t even enough money to buy a new guitar.

Photo by loufi