The Barriers to Long Tail Entry

Alex Rowland has an excellent post out this morning talking about the challenges that niche video and content providers face and will continue to face with respect to their long tail adoption.

Alex uses the example of blogs and the discovery of good blogging content to point out that although long tail content is being created, it still is relatively difficult to find. He makes the point that as the consumption of video is an even more time consuming task than the consumption of blogs that for long tail film and video makers to get their stuff noticed it will still be very difficult.

The material will be there, just nobody can find it. Of course Alex is working on CozmoTV which looks to be a type of service or aggregator of niche video so I’m assuming that some of these challenges will be addressed by his product when it comes to market. By the way, I’m going to run my previously mentioned interview with Brightcove Founder and President Jeremy Allaire, who is also someone who is looking to aggregate niche video content on the internet, on Monday morning, so stay tuned.

I tend to agree with Alex about it being hard to find good blogging content. You have to really work at it. Alex notes that people tend to gravitate towards “A” list bloggers and that these guys probably are not the long tail of the blogosphere. The challenge is how do you get new compelling content noticed in the blogoshpere. I would agree that this is a challenge and I’m sure I miss great posts every day. On the other hand I do feel that there are mechanisms today which can help.

Alex mentioned Feedburner, Technorati and Del.ici.us as tools to make the discovery of good new content a little easier. I’d also throw in the good folks at places like Pub Sub and I’m sure it goes without saying the various RSS readers.

But I’d also mention that A list bloggers themselves can oftentimes become a human source for ferreting out good new content. Robert Scoble, an A List blogger himself, runs a link blog where he himself is a human filter who combs (I believe it’s now almost) 2,000 blogs every day to search for interesting new content and then share it with the rest of us on his link blog. I know that I have found good new content through places like that.

And I do think that good new content can rise to the top quickly as well. To be honest, I can’t remember how I first heard about Alex’s blog but his writing is really great and it’s quality and somehow it has risen to the top where it now sits in my short list folder. Another example is how quickly I was able to pick up on new Podcaster Ian Dixon who does a Media Center based Podcast. By the time that Ian had a single show out, somehow he’d been picked up on my radar. Some of the searches that I subscribe via RSS to over at Technorati and Pub Sub are “mce” “media center edition” and “tivo.” I’m amazed at how much quality content I find through these RSS subscriptions. I find great new voices all the time.

Of course I know that as much as I find great stuff in the blogosphere that I miss so much more and I think this is Alex’s real point. I hate the fact that I’m missing great content and that as I discover blogs like his and podcasts like Ian Dixon’s that I’m really just finding the rare diamond in the rough when so many diamonds in the rough still go unnoticed. And yes, this challenge will certainly be much more difficult for video. Obviously search, RSS, filters, etc. may help, but I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of answers Alex comes up for us with CozmoTV in the long run.

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  1. Joefrontier says:

    Thanks for the post ref Tom.

    As for the ability to locate content via human aggregators, this is by far the most effective and reliable introduction to valuable long tail stuff. The only problem with this type of mechanism is that it can have serious problems scaling.

    Anyway, your point is valid. Content can make it up from the bottom, it’s just a very messy process, the imperfections of which will hamper video more than any other medium. We’re working on it…

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    And I’m looking forward to what you guys come up with Alex. Let me know when the time is right. I’d love to blog about what you guys are doing.