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July 15, 2005


Bryan William Jones

So, in a Long Tail market, the brands that matter most are the tastemakers. These are the filters you trust, who point you to the niche (or mainstream) stuff you wouldn't have found on your own.

So, perhaps one strategy for building revenue and attracting advertisers an information portal (like Wired) could follow would be to establish a community of trusted reviewers to write about products. Of course this has been attempted in one form or another many times (to a limited extent even in Wired), but in the past, it has always been hampered by the print medium (remember the CueCat? Of course you do) and by the limited reviews for products that appeal to the mainstream. Some companies (epinions & Amazon among others) have tried to get around this by having consumers write about their experience and then establish some sort of moderation system for those reviews. The problem with this is that the customer reviews are an unknown quantity and most consumers do not go looking for those customers who may write a shaky review here and there with the quality often being dubious.

If one could build a system with good writers who bring with them some degree of reputation or celebrity, who would then become the tastemakers and integrate it into an Internet based product clearinghouse, this model could possibly succeed on the Internet where others have failed. This really would have to come from a company/organization who already has some degree of credibility in the market place and build off of that recognition. Seems to me that the right folks would be Wired, the Wall Street Journal in their upcoming weekend editions and a few other select entities.


when I slide down the long tail looking for a product I trust the BRAND of the recommendation system.

I trust Google's brand to give me the best website. I trust Amazon's brand to show me related products.

Raanan Avidor

I love the sentence "Brands help us order a chaotic world". If I understand correctly the long tale - you need good filters to get the information that will help you choose the product you need. I've just started shopping for a new digital camera. I (might) know what I want, I (might) know how much money I want to spend, and I'm totally lost. Hundreds of sites want to help me decide what camera to buy, but none does it. None of those sites help me filter my choices to less then 20 different cameras. I get too much noise. A good filter will let me enter my input (I want this and that feature for this price) and the output of the filter will be: This is the camera you should buy, with maybe two more options. Can someone help me choose my new camera?

Edward Cotton

I think the overall comment that brands are in trouble is valid, but for certain categories quality is essential, but the brand image will still count for something.

Think of luxury goods for example.

Here advertising and image will continue to play an important role, but for other categories it will be tougher to fake it.

Also, I am not sure if it is true that there are NO customer-centric brands.

I would think the following could qualify:

Skype: 45 million users- great product
Flickr:Redfined the photographic experience
Easy Group UK: Value oriented holding company- no fluff just affordable products
Innocent Drinks: $30 million UK juice company

These companies FUSE- customer benefits (quality, value, innovation) with positive values- something you feel good about. The feel good comes from the combination of product delivery and brand personality.

These brands feel less like corporations and more like real people.

This is the new branding.

Many of these companies have the advantage of being new.

The massive challenge for many big brands is to become more like these new companies.

This was something the Cluetrain guys talked about a while back.

John "Z-Bo" Zabroski

Why are you going to pay money for Communities Dominate Brands by Alan Moore... when you can download for free Seth Godin's book Unleashing the Ideavirus?


In my humble opinion, Godin's work with the concept of the Ideavirus is more inline with your thoughts. In fact, Godin addresses how "hits" will continue to survive in today's globalized society. Granted, Communities Dominate Brands will probably come in handy, but I strongly suggest you lean on Godin's thoughts than Moore's.

Why do I advocate Godin so much? You seem as though you are unfamiliar or at least unaccepting of the phrase "Viral marketing." The concept has been around for awhile and I am worried you might be renaming something that already exists.

Helpful links:

Wikipedia: Viral Marketing

The Transparent Corporation, Marcia Stepanek, eWeek, November 4, 2003

Next Wave: How to build buzz on the blogs, Red Herring, August 4, 2004

One-to-One Marketing a False Trail, Elizabeth Albrycht, CorporatePR, October 1, 2004

Tell Me About It: How Business Blogs Work for You, Michelle Megna, SmallBusinessComputing.com, March 9, 2005

Diametrically opposed viewpoints:

The Toughest Virus of All, Clay Shirky, Clay Shirky's Writings About the Internet, July 11, 2000

Why blogs could be bad for business, Neil McIntosh, The Guardian Online, September 29, 2003

Brian Phipps

I think what we're witnessing in brands is a transition from Brands 1.0 to Brands 2.0 (for want of a better term). Brands as symbols and slogans are on the way out; working brands are on the way in. From the customer's perspective, brands are tools for getting things done. Google is a great case in point. If you want to make your products fly off the shelf, give wings to your customers. Those "wings" are the new generation of brands.

Joe Laz

Yahoo! Shopping launched some new features today that touch on this idea of people as filters who offer shopping recommendations and long tail merchandising. You can see it at...


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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

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