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Search Success: A Long Tail and a Hockey Stick

We’re always amazed at how many companies are not effectively mining profits from the long tail. Are you?

Long tails and hockey sticks have been around for ages, traditionally the province of statisticians, economists and mathematicians. Now, with the popularity of the best-seller The Long Tail, Chris Anderson’s lay explanation of this phenomenon clearly details the revenue models and successes of a wide range of businesses including books, music, movies and Google. For successful SEM campaigns that reach both volume and productivity goals, it can be concluded this theory is one of the most important things to implement. The Long Tail solidifies what we’ve known for years.
Let's start with what long tails and hockey sticks are, their relevance to search, and why understanding their power is so important. While the long tail and hockey stick theories have been around for a long time, they have really become more and more viable with the popularity of the web. Companies like Netflix, Amazon, Real Networks and others all have long tail business models.
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